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Cashew “Cheesecake” Squares

Makes about 12 squares 

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    For as long as I can remember, cheesecake has been my most favorite dessert ever. So, when I decided to go vegan, one of the first things I wanted to experiment with was a dairy-free cheesecake. I’ve tried using tofu, plant-based cream cheese, and other interesting ingredients . . . but a cashew base is just perfectly rich and creamy. These squares are filled with delicious nostalgia and could definitely compete with your traditional cheesecake.

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    Note: You’ll want to plan ahead for this recipe! The cashews need to soak overnight before you make the cheesecake, and then the cheesecake needs to be frozen for 6 hours to overnight. It will be worth it!

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    Cashew “Cheesecake” Squares

      Ingredients

      Crust
      • 1/2 cup raw almonds (or nut of your choice, such as cashews or peanuts)
      • 3/4 cup rolled oats (gluten free if desired)
      • 1 cup pitted Medjool or Deglet Noor dates
      • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries or diced fruit of your choice (such as raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries)
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
      “Cheesecake” batter 
      • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, covered in water and soaked overnight in fridge
      • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
      • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
      • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
      • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
      • 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
      • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
      • 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
      Optional blue/pink/lavender swirl 
      • 1 1/2 tsp colored powder: Butterfly pea flower powder (for blue) or pitaya or beet powder (for pink)

      Nutrition

      Per serving:

      • calories261
      • protein5g
      • fat14g
      • carbs32g
        • sugar20g
        • fiber3g
      • sodium13mg

      Directions

      01

      1. Line bottom and all sides of 9 × 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper (or use a springform pan).
      2. Make the crust: In food processor, pulse together almonds, oats, dates, blueberries, cinnamon, and cardamom until well incorporated. The mixture should be thick and stick together when pressed.
      3. Evenly press crust over bottom of lined pan. Freeze for 20 minutes.
      4. Make the batter: Drain cashews and transfer to large high-powered blender (see “Need for speed”). Add coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice, orange zest, vanilla, and salt and blend until smooth and creamy.
      5. If you want your cheesecake squares to have swirls, set aside most of cheesecake batter in large bowl, leaving 1/4 cup in blender. Add butterfly pea flower powder, pitaya powder, or beet powder to blender and blend until smooth. Transfer colored batter to small bowl.
      6. Remove prepared crust from freezer and pour cheesecake batter over crust, spreading evenly. To add swirls, drop small dollops of colored batter across top of cheesecake and swirl them with toothpick or chopstick.
      7. Freeze cheesecake for at least 6 hours and up to overnight to ensure the cashews can be fully broken down and blended to achieve the creamiest possible “cheesecake” consistency.
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