Cheesecake craving, squashed. This easy no-bake vegan cheesecake is light, creamy and subtly sweet with a perfectly silky texture.
I mean really. Just look at this. Simple and lovely.
I love a good cashew-based cheesecake as much as the next person, but the last one I made cost me more than $30 in ingredients. Yikes. And I just chose to bury my head in the sand about its fat content.
So I set about to make a vegan cheesecake which would be easy, delicious (obviously) and lighter in all respects.
I served this to a bunch of friends, without telling them what was in it. They loved it, and one even said it was better than regular dairy cheesecake and didn't leave her with that sick and heavy feeling from the usual too-rich dessert.
Here it is again.
A simple vegan cheesecake...
Like what you see? This recipe couldn't be easier, and is super quick to make. There's a bit of thinking ahead to do to soak some nuts, chill your crust and chill the complete cheesecake, but actual hands on prep time is less than 10 minutes, and there's no cooking involved.
The crust is a simple mixture of dates, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, set with a little coconut oil. The crust is a little on the fragile side, but it's really only there for taste and texture anyway. And I really like not having to smash through a too-crunchy base. We've all been there.
If your dish is a bit bigger than mine, don't try and spread the crust mixture thin as it'll just fall apart. Instead, you could line your dish with cling film (to be sure you can easily remove the cheesecake later) and make it a bottom only base (no side walls). This would also work really well as mini cheesecakes made in a muffin pan or silicon molds.
...with a secret ingredient
The secret ingredient in this vegan cheesecake filling is naturally low-fat soft tofu. With a few subtle flavours and a little sweetener added, any hint of tofu-ness is well masked if not impossible to detect. Half a cup of cashews and the coconut oil ensure there's still some richness and a creamy mouthfeel.
You can buy silken tofu packaged at the supermarket, but you need 500 grams for this recipe so that won't be the cheapest option. Head to your local Asian grocer instead and pick up some fresh soft tofu, mine cost $2 NZD for 500 grams. Bargain.
Oh yeah and the total cost? About $10 NZD I reckon, proportionately estimated for things like the coconut oil and maple syrup which I already had.
You'll need a food processor to make this.
Watch the video
For the crust:
- 1 cup dates
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
- ⅓ cup almonds
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil melted if solid
For the filling:
- 500 g soft tofu drained
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked for at least 4 hours (longer is fine) and drained
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- ½ cup coconut oil melted if solid
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- Vanilla - seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
For the crust:
- Put all crust ingredients in to a food processor and pulse until you have a small crumb.
- Use your hands and the back of a spoon to press the crust mixture evenly into a tin. I used a 20cm pie tin with a removable base.
- Put in the fridge or freezer for a few hours to firm up.
For the filling:
- Put everything except the coconut oil into a blender or food processor.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour in the coconut oil, while the blender is running. You'll now have a thick and creamy, but pourable filling mixture.
- Pour the filling into your pre-prepared crust and evenly spread and smooth it with a spatula. Work quickly as the chilled crust will start to set the filling mixture quite quickly.
- Pop the cheesecake in the fridge overnight (ideally) or for at least 2-3 hours to set.
- Serve straight from (or recently from) the fridge. Both the crust and filling will soften at room temperature.
- Prep time does not include soaking time for the cashews, or chilling time for the crust or whole cheesecake.
- This recipe freezes pretty well. It's better from the fridge so I wouldn't recommend freezing it ahead of time for a special occasion, but go ahead and freeze leftovers in single serve portions. The moisture content of the tofu means the cheesecake freezes solid, so allow an hour or two for it to thaw at room temperature.