Tuesday, February 9, 2016

3 Easy Vegan Cheesecake Recipes (That Don't Taste Vegan, Promise)

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Personally, I have a lot of love for February 14th. While, yes, one would hope we're expressing our love for friends, family, and maybe a special someone all year round, there's something to be said for a day crafted expressly for saying those three little words. Think of it as a bright pink heart-shaped reminder in the middle of an often cold, bleak season to slow down and do something sweet for the ones you care about most.

I come from a long line of people -- men and women alike -- who show their love through cooking. A special meal, a favorite dessert -- the time taken to nourish the ones you love with whole, real ingredients - a simple, quiet and meaningful way to wear your heart on your sleeve. An action that speaks so much louder than any material gift, especially when material gifts are sparse. While I'm quick to write myself off as the most basic of cooks, without totally realizing it, I picked up on this tradition through my love of baking. I love dreaming up which treats I'll give out for holidays and special occasions, and begin planning out my husband's birthday cake (or pie, or tart) months before I've even celebrated my own. If you're looking for a unique way to celebrate love this Sunday, why not take a page from my family tradition and find your way straight to your Valentine's heart with something sweet, beautiful and secretly healthy.

Something like cheesecake.

Have you ever met a dessert quite so indulgent as cheesecake? Dense, deeply flavored, easily customized, it's long been a favorite of mine for special occasions, especially Valentine's Day. I have fond memories of the variety my mother makes, studded with candied ginger and lemon rind, towering at three inches tall. However, traditional cheesecake -- while undeniably delicious (I could go on and on about it, clearly) -- isn't what you'd call "nourishing" in any sense of the word. But after getting my hands on some raw chocolate goodness from Rawmio, I felt inspired to whip up a raw vegan version of my favorite treat -- actually, I love you so much I made three versions. Chock full of antioxidants, thanks to the raw chocolate and berries, and filled with essential vitamins and minerals, thanks to the activated nuts, dates and seeds, the vegan cheesecake recipe below is sure to convey your fondness for the lucky ones you present it to.

Use the base as a jumping off point, then decide which version you'd like to make. Or, split up the batter into three bowls and make all three at once. Because there's no oven involved, it's easy to take this in whichever direction you'd like! Note: this makes one large cheesecake or three to four small ones.
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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups raw dates, pits removed

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup walnuts (or any other nut)

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

For the double chocolate crust: Mix 2 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder into the crust before pressing into pan.
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For the vanilla base:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 4 hours (this softens the cashews, so they can be pureed and activates the nuts, drawing out their nutrition)

2 packages silken tofu

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp lemon zest
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Tools:

9-inch springform pan OR 3-4 small 4-inch springform pans

Large food processor or high speed blender

Parchment paper

Raspberry Raw Chocolate Cheesecake:
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Line the bottom of the pan or pans with parchment paper by tracing the bottom of the pan onto the paper and cutting out the shape.

Place all crust ingredients in the food processor and pulse until crumbed. Press into the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

Rinse out the processor. Place all filling ingredients + 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries in the processor and blend until smooth. Pour the filling over the crust and place in the freezer until completely set, about 4 hours or overnight.

Remove from the freezer at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with chopped raw chocolate (I used Rawmio's Simply Hemp Raw Chocolate Bark) and fresh raspberries.
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Chocolate Mint Cheesecake:
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Line the bottom of the pan or pans with parchment paper by tracing the bottom of the pan onto the paper and cutting out the shape.

Place all crust ingredients + 2 tbsp chopped raw chocolate or raw cacao in the food processor and pulse until crumbed. Press into the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

Rinse out the processor. Place all filling ingredients + 3 tbsp raw cacao and 1 tsp peppermint extract in the processor and blend until smooth. Pour the filling over the crust (to make the swirl, reserve 1/4 cup of plain filling and swirl with a toothpick into the top of the chocolate mixture) and place in the freezer until completely set, about 4 hours or overnight.
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Remove from the freezer at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with chopped raw chocolate or Rawmio's Mint Chocolate Hearts and fresh mint.
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Ginger Blueberry Cheesecake:
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Line the bottom of the pan or pans with parchment paper by tracing the bottom of the pan onto the paper and cutting out the shape.

Place all crust ingredients + 1 tsp grated ginger in the food processor and pulse until crumbed. Press into the bottom of the pan in an even layer.

Rinse out the processor. Place all filling ingredients + 1 tbsp chopped fresh or candied ginger in the processor and blend until smooth. Pour the filling over the crust and place in the freezer until completely set, about 4 hours or overnight.

Remove from the freezer at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh blueberries.
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This post originally ran here as part of my full-time work with Free People

+ All of the Rawmio treats mentioned in this post are on sale for 25% off on www.rawguru.com through 2/14!

1 comments:

Abbie E. said...

the ginger blueberry looks super yummy!
Abbie E.
http://abulouslife.blogspot.com/

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