Vegan cheesecake. Usually full of oil and maple syrup. Usually takes hours to make. I bring you vegan cheesecake that is not only easy and no-bake – it also does not contain oil or processed sugar! There is only one challenge with this very lovely vegan cheesecake: you will want to eat the whole thing that very moment, when you take it out of the freezer. But I urge you, resist!
Tomer joined me this week in making this very special lemon vegan cheesecake for you, and we know you are going to love it. The crust contains a very special ingredient, and it’s so delicious that I could easily eat it on its own as bliss balls or cookies. The filling is creamy, decadent, rich and oh so delicious – you will never miss the dairy when you enjoy this divine creation!
This healthy dessert is completely free of refined sugars, and before you dive into making it, I wanted to share some little-known information about sugar, as well as great tips on overcoming sugar addiction.
Which Sweetener is the Healthiest + Tips on Overcoming Sugar Cravings
The whole food, plant-based community often comes out with statements against oil. Oil is a refined food that not only makes you gain weight, but also is unhealthy. I have many resources about oil on the blog. All of my recipes are oil-free, and I also provide education about the health risks of consuming oil. Check out this incredible oil-free salad dressing, and learn about why I recommend going oil-free.
However, there is not enough discussion in the plant-based community about sugar. I get it – maple syrup was the last thing to go from my diet. It’s delicious, and I do believe it’s slightly less harmful than oil. And yet, it is still a processed food. Instead of eating the entire plant, with its fiber, fat, and protein, when you consume sugar in any form, you are eating carbohydrates only. When you strip all these other parts of the plant, you actually also lose many micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals).
In this sense, sugar and oil are very much the same: a stripped-down version of a whole food (plant), that has so much more to offer when you eat the whole thing.
So what should you do instead? Here are my tips on sugar and sweeteners:
First, know that fruits are not considered a refined sugar, and you should eat them – and plenty of them – without fear of weight gain.
Second, all sweeteners are pretty much created equal. Whether it’s agave, maple syrup, honey, or brown rice syrup – these are all processed, and contain an almost-equally dismal amount of nutrition. Watch Dr. Greger’s video about sweeteners to learn more.
If you’re struggling with sugar cravings, I advise you to avoid ALL SWEETENERS mentioned above. Get them out of your house. The more sugar you eat, the more you crave it. If you don’t crave sugar, then eating these sweeteners occasionally is not the end of the world. Don’t make it a daily habit, but don’t fear it like the plague either.
So finally, what should you sweeten with? DATES. Dates are a whole food, and you can either use the dates themselves, date sugar, or date syrup to sweeten everything from smoothies (I usually add 1 date), to cakes (as this one), to your morning oats. Dates are great, and they will get your taste buds accustomed to natural sweetness. They are full of nutrients and fiber, and even contain protein and fat – so they are a whole food!
Enjoy this delicious cake, sweetened with the natural divine taste of dates!
Lemon Vegan Cheesecake
For the crust:
- For the crust:
- Places oats in a food processor, and process until slightly broken down. Do not over-process - just a few pulses is enough.
- Add pitted dates, lemon juice, and goji berries, process until the "dough" starts to stick. Take a small amount between your fingers, and make sure it easily sticks together. If not, add more dates.
- Press the mixture into a closed spring-form pan. Set aside.
For the filling:
- Soak cashews overnight by covering them with filtered water.
- Get rid of the soaking water, and rinse the cashews.
- Open 2 young Thai coconuts. We show you how to do this with a meat cleaver and flexible plastic spatula here. Alternatively, you can purchase raw coconut water and frozen coconut meat and use those.
- Place coconut water and coconut meat in a high-speed blender, and blend until well incorporated.
- Add dates into the blender, and blend again.
- Add cashews and lemon zest, and blend until smooth and creamy. Be careful, as this can shut down the blender. Start on low and carefully go up to high speed. If the blender turns off, wait a bit and blend again until no cashew pieces remain.
- Pour the blended mixture into the spring-form pan, on top of the crust, and place in the freezer for 3-5 hours, or until completely hard.