Healthy Eating

Nuts about ‘cheesecake’

By: Noelle Konrad, of the Auburn Journal
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Vegan Holiday Cheesecake
Serves 3

Crunchy Crust
1 cup packed and pitted medjool dates
½ cups raw walnuts
Pinch of sea salt

Fluffy Filling
½ cups raw cashews
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoon melted coconut oil
½ cup real maple syrup
¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
Pinch of sea salt
¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Creamy Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place cashews in a heat resistant bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let it rest uncovered at room temperature for an hour. Then drain.
Put the cashews aside.
Place dates in a food processor and blend until small pieces remain. It may form a ball and that is OK.
Set dates aside.
Add walnuts and salt into the food processor until finely chopped.
Add in dates.
Process until a sticky dough forms. It will stick together when pressed.
Spray ramekins with coconut oil. (You could also use a muffin tin with cupcake liners.)
Divide the now blended crust evenly between ramekins and press firmly to solidify crust. Let set in freezer for 15 minutes.
Add thoroughly drained cashews into a blender with the remaining filling ingredients and blend until smooth. There should be no lumps. This takes anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes.
Remove ramekins from freezer and divide the filling among them. Place back in freezer (cover optional) for up to 4 hours.
Once the cheesecakes are solid you can choose to remove the cheesecakes or eat them out of the ramekins.
Serve with coconut whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon and enjoy.

Who says dessert has to be unhealthy to taste good? This was by far the most delicious “cheesecake” I had ever had despite the fact that it was 100 percent vegan and refined sugar-free.
I even surprised my family. I didn’t tell them what it was or what was in it. I just said “OK, here is dessert” and the yummy noises progressed. No one believed me when I told them I made it mostly from nuts.
Holidays can be a bummer with food allergies. So this holiday season, I decided that I was going to make all of my favorite seasonal treats, but I was going to make them allergy-free, healthy, and extremely tasty so I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything.
This dessert was up to the challenge. How could you go wrong when pumpkin is involved?