Do you remember when you began eating dairy-free?
I do. Mostly because I remember how much better I felt making that dairy-free switch. I’ve explained my journey in interviews and in my books. My journey to eating plant-based and vegan began with removing meats and eggs, and later dairy.
And, it seems this is a typical path to eating plant-based. For most people, meat isn’t nearly as difficult to remove as dairy. Why is that? Why does dairy have such a dietary hold?
This question is addressed in Dr. Barnard’s new book, The Cheese Trap. Last fall I introduced you to this book, and it’s releasing this month.
I’ve contributed the recipes for this book, which to be clear is not a full cookbook. It’s a dietary/health books with supplemental recipes. The recipes (all whole foods, plant-based) offer a rounded menu, with a focus on dairy-free alternatives to creams, cheeses, and meals incorporating cheese (ex: lasagna, pizza, dairy-free cheesecake).
I’m so excited to have worked with the good doctor on this book, and to finally share a recipe from The Cheese Trap with you all…
DAIRY-FREE CHEESECAKE with RASPBERRY SAUCE
Yes, I start with dessert. 🙂
Enjoy this plant-based, whole foods dairy-free cheesecake! I think it’s, divine…
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1 cup pitted medjool dates
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups soaked raw cashews soaked in advance, see note
- 1 cup coconut butter not oil
- 1/3 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt or unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp little scant sea salt
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest optional
- 1/2 tsp guar gum optional, see note
- To prepare the crust, add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse to get moving, and then process until the mixture becomes quite sticky, and will hold when pressed between your fingers. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled spring form pan and press around the bottom of the pan (not the sides). For the filling, add all ingredients to a blender (high-powered blender is best). Puree until very, very smooth (stopping to scrape down blender a couple of times as needed). Pour mixture over crust and tip pan back and forth to evenly distribute. Cover pan with foil and pop in freezer to set (overnight, or 3-4 hours). Then, to serve, remove from freezer to soften at room temperature, about 1/2 hour. Slice, and serve as is or with berry sauce, p.. Makes one cheesecake, serving 8.
Raspberry Dessert Sauce
- 3 cups fresh or frozen raspberries see note
- 3 - 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- few pinches sea salt
- Put berries, maple syrup (starting with 3 tbsp), vanilla, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for 15-20 minutes, until raspberries have softened and sauce has thickened slightly. Taste, and add additional maple syrup if desired. Serve sauce warm or cool (sauce will thicken more after cooling). Serve over “Divine Cheesecake”, p.. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Photo Credit: My sincere thanks to Nicole Axworthy for these beautiful photos.
I’ve made this recipe several times and my family loves it❤️
I’m wondering if you have a pumpkin version online… Or thoughts on adapting this one?
Dreena Burton says
Hi Amy, I’m so happy you love it! Thanks 🙂 If you have Dreena’s Kind Kitchen, try the cheesecake in there, use orange sweet potatoes instead of yellow, and then add pumpkin spice to taste. Will work perfectly!
Hi Dreena, I recently made your lemon lime cheesecake, turning it into a key lime version because I had a little souvenir bottle of key lime juice to use up! It was delicious. In that recipe the measure for the cashews is after they are soaked. Is it the same in this one? You just soak a bunch of cashews and measure out 1 1/2 cups after they have soaked? I soaked the full 1 1/2 cups, but the mixture seemed much thicker than the key lime version. It was still tasty though. It’s in the freezer now, but it would be nice to know for next time if I messed it up! Thanks for your recipes, they are my most used!
Hi April, thanks for the note. Yes, that’s exactly how I do it – I soak more than I need (refrigerating/freezing extra) and then measure what I need. It sounds like you did everything right! If you want to make it a little less dense next time, you could reduce the coconut butter just a touch. Hope that helps!
Karen Ricketts says
This is so delicious and turned out so creamy; perfect texture. The coconut butter was easy to make at home (just put coconut in a high-speed blender till it turns to butter; can add a bit of oil). I spread strawberry pieces over it; looked great and tasted even better.
Thank you Karen, so happy to hear you enjoyed it!
Hi Dreena! Do you think i could make cheesecake bars instead in a rectangular baking dish? Excited to try this recipe. Thanks!
Hi Beena, I love that idea! For sure, I’d just line the pan with some strips of parchment so that you can ‘lift’ the bars out of the dish easily once set. Now I want to make as bars. 🙂
Recipe looks amazing and I would like to make it for my husbands birthday. What is coconut butter? Any certain brand?
Hi Karin, apologies for the delay. This post has information about coconut butter to help you out: http://bit.ly/1J5bMPY Hope you enjoy the cheesecake!
Patricia Fleetwood says
Can macadamia be a sub for cashews? Some are sensitive to cashews.
Hi Patricia, I haven’t tested it. Macadamia nuts are more oily, and not as firm in consistency when pureed. So, some adjustments would be needed for a similar texture if you use them.
Hi Dreena! Do you think homemade coconut butter would work in this recipe? I know it’s a little more gritty than the storebought kind (but I’m not sure how much, because I’ve never bought it). Thanks!
Yes, I think homemade would be okay in this recipe, since the ingredients will be churned more in the blender. Hope you enjoy! -D.
Christine R Kobes says
I am making this cake and everything tastes delicious. Is the filling suppose to be super thick out of the blender?
Hi Christine! Yes, it’s good and thick, but should be smooth as well. Will help it set up well if nicely thick. Merry Christmas!
its looks like really taste and yummy
Can u taste the coconut flavor from the coconut butter in the cheesecake?
No, it tastes ‘cheesy’ but not coconutty.
How big is the spring form pan you use for this cheesecake?
Hi Sarah, I use a 9″, but you can use smaller or slightly larger, will just be thicker or flatter (I wouldn’t go much larger than 10″ though).
Nora@ plantstrongfamily says
Hi Dreena! I am a long time follower of your blog and have a few of your cookbooks. I use them regularly! I make your Fresh Broccoli Teriyaki dish about once a week. 🙂 Anyhow, this cheesecake looks great, I’m going to give it a try soon. I also remember when I gave up dairy 7 years ago, I realized it’s not normal for your stomach to hurt all the time! I felt so much better and lighter that it made up for not eating cheese anymore. Thanks for your hard work in the plant based world!!
Chuck R. says
I’m surprised Neal Barnard OK’d this. Yes, I get that it’s non-dairy. But when I saw all the high-sugar medjool dates I knew it was going to be high sugar. But should I expect less from a cheesecake, dairy or not? And all those nuts? “Heart-healthy” yes, in small quantities. 53% calories from fat. Coconut butter too. It reminds me why Paleo is so popular … because it lets people think they are eating healthy ,,, when in fact they aren’t. There are many much healthier desserts. Many people reading this book may be fending off diabetes, or obesity. This isn’t going to help.
At least control yourself and don’t have 2 slices in one day!
Chuck, I considered deleting this comment however I’m responding because I suspect others will have this question/concern.
This book is about removing dairy, and specifically cheese, from the diet. The menu plan is rounded with breakfasts, snacks, soups, dinners, and desserts but with a focus on offering some plant-based dairy alternatives. In order for people to be interested in plant-based dairy alternatives, those recipes need to decently represent cheese in flavor and texture. This needs to be through higher fat plant foods. Not all recipes in this book are higher fat, but the cheese replacements, in general, are higher in calories and fat. Let’s remember as well that this specific recipe is a dessert with generous serving sizes. It’s not a meal or part of a weekly meal plan.
Thank-you for the reply to Chuck’s comment. I admit I had a few similar concerns, however, sometimes you just want or crave something special like cheesecake & it’s wonderful to have a vegan alternative; no cheese involved & you don’t feel you’re missing out for your dietary choices.
I appreciate your words. If we lived on dessert, I am sure this would be trouble but dessert should be a treat. sometimes we just want a treat. I feel that many times people forget we are humans, imperfect through and through. No diet is perfect, no food is perfect. It can be hard to be balance and moderate in our eating but we try. An occassional splurge in the fat department won’t kill us right? At least its not a plate of greasy fries or deep fried ice cream. Eat and enjoy, after your salad of course.
Edward Smith says
Good reply Dreena.
Chuck makes good points but I agree with you that a little high fat plant food has got to be OK — especially compared to the alternative of eating a regular dairy cheesecake. And, as other posters have said, it’s not like we are eating a whole cheesecake for supper.
And, on a separate note, thanks for suggesting the use of unsweetened applesauce for non-dairy yogurt. Nice to know there is an alternative.
I assume that for your recipe, a suitable non-dairy yogurt would be made with soy? I have tried some of the soy yogurts and really did not like them. However, for the small amount used in this recipe, I am sure that the other flavours would take over and the soy yogurt would help with the consistency of the cheesecake. Do you know if soy is the only non-dairy yogurt out there? I live in Alberta, Canada.
Please keep up the great work. As a person in remission from cancer who has switched to a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet, there are days I feel like giving up but then along comes recipes like your’s and I no longer feel like I am “deprived” when eating the WFPB diet. Every day, I find more and more WFPB recipes that convince me I am on the right path.
And when I hear you say your kids are eating the foods you prepare — that convinces me even more. Kids are the ultimate test, and the toughest and most honest critics. If they say, “Mmmmm this is good.. “, then we know the recipe is a good one!
I’m gonna give this recipe a try…
Thanks so much…
I have to share this. Dates are a perfect food with every vitamin and mineral and right kind of sugar the brain and muscles need. People in Africa make a pressed 4″x4″x1″ cake and put it in a pouch to carry. They can go up to 65 miles walking or a slow jog and eat just a good-sized bite as needed for energy and strength. They take no other food, just water. (I have an adopted son in Africa). I have one of these pressed cakes of figs and they can be bought in int’l grocery stores today. There is no problem with diabetes or sugar high. They are excellent to put in a survival/emergency kit if someone inadvertently gets stranded with no food. Years ago, a rowing team did an experiment and only ate dates. The other team did regular sugar. The team eating dates were on their way back and met the other team still going– they were weak — the team with the dates were strong and not the least tired or weak. I can eat dates and go all day and I’m 68. I do a lot more brain work and less physical but am strong. Your reply was very good to that man. Thank you for all you do to help people go vegetarian/vegan. I settled the meat, milk, and cheese issue in 1993. Hugs to you
I want to add that if you do calculate the nutrition facts for this recipe and compare it to a traditional dairy/egg cheesecake recipe, it’s still going to come in WAY lower in fat and saturated fat, and of course this one has zero cholesterol. And it’s going to come up way higher in fiber, potatassium, and other essential nutrients. So, if someone does have serious health issues and they are going to indulge in a slice of cheesecake, this recipe is indeed going to help!
Sophia | Veggies Don't Bite says
Love cheesecake of all kinds! I do it so many different ways and I don’t think you can go wrong. Well, maybe you can…LOL But this one looks amazing!
Vegan Heaven says
This looks SO delicious, Dreena! I’m a huge cheesecake fan! I actually just posted a recipe for a vegan raspberry cheesecake myself like two weeks ago. 🙂
The Vegan 8 says
What a beautiful cheesecake! And I agree on the coconut butter, it’s my favorite ingredient to use in my cheesecakes. I prefer it much more than cashews in cheesecakes!
Nicole Dawson says
We gave up dairy due to a food allergy which grew into eating a vegan diet. I feel so much better eating this way and when I remove dairy from other’s diets (I do coaching and food allergy challenges), dairy is the first thing we cut that ALWAYS helps remove inflammation, seasonal allergy symptoms and helps with their gut health too. Thankfully, it’s so much easier now with all the DF options . Thanks for sharing a great recipe that falls in line with DF living. It looks delicious.
Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen says
This cheesecake looks amazing. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Cheese Trap book – I’ve heard soo many good things about it so far!
Can I substitute xanthum gum for the gear gum?
Oops. Meant to write guar gum. Stupid spell check
not a prob 🙂 You can, but they are slightly different. I’d simply omit, it will be a-ok without it!
Linda @ Veganosity says
Three weeks after I gave up dairy I realized that the pain from the arthritis in my right ring finger and my lower back disappeared. Three years later I feel great, and I can put my rings on again. Giving up dairy and meat was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my health. I wouldn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about eating a big slice of this delicious cheesecake. It’s filled with so many nutrients.
What is coconut butter and where is it purchased? Beautiful!
Great Q, I’m going to add a link to the post. Here’s info on coconut butter that will help you: https://dreenaburton.com/a-few-of-my-favorite-vegan-things/
Rebecca Cody says
Sue, There are instructions online for making your own coconut butter, which is much less expensive. I made it once, a year or two ago, and I think all I did was put unsweetened shredded coconut into the Vitamix and blend. But it may have been the food processor. I don’t remember. Anyway, you can do it and it saves $$$.
Vanessa @ VeganFamilyRecipes says
This is such a beautiful dessert! I really have to try it out! Pinning!
Jody Wilson says
OK, this kind of makes me swoon. Saving. Trying!
It looks perfect! Silky smooth and creamy dreamy. It’s true, dairy is the hardest – but I find I don’t even think about it anymore. There are plenty of great alternatives…like this decadent cheesecake!!
It’s hard to understand how any dessert with 32 grams of fat could be called healthy in any sense…..It looks delicious, but really!
In the scope of the book, and all of these recipes have been approved by Dr. Barnard. Mind you, it’s not a meal, it’s a treat.
Victoria Laine says
I know what I’m making for valentine’s treat! ;-D Thanks Dreena!! My mouth is watering.
Carrie, as Dreena said it’s a treat not a meal, however we can also keep in mind that nuts, rich in fat calories, also provide dietary fibre, unlike fatty dairy foods, and we know that dietary fibre helps with blood glucose metabolism. Nuts are typically more easy to digest than dairy as well.
Sarah C says
Dietary fat is not the enemy. Nutritionists (responsible ones, at least) no longer preach the “fat makes you fat” gospel that was all the rage in the 90s. Healthy fats like those from nuts (as here) are in fact necessary for brain and heart health.
I can’t wait to get this book! Based on this recipe, I can tell that all of your dishes are going to be incredible!
awww, thanks for that Dianne!
Becky Striepe says
Oh my gosh, this looks soooo rich and creamy. YUM!
Lorraine O Gloede says
I’m on a whole foods, plant-based, SOS-free diet. SOS means minimal to no salt, oil, and sugar. What could I use to replace the coconut butter?
Hi Lorraine, coconut butter is oil-free as it’s a whole foods product. I understand though, that you may be wanting to reduce the fat. If so, this recipe really isn’t going to work. The coconut butter is eseential to the cheesecake. I’d say make it, enjoy a small slice. 🙂
oh, and leftovers can be frozen!