This easy vegan cheesecake recipe is made from wholesome ingredients and is ultra-creamy. The light-as-air texture will make the cheesecake melt in your mouth. With a sweet yet crunchy gluten-free crust, this cheesecake is more than you could hope for.
Buying The Ingredients
The key ingredient in this recipe is cashews. Once soaked, cashews create a creamy consistency that works wonderfully in cheesecake. You’ll need unsalted and unroasted cashews in this recipe. Cashews can be a pricey ingredient but there are a couple of ways to make them more budget-friendly.
Health food stores sell cashews in the bulk bins which tend to be less expensive. Costco also sells cashews in bulk for a reasonable price. It offers a 40-ounce container of organic unsalted unroasted cashews for under $25. Buying organic cashews is best because conventionally grown cashew trees are often sprayed with endosulfan. The pesticide is so toxic that it has been banned in most countries, but not the U.S.
Cashews are not only rich in protein but also in copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. The protein content is ideal for new vegans who are concerned about where they will get their protein from. Including cashews in one’s diet on a regular basis is an easy and tasty way to eliminate the concern.
The other key ingredients in this cheesecake recipe are coconut oil, vanilla extract, lemon, and Medjool dates. The coconut oil helps to solidify the cheesecake while vanilla extract provides a delicious flavor. Lemon juice adds the tanginess associated with this classic dessert.
Medjool dates provide not only sweetness but also texture to the gluten-free crust. Once pulsed with nuts in a food processor, they provide the perfect base. As a bonus, dates are rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, and protein.
This easy cheesecake recipe requires a high-speed blender, food processor, and a springform pan, so have those handy. If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the crust in the blender as long as it has a pulse function. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you might be able to make the filling in a high-quality food processor but it may not be as smooth.
Make sure you soak your cashews in water in advance. A minimum of six hours soak time is recommended while soaking overnight is ideal and most convenient. The higher speed your blender, the less soak time required. Once done soaking, drain and rinse them into a blender. If you lack the time to soak them fully, you can boil them for ten minutes to soften them quickly.
If your Medjool dates are firm and don’t break apart easily, you’ll need to soak them. Simply soak them in water for about one hour and they should be softened. This will make them disintegrate easier in the food processor.
How To Make Easy Cheesecake
- 1 ½ cups cashews, soaked and drained
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil
- ⅓ cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup Medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Line a springform pan with parchment paper or a baking mat. Add almonds, dates, and sea salt to a food processor. Pulse until fine and crumbly. Press into the pan until well packed and even. Place in the refrigerator.
- Add cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, sweetener, and vanilla to a high-speed blender. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Pour filling onto the crust and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Place in the refrigerator to set for about four hours, or until firm. Slice into triangles and serve immediately. Store any leftover cheesecake in the freezer.
While You Bake
For the smoothest possible cheesecake filling, scrape the sides of the blender occasionally during the blending process. Use a rubber spatula to make sure you get all cashew bits and pieces. If you are having trouble getting it completely smooth then add a tiny splash of nondairy milk, preferably coconut milk.
Once you’ve mastered easy cheesecake, try your hand at one of these fun flavor variations:
- Berry Swirl: Pour half of the filling mixture into the prepared pan with the crust. Then add one cup blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries to the blender. Blend until completely smooth. Swirl berry filling in with the vanilla.
- Peanut Butter: Follow recipe instructions for the filling and crust as directed. Then, mix ¼ cup natural peanut butter with one tablespoon melted coconut oil. Swirl peanut butter into filling then place in the refrigerator to set.
- Chocolate: Add ¼ cup raw cacao powder to the filling mixture in the blender. Blend well and proceed with recipe as directed.
- Key Lime: Add ¼ cup lime juice to the filling mixture in the blender. Blend well and then pour filling into the prepared pan with the crust. Once the cheesecake has firmed up after refrigeration, garnish with lime zest.
Images via Karissa Bowers