Healthy Recipe Series
As one of the most commonly favored desserts worldwide, our version is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth! See if you can guess what it is:
- a sweet dessert consisting of one or more layers
- the main and thickest layer is a mixture of soft creamy, fresh ingredients
- the bottom, and thinner layer, consists of a crust or base made from crushed ingredients
Cheesecake, of course!
The good news is that our version of this delicious dessert is full of health benefits, although it needs to be consumed in moderation. An Oasis of Healing Cheesecake is made with wholesome plant based ingredients, packed with beautiful flavors, and relatively easy to make.
Delectable Raw Vegan Cheesecake
The raw vegan cheesecake recipe consists of two layers, the top layer and the bottom “crusty” layer. The preparation itself is pretty fast, around 30 minutes, but we recommend placing it in the freezer to set, so it’s better to plan and prepare your cheesecake ahead of time. Once it has frozen, you can remove it from the freezer for 10-15 minutes, and it will be ready to eat.
The good thing with freezing the cheesecake is that you can store it for about two weeks and have a slice with your loved ones once in a while or enjoy a special “me time” by yourself when you feel like something sweet. We recommend not having more than a slice because the cheesecake still has a good amount of sugar. This is not added sugar but natural sugar from the dates in the crust and the filling.
Let’s focus on the main ingredients for the cheesecake, their nutritional value, and the health benefits associated.
Almonds and Pecans
These nuts are rich sources of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, beneficial phytochemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids. They will give the perfect nutty taste and crunchy texture to your cheesecake while at the same time delivering great nutrition!
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Almonds and Pecans1,2,3,4
- Balanced nutrient profile with essential vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and protein.
- Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) like oleic acid and palmitoleic acids, contributing to healthy blood lipid profiles.
- Both nuts are excellent sources of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E protects from free-radical damage and contributes to cell-membrane restoration.
- Nuts are a great source of plant phytochemicals with antioxidant action. Pecans are especially rich in beneficial compounds such as ellagic acid, beta-carotene, lutein-zeaxanthin, and crypto-xanthin. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and prevent free radical damage.
- Good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9). B-vitamins work in conjunction as cofactors for enzymes in cellular metabolism and are essential for macronutrient metabolism.
- Combined, almonds and pecans are an excellent source of several minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.
- Both these nuts are naturally gluten-free and a good alternative in recipes that call for ingredients that contain gluten, such as crusts and bread.
Cashews and Coconuts
The creamy fresh filling of the cheesecake calls for cashews, coconut yogurt, and coconut butter as the main ingredients. These are rich nutritional sources of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. We have discussed the health benefits of coconuts in our Nut Milk Recipe, but let’s combine them with cashew.
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Cashews and Coconuts5,6,7,8
- Both are great sources of energy, mainly from healthy fats.
- Coconuts are rich in saturated fats, the most relevant being the lauric acid, and cashews in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acids, usually considered “heart healthy.”
- These fats contribute to balanced blood lipid profiles, and the abundant medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) present in coconuts have many other health benefits, including anticarcinogenic, antiviral, and antifungal effects.
- Good sources of B-vitamins such as thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and folate (B-9), essential for the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates at the cellular level.
- Excellent source of minerals such as manganese, potassium, copper, iron, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. For example, a handful of cashew nuts a day provides enough content of most of these minerals and may help prevent deficiencies.
- Both cashews and coconuts are rich sources of fiber, essential for the digestive system function and gut health.
- In terms of phytonutrients, coconuts contain phytosterols, and essential plant chemicals, and cashews contain small amounts of zeaxanthin, a vital flavonoid antioxidant.
For the cheesecake, we have used ‘Medjool’ dates, one of the most popular varieties in the USA and one of our favorites for its rich flavor and texture. Dates are one of nature’s natural sweeteners, and we use them in most of our sweet recipes and desserts. Despite having a high sugar content, dates still possess valuable nutrition and many health benefits, not present in table sugar or other sweeteners.
We have addressed the health benefits of dates in our Brownie Recipe, so here we will highlight some of the most important.
Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits of Dates9,10
- Contain polyphenolic compounds, namely the antioxidant flavonoids tannins. Tannins exhibit anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-microbial properties, among other beneficial physiological effects.
- Other antioxidant flavonoids are present, such as ß-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These may protect against the harmful effects of free radicals and certain cancers.
- Excellent source of iron and potassium and other minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
- Modest source of vitamin-A and certain B-vitamins, including riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), and vitamin-K.
- Fresh dates are easily digestible, composed of simple sugars like fructose and dextrose, and rich in fiber. 100g of Medjool dates are equivalent to about 277 calories.
A note on sugar in dates:
Per 100 grams of fresh dates, around 75 grams consist of carbohydrates, of which about 7 grams is fiber. This means that per 100 grams of dates, approximately 68 grams is sugar! This is still a good amount of sugar and one of the reasons we do not recommend you indulge in the consumption of dates or foods with high date content. Moderation is the key with natural sugars.
That said, it is time to purchase your organic ingredients and prepare. By tomorrow you can have your delicious cheesecake ready to eat! Remember….only one piece. 😊
Here is the full recipe for the delectable raw vegan cheesecake!
- Makes: 12 servings Prep time: 30 minutes • Total time: 18-20 hours
For the crust:
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 Medjool date, pitted
- 1tbsp coconut butter
- ½ tsp maca powder (optional)
- Pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 1 cup cashews, soaked
- ¾ cup coconut yogurt
- ¼ cup coconut butter
- 4 Medjool dates
- pitted 1 tsp
- vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
To make the crust, place nuts and oats in a food processor and grind them into a fine crumb. Add remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly combined. It should stick together when pressed between your fingers. Press the mixture into a 7″ springform pan (or two 4″ springform pans) and set aside.
To make the filling, place all ingredients in a high-power blender and blend until smooth and creamy. This is a very thick mixture, so you may have to use your blender’s tamper tool.
Pour the filling over the crust and freeze (uncovered) overnight to set.
Thaw the cheesecake for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Cover and store in the freezer for up to two weeks.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, almonds. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients, accessed Jul 26, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Almonds Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/almonds.html, accessed Jul 26, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, pecans. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170182/nutrients, accessed Jul 26, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Pecans Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html, accessed Jul 26, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, coconut meat, raw. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170169/nutrients, accessed Jul 28, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Coconut Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut.html, accessed Jul 28, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Nuts, cashew nuts, raw. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170162/nutrients, accessed Jul 28, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Cashew Nut Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cashew_nut.html, accessed Jul 28, 2022.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Search Results. Dates, medjool. Published April 1, 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168191/nutrients, accessed Jul 29, 2022.
- Nutrition and You. Dates Nutrition Facts. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html, accessed Jul 29, 2022.
Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica. Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.
Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection. She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.