Pumpkin No-Cheese Cake
Dairy Free | Grain Free | Gluten Free | Refined Sugar Free
This decadent paleo vegan cheesecake recipe takes the cheese out of cheesecake but leaves the creamy deliciousness of the traditional dessert. Even if you’re not paleo or vegan, you can thoroughly enjoy this dairy free dessert recipe without feeling like you’re missing anything! It’s very rich and delicious! (Did I mention it’s gluten free, grain free, and refined sugar free too??)
For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to call this “cheesecake” even though there’s decidedly no cheese. So. Like any good cheesecake, this recipe takes some time so please read through all the steps and plan to make it at least a day ahead of when you want to serve it. It’s not that it’s complicated to make vegan cheesecake, it’s just that things need to soak and freeze and stuff, so you can’t rush it.
To begin this paleo vegan cheesecake process, you’ll need to soak 2 1/2 cups of cashews in about 4 cups of boiling water for at least 30 minutes, longer is even better. If you’re really planning ahead, you can soak them overnight in tap-temperature water (use filtered water!)
While your cashews are soaking, prepare to make the crust. Preheat your oven to 325. Line a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper – a circle for the bottom and two strips for the sides. If you have and 8″ or 10″ pan, that’s ok, it will just change how tall your cheesecake is and how thick the crust is maybe, but won’t affect the taste or consistency at all. This is a no-bake vegan recipe so you don’t have to worry about affecting cook times.
Once the pan is lined you can begin making the crust. Add 1 cup of pecans and 1/2 cup of other nuts to a food processor. I like hazelnuts, I’ve also used walnuts, almonds and a combination of all three. Just aim for 1 1/2 cups of nuts of your choice. Add 2 pitted dates, 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Process until the nuts come together and form a dough. Don’t over-do it or you’ll end up with nut butter!
Add the crust to the prepared springform pan. Press with your fingers and spread it out as evenly as possible, use a flat bottomed glass to smooth it out the rest of the way.
Pop the pan in the oven and bake at 325 for 10 minutes, set aside to cool. If you want this to be a raw vegan dessert, you can skip the toasting. Personally I like the crust toasted.
After the cashews have soaked, rinse and drain them and put them in a high powered blender. I use a Blendtec, Vitamix will work too. I have used a food processor for this step and it works, but it doesn’t get it as creamy as the blender does.
Add 1/2 cup of full fat organic coconut milk and 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice to the blender and blend until super smooth.
Add the rest of the pumpkin filling ingredients and combine thoroughly. Pour over the cooled crust and put the whole thing in the freezer for at least 4-6 hours. I usually freeze it over night. The trick is to get the cheesecake out of the freezer ahead of when you want to serve it. If it has only been freezing for a few hours and you’re ready to serve, get it out and set it on the counter at room temp for at least 30 min.
If you have frozen the cheesecake overnight, get it out the morning you want to serve it and move it to the refrigerator. Then get it out and put it on the counter 30 min before serving. If you go to cut it and it seems too soft, give it 10 min in the fridge and it should firm up a bit to cut it better.
Garnish with coconut whipped cream, chopped nuts and a dusting of cinnamon and coconut sugar. I like to add just a pinch of salt to really contrast the sweetness. ENJOY!
- 1 C pecans
- 1/2 C other nuts walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or a combination
- 2 dates
- 2 T coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 C cashews
- 4 C Boiling water
- 1/2 C coconut milk
- 2 1/2 T Lemon juice
- 1 1/2 C Pumpkin puree fresh or canned
- 1/4 C coconut sugar
- 1 T pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 C maple syrup
- 1/2 C + 2 T coconut oil melted
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325
Line a 9” springform pan with parchment paper. Cut a circle for the base, and two strips lengthwise to line the sides
Set cashews to soak in 4 cups of boiling water, allow at least 30 minutes to soak, longer is fine. You can soak them overnight in the fridge if you want so they’re ready to go.
While the cashews are soaking work on the crust. Add all the crust ingredients to a food processor. Process until well combined and the crust holds together like a dough.
Press the crust into the bottom of the parchment lined springform pan with fingers, use a flat bottomed glass to further press and smooth the crust.
Bake in 325 oven for 10 minutes
Set aside to cool
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Add to a high powered blender with 1/2 cup of coconut milk and 2 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Blend until creamy smooth.
Add the rest of the pumpkin filling ingredients to the blender and blend until completely combined.
Fill the springform pan with the blender contents and freeze for 4-6 hours until set.
Remove from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. *
To serve, garnish with coconut whipped cream and crushed nuts, a dash of cinnamon and coconut sugar and a little pinch of salt.
* If you freeze it for longer than 6 hours, you will want to get it out of the freezer and move it to the refrigerator about 2 hours before serving, then set it out at room temp for about 30 min. I often freeze it over night (or longer) and then move it to the fridge the day I’m going to serve it.