When we begin to see fresh berries at the grocery store, it’s usually a sign that spring is right around the corner. And that means fruity creations coming from my kitchen, including these light and tasty Raspberry Vegan Cheesecake Treats.
First off, I have a confession to make. This is my first-ever attempt at making cheesecake without using dairy products. And I L-O-V-E cheesecake, so my standards are a tad high. I was skeptical about being able to produce a creamy, cheesecake-tasting filling from anything other than dairy. But everywhere I turn, the clues point to nuts.
Vegan Cheesecake Adventures
Non-dairy cheeses are commonplace in the world of vegan cuisine. They’re made from everything from soy protein to almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, and even pea protein. Frankly, some of the commercially available brands I’ve tried are dead ringers for dairy-based cheese.
So with a wee bit of trepidation, I took to the kitchen to whip up these raspberry-tinged vegan cheesecake bars. Albeit, there are a few more steps than a traditional cheesecake recipe, I think the result is well worth the effort.
First up, soak the cashews – not just for a few hours, but overnight. They need to be soft, almost squishy, for blending into the creamy paste that serves as the base of the cheesecake filling.
The second essential is full-fat coconut cream that is whipped to a frothy foam. Just as indulgent as dairy-based whipping cream, this ingredient – in my opinion – unlocks the secret of a smooth, creamy filling. And hey, it’s not as fat-laden as the classic cream cheese/butter/sugar/sour cream recipe I used in the past.
The balance of ingredients are simple, requiring very little prep work. In fact, once the oatmeal cookie crust is cooked, the finished cheesecake slides fairly quickly right into the freezer. I chose to make bars, but you can also use a springform pan for a more traditional cheesecake presentation that can be topped with a drizzle of raspberry syrup and fresh berries.
In the mood for a decadent, yet light, dessert? Look no further than these creamy, tart cheesecake bars.
- 1 cup Rolled oats
- 1/4 cup Oat flour
- 3 tbsp Raw honey
- 2 Bananas (ripe, mashed)
- 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
- 1.5 cups Raw cashews (soaked overnight)
- 1 can Coconut cream, full fat (separate cream from liquid)
- 1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
- 1/4 cup Maple syrup
- 1/2 cup Lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
- 1 tbsp Lemon zest
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 cup Raspberries
- 1 tbsp Maple syrup
Lightly grease 9x9 glass baking dish or springform pan with coconut oil or cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine oatmeal, oat flour, honey, bananas and baking soda. Mix well. Spread mixture evenly in bottom of baking dish or springform pan.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until browned along the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In blender or food processor, puree the cashews until smooth and creamy. Add a tablespoon at a time of the reserved coconut cream liquid to thin to a consistency similar to cream cheese.
In a separate bowl, beat the coconut cream (the thick part spooned from the top of the can) until it is foamy and creamy. It should resemble whipped cream.
Beat in the coconut oil, syrup, lemon, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth.
Finally, set the beaters to low speed and slowly blend in the pureed cashews.
Spoon this mixture on top of the cooled crust.
Blend raspberries and maple syrup to form a raspberry syrup. Drizzle the syrup on top of the cheesecake and run a sharp knife through the top in to create a swirly pattern.
Pop the baking dish into the freezer for several hours until bars are firm.
When ready to serve, remove from freezer and let stand for 20-25 minutes, cut into bars or slices and enjoy! Store remaining bars in refrigerator for several days or in freezer for longer term.