We absolutely love enjoying a slice of cheesecake and we decided to experiment with a vegan, gluten-free and no-bake version of this classic dessert because why not?! You may be wondering how in the world we are going to emulate the rich and decadent texture of a classic cheesecake and the secret is CASHEWS! Cashews are a great source of protein and healthy fats but what we love most about them is their ability to completely transform the texture of this recipe. The key is to soak the cashews in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the recipe in order to create that incredible creamy texture for the filling. If you are looking to try out more vegan or dairy-free recipes, then cashews are going to become your new best friend!
We topped our cheesecakes with a super simple and easy cranberry compote but if you don't have/like cranberries, you can easily substitute them for another berry. Additionally, we used almonds in our crust but you could substitute these for walnuts or pecans if desired.
Since these cheesecakes are stored in the freezer, we like making a double batch so that we can enjoy them as a snack or dessert in the following weeks! Here's what you'll need:
1 cup almonds
1 cup packed Medjool dates (pitted)
2 cups cashews, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup maple syrup
½ lemon juiced (~1 tbsp juice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen cranberries
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch
In a food processor, blend the almonds and dates until a loose dough forms that sticks together when pressed between your fingers (you may need to add more dates or almonds depending on how moist your dates are).
Divide the mixture into a greased or lined muffin tray and press the crust down firmly with your fingers.
In a food processor or blender, blend the cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, lemon juice and vanilla extract until smooth.
Pour the filling on top of the crust (~2-3 tbsp for each cheesecake).
In a small saucepan, add the frozen cranberries, sugar and lemon juice and cook on medium-low heat. Stir continuously for 3 minutes until the cranberry juices begin to release. Add the cornstarch and continue to stir for another 2-3 minutes, smashing some cranberries as you go. The mixture will start to thicken. Remove from heat and let the cranberries cool slightly.
Add a dollop of the cranberry mixture to the top of each cheesecake.
Place the muffin tray in the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight to firm up
Before eating, set the cheesecakes on the counter for ~5-10 minutes to allow them to soften slightly.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer.