As healthy desserts go it doesn’t get much better than this plant-based strawberry cheesecake.
This non-dairy cheesecake is living proof that, yes, you can have your cake and eat it too. Without beating yourself up about it.
This cake relies mostly of the fruit to provide the sweetness, boosted by a little natural sweetener. It also has the addition of tofu, which not only lightens up the cake, it also adds healthy plant protein.
In the past, I have always made my non-dairy cheesecakes using all cashew nuts, sometimes with the addition of fruit (as in this recipe). But those types of nut-centered cakes tend to be a bit on the heavy side, I think. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious, but sometimes it is nice to have something lighter.
It is for that reason that I have long been wanting to come up with a lighter version of my “cheesecake” – and also one which doesn’t melt at room temperature. And with this recipe below – allow me to brag a bit – I nailed it!
This dessert has intense strawberry flavor, it has just the right amount of fat from the cashew nuts, yet at the same time it is very light thanks to the tofu and the agar-agar.
But best of all: it will not melt into oblivion on the dining table while you are trying to impress your guests with your amazing dessert making skills.
For added richness I often serve this cake with a simple cashew nut drizzle. I have added the recipe for that below as well.
As a side note, this recipe also works great with raspberries (be aware of the added crunch from the seeds) and blueberries. And once mangoes are back in season I will definitely try out that version as well.
UPDATE: Before mangoes once again filled the markets, peaches hit the fruit stands. So check out my Peachy Cheesecake for a slightly different take on this plant-based strawberry cheesecake.
Blueberries definitely get points for color! But even so I still prefer the strawberry flavor.
Plant-based Strawberry Cheesecake.
Ingredients for the crust
- 100 grams raw almonds 1 cup, see note below
- 40 grams desiccated coconut about 1/2 a cup
- 2-4 tablespoons almond milk or milk of your choice
- 2 tablespoons palm/coconut sugar or sweetener of your choice
- Grated zest of 1 lime
Ingredients for the filling
- 130 grams raw cashew nuts About 1 cup
- 200 grams soft silken tofu
- 450 grams frozen strawberries, defrosted
- 3-4 tablespoons palm/coconut sugar or sweetener of your choice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or essence
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of your choice
- 2 teaspoons powdered agar-agar See note below if using agar-agar flakes
Ingredients for the cashew nut drizzle
- 1 cup raw cashew nuts soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of your choice
- 1½ tablespoons palm/coconut sugar, maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or essence
- Zest of 1 small lemon
Ingredients to serve (optional)
- Fresh mint
- Fresh strawberries
- Start by soaking your cashew nuts needed for the filling in boiling water for 20 minutes. While they soak continue with making the crust.
To Make the crust:
- Grind the almonds to a flour and mix it with the coconut, sugar, and lime zest, then add enough almond milk to make a dough. Start with two tablespoons and increase the amount until the dough comes together. I use my hands for this.
- Cover the bottom of your spring-form with parchment paper and then cut out a strip or two to line the sides as well.
- Add the almond dough to the bottom of your form and spread it out evenly, pressing down as you go. Set aside.
To make the filling:
- Add the strawberries, tofu, sugar, and vanilla paste to a blender.
- Drain the soaked cashew nuts and add them to the blender as well.
- Blend everything until nice and smooth.
- These next few steps need to happen in quick succession because the agar-agar will start to set as soon as it begins to cool down. Here we go:
- Pour the almond milk into a small pot and whisk in the agar-agar powder. Heat the milk over low heat and let it simmer for about 30 to 45 seconds, whisking continuously, until it starts to thicken.
- As soon as this happens start up the blender with the strawberry mixture and, with the blender running, pour/scrape the agar-agar milk into the strawberry filling and blend everything until it is all nicely mixed. Then quickly pour the filling over your almond crust. Gently hit the spring form a few timed against your work top to get rid of whatever air pockets or bubbles may be hiding in the filling.
- Put your cake in the fridge until nicely settled, 30-45 minutes.
- Decorate with fresh mint and additional berries before serving, if you like, or serve as is.
To make the drizzle:
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend well. Adjust the amount of milk if you want a thinner drizzle.
- Firstly, you need to use more. Generally speaking you need to use three times as much of the flaked kind than you would the powder. So in this recipe you would need to use about 7 1/2 teaspoons.
- Second, it takes longer to activate the flakes so you will need to boil it for a few minutes instead of 30-45 seconds.