Rejoice, my friends! I have stumbled upon what might be the most delicious healthy dessert out there —well, as healthy as dessert could be. As someone who loves to cook, bake, eat, and occasionally treat my inner sweet tooth (I’m only human) I have tried just about every healthy alternatives to everyone’s favorite desserts. I have always been a massive cheesecake fan. What I am not a fan of, however, are the added calories, fat and stomach ache that come with it. Partner that with my Whole 30 stint for the month of August, and this healthy vegan alternative was born.
As with any recipe, there are plenty of substitutions that can be made with these. To make the whole thing paleo, simply swap out the peanuts for almonds and almond butter. You can also substitute any of the oils, sweeteners and milks for your favorites! Instead of all natural honey feel free to use maple syrup. Try coconut milk as opposed to almond milk, or vegetable oil instead of coconut oil. As is, this recipe is grain, dairy, egg, and refined sugar free! It is also completely vegan and requires NO BAKING! My kind of dessert.
This recipe is perfect for parties or guilt free snacks but does require significant prep time, so when making them for an event be sure to plan ahead properly. It is possible to speed up the cashew soaking process by using boiling hot water instead of room temperature and setting them aside for 2 hours. They are best kept stored in the freezer.
Vegan No-Bake Cheesecake Bars
1 1/2 cup packed, pitted dates
1 1/2 cups raw pecans
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups soaked raw cashews
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons all natural honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoon all natural coconut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon all natural honey
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoon peanut butter (or almond butter for paleo)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup salted peanuts (or almonds for paleo)
1/2 cup melted pure dark chocolate
The night before, add the cashews to a medium bowl and cover with water. Leave the cashews overnight to use the next day.
Add dates and pecans to a food processor or high powered blender, blending until the dates and pecans are broken up and form a paste, scrapping down the sides as you go. If your mixture is too dry, try adding more dates or a splash of water.
Once the mixture is blended together evenly, press the crust into an 8in x 8in baking dish, lining with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick spray. Be sure that the crush is distributed evenly along the bottom of the pan, paying extra attention to the corners.
In a small cooking pot, melt the coconut oil, peanut (or almond) butter, honey, vanilla and sea salt on low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously so to keep it from burning. Remove from stove to cool, or pour into a seperate bowl and place in the fridge while you make the filling.
First, drain the water from the cashews before placing them in a high speed blender or food processor along with coconut milk, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and sea salt until smooth. You may need to scrape the sides down occasionally to ensure that there are no large chunks of cashew remaining.
Once sufficiently mixed, pour the cheesecake filling over the crust, spreading evenly over the top and into the corners. Once the cheesecake is spread, pour the now cooled nut topping over the top and repeat the process, spreading evenly across the top. You can press any additional almonds, pecans, cashews or peanuts into the top if you wish! Cover the cheesecake and place it in the freezer for 4-5 hours to set.
When the chessecake is firm to the touch, remove from the freezer to allow it to thaw slightly before cutting it, otherwise the nut topping will crack easily! Use this time to melt your dark chocolate in the microwave or a small pot in 30 second increments, stirring occasionally. Once melted and slightly cooled, drizzle the chocolate over the cheesecake, making a zig-zag pattern over the top.
Feel free to add any remaining nut topping, coconut flakes, or nuts over the top.