This post is sponsored by iHerb.
I know, I know. It’s January and Valentine’s Day isn’t until February 14th. I’ve always been a planner, so in true planner fashion, I’ve been testing out some tasty (and healthy) sweet treats to celebrate with.
If you follow any raw vegan foodie accounts on Instagram, I’m sure you’re familiar with the beautiful images of vegan nut-based cheesecakes, slices and tarts. The vibrant colours, the tidy lines and perfect slices, and the beautiful crusts that make my mouth water within seconds of looking at them. As I’ve shared before, sweets really aren’t my forté and I always tend to gravitate more towards savoury dishes over desserts. But even so, I love playing in the kitchen and creating beautiful things. Those those of you who loooooove desserts are gonna be on board with this one.
So how does one make a cheesecake without cheese, cream cheese, or butter, and without the need for baking?
First things first, cashews.
Specifically, soaked cashews, which once blended can turn into a delightfully creamy and rich filling. With a far more neutral taste than other nuts, the cashew puree takes on whatever flavour you want your cheesecakes to be, whether it’s chocolatey, nutty, fruity, minty… whatever your heart desires. In all of my testing, the best flavours turned out to be Chocolate Strawberry and Blueberry Lemon, so those are the ones I’ve got for ya today.
Next, the no-bake crust.
That’s right, no baking the crust – or any of this recipe at all, for that matter! If you, like me, enjoy simplicity when it comes to food, you’re gonna love this one. It’s super simple – nuts and dates are the 2 main ingredients. The dates do a wonderful job of providing natural sweetness and binding the ground nuts together, and the result is a chewy-yet-sturdy base for these bite-sized treats. (Well, maybe 3- or 4-bite sized… unless you have a really big mouth!)
And just for fun….
A Valentine’s Day treat wouldn’t be complete without a few foods that are natural aphrodisiacs, right? Chocolate is a super obvious one, but I decided to go even further and include the following ingredients with their aphrodisiac property in mind.
In case you wondered what exactly gives certain foods their libido-boosting benefits, it’s often due to their ability to stimulate blood flow and increase body temperature. Some also stimulate sex hormones, as well as those that reduce anxiety and make us feel happy. Chocolate for errrrybody!
Side note: If you want to sneak one more fun ingredient with mega skin + digestion benefits into your cheesecakes, I also tested a batch of the chocolate ones with 2 tbsp unflavoured collagen powder in the filling. (More about collagen here!) The difference in texture and taste was non-detectible, and you can also increase protein content this way. Note however, this would make the recipe no longer vegan.
Right, grab your food processor and get ready to make some magic!
These no-bake vegan cheesecakes are a decadent-tasting dessert made with 100% whole foods (including a few libido-boosting ones), making them a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day!
For the crust
- 1 cup chopped pitted unsulphured dates, soaked in warm water for about 10 mins
- 2/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 2 tsp maca root powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
Blueberry Lemon Version:
- 1 cup soaked raw organic cashews
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup blueberries, plus more to garnish
- 3 tbsp lemon juice, plus zest to garnish
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate Strawberry version:
- Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the dates on their own until small pieces form. Transfer them to a bowl, then do the same with the nuts. Finally, add the dates back and all remaining crust ingredients. Pulse until a coarse mixture forms, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides. If it seems too wet, increase the quantity of nuts slightly. Transfer this to a bowl for easy scooping.
- Line a 12-cavity muffin tin with silicone liners or rounds of parchment paper (see note!). Scoop some of the crust dough into each cavity, pushing it down into the bottom of each in an even layer.
- Make the chocolate filling: Discard soak water from the cashews and blend all ingredients except strawberries and mint in the food processor until completely smooth. It should have a light, mousse-like consistency.
- Scoop the chocolate filling into 6 of the muffin cavities, filling them up to the top.
- Clean the food processor.
- Make the blueberry lemon filling: Do the same as above with the remaining ingredients (except garnishes). Scoop the filling into the 6 remaining cavities.
- Top each chocolate cheesecake with strawberry halves and each blueberry cheesecake with 3 blueberries.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the silicone liners. Sprinkle the blueberry cheesecakes with lemon zest and garnish the chocolate ones with mint leaves.
These can be made with silicone liners, or by cutting out rounds of parchment paper and placing them in the bottom of muffin tins. The version you see in the photos uses silicone liners, but if you prefer to avoid the fold lines of the liners on your cheesecakes, I’d recommend the parchment method. To help remove the cheesecakes from the liners, you can also place two trips of parchment in each cavity in an X shape so that you can use the ends as handles to pull the frozen cheesecakes out.
If you’re in the mood for creating some of your own no-bake vegan cheesecakes or other healthy Valentine’s Day treats, you’ll find pretty much every ingredient I’ve used in this recipe (all linked up above) on iHerb.com.
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(Full disclosure: I get a small commission, but you get cheaper goods so it’s a win-win!)
Now I’d love to hear from you… do you have any special treats lined up for yourself on Valentine’s Day? Any long-time faves or new ones you’re curious about trying? Do share!