During my recent appearance on News One Now with Roland Martin, I featured my vegan strawberry “cheese”cake bites and they seemed to be hit. One of the guests actually called my cheesecake, “amazing.” 🙂 I “cheesed” on the inside after his compliment. Ha! That was pretty corny, huh? Anywho – I always find that it’s much easier to win over a crowd with a great dessert. Now you can make your own vegan strawberry cheesecake bites at home.
1 cup pitted dates
2 cups raw walnuts
1 tablespoon of almond flour (optional)
3 cups raw cashews (soaked in water for at least 4 hours)
3/4 cups of lemon juice
1/2 cup of coconut nectar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 cups frozen strawberries
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup pineapple juice (yes, pineapple juice!)
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
Whipped Cream (Optional)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons of coconut nectar
*I adapted my coconut whipped cream recipe from a youtube a discovered a few years ago. You can watch the original video here.
Bread pan (8.5 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches)
A large bowl and mixer for the whipped cream
- We’re going to start with the crust. I like a thick crust on my cheesecake. (If you prefer a thinner crust, use 1 1/2 cups of walnuts and 1/2 cup of dates instead.) Place your walnuts in your food processor or high-speed blender. I use a Vitamix for pretty much everything in life. Blend the walnuts a bit first, then add your dates and continue to blend until the mixture starts to get sticky. Please, take my advice and blend the walnuts first before adding the dates. It will be so much easier on your food processor.
- Dust your bread pan with a tablespoon of almond flour, or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Next, add a sprinkle of water to the pan. There should be just enough water to form a very, very thin “paste”. This will prevent your crust from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Of course, you could always use some type of vegan butter or spray. However, I do try to limit my use of oils.
- Remove your walnut and date crust from your food processor, and form a thin, even layer on the bottom of the pan.
- Now it’s time to prepare the filling. Grab your soaked cashews. (Yes, you do need to soak these because soaking your nuts helps ensure that you can digest them properly.) Pour off the water and rinse the cashews. Toss them into your blender along with your lemon juice, coconut nectar, vanilla extract and coconut milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. If you need more liquid to help get the blend going, add a little more coconut milk. Pour the mixture into the pan, on top of the crust. Freeze for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- My favorite part of making these bites is the topping. You will need your blender again for this step. Place your frozen strawberries, dates and pineapple juice into your blender and blend until you get the consistency of a smoothie. Don’t liquify. Why pineapple juice you ask? Strawberries can be a bit tart. The pineapple juice provides the perfect balance. You can’t even taste its flavor!
- Grab your pan from the freezer and pour the last layer over the “cheese” portion of the cheesecake. Freeze for at least 4 hours. You can also freeze this overnight. If so, I suggest thawing for 10-15 minutes beforehand, to make it easier to slice into squares. Once sliced, chop up your fresh strawberries and use them to decorate the top of each square as you wish.
*Whipped Cream* – Refrigerate your can of coconut milk overnight. This will help the “cream” and liquid separate. Place a large mixing bowl in the freezer for about ten minutes. The chilled bowl helps create a whipped consistency for your cream. While the bowl is “chilling”, pour out the liquid from the can into a container to save for smoothies or other recipes. Once the bowl is done cooling off, place your cream, vanilla and coconut nectar into your bowl and whip until you reach your desired level of fluff.
Re-freeze any leftover squares. These should last in the freezer for about 5 days. If you try this recipe, be sure to let me know in the comment section below. Enjoy!
All photos by WillPowerPhotos for That’s Chelsea