For those sensitive to dairy, a creamy and decadent cheesecake may normally be off-limits. That’s why we’ve created this rich, raw vegan version with a healthy dose of chocolate to amp up the flavor. Using cashews and cacao you will get the same satisfaction while also loading up on micronutrients and healthy fats. The best part is that these vegan cheesecake bars are no-bake, so you won’t even have to turn on your oven!
Vegan cheesecake that’s good for you
We love using cashews as a base for vegan desserts because when blended, it creates a creaminess that mimics dairy perfectly. Since traditional cheesecake is filled with cream cheese, ricotta, sour cream (or a combination of all three), mimicking that creaminess is key for creating an equally satisfying vegan cheesecake. The healthy fats in cashews help satiate, meaning just a few bites will keep you full and prevent a sugar crash you may experience with normal desserts.
Cashews are also rich in selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous, all important minerals for the body. Cashews have also been shown to have a positive impact on heart health. Specifically, they are associated with lower LDL cholesterol, decreased oxidative stress, improved inflammation markers, and better removal of cholesterol. The selenium content of cashews is great for skin health.
Try it for “date” night
We love using dates in this vegan cheesecake because it binds and sweetens the crust so that it doesn’t require baking to set. Dates are amazing to use as a sugar replacement because they have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar, a quality we normally wouldn’t expect from sweets. Dates are also rich in polyphenols, the powerful antioxidants that green tea is known for. Polyphenols help reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, and combat cell damage.
Chocolate for antioxidants and more
Chocolate, especially in the form of raw cacao powder has a slew of health benefits. It helps relax the body thanks to its magnesium content, it has an incredibly high antioxidant content, and it is the densest known plant source of iron. Adequate iron levels in the body are crucial for overall health and wellbeing. It is necessary for our hemoglobin to function properly, which is how oxygen gets transported throughout the body. It’s best absorbed through dietary sources (versus taking a supplement), which is particularly important for vegetarians who are more vulnerable to deficiency.
1 cup packed dates
3/4 cups raw walnuts
3/4 cups raw pecans
1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil, if cleansing
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups raw cashews, soaked
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup maple syrup, or coconut nectar if cleansing
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coconut whipped cream, chocolate chips (cleanse-approved, if cleansing), berries, or nuts
Add all crust ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are finely minced and well combined.
Using your fingers, press the mixture into a greased, parchment-lined 8×8 pan until you have a flat, even crust. Be sure not to use a larger pan, as the filling will be too thin.
If you have a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix), you do not need to soak your cashews. If you do not, we recommend soaking your cashews for 15-20 minutes in very hot water or 2 hours in room-temperature water. This is crucial for a creamy filling. Once the cashews are soaked, rinse and drain, and add all filling ingredients to the blender. Blend until completely smooth.
Pour filling over crust and gently tap the pan on the counter until bubbles are gone and the filling is smooth.
Store, covered, in the fridge for at least 2-4 hours to set. You can also place it in the freezer for one hour for it to set faster. Be sure to keep the cheesecake in the fridge until you are ready to serve, as it will melt easily. Cut the vegan cheesecake into bars and top with desired toppings before serving.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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