My friends, I have now been vegan for almost 6 months!! I LOVE it! My weight has been decreasing, my headaches are so much less frequent and harsh, my nails are stronger, and I am just happier in general.
My husband, very unvegan, suffers slightly from my unwillingness to cook omnivorous for him. Every year for his birthday, I have a tradition of baking a cheesecake for him. (He isn't a huge dessert person, but he loves him some cheesecake!)
This past Valentine's Day, I prepared his birthday cheesecake and sneakily fed it to him under the false pretenses that it was dairy based*. It wasn't! I learned, with the help of Pinterest, that you can make a pretty convincing cheesecake by soaking raw cashews and processing them to form a creamy texture. We both loved it tremendously and he was happy to have a treat that I was able to eat with him.
Raw Cashew Cheesecake with a Baked Pecan Crust (adapted from here and here)
for the filling:
3 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked & drained)
2/3 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
2/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans, scraped
3/4 cup raw pecans
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.) Begin by soaking the nuts for at least 4 hours or until soft. After they've finished soaking, prepare the crust.
2.) Heat oven to 350°F. In food processor, pulse pecans until finely ground. Add graham cracker crumbs, sugar, extract and salt; pulse just until combined. Add 2 tablespoons water; pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined and resemble wet sand. Press into bottom of an 8 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake 20 minutes; cool completely.
3.) Begin the filling by slightly warming the coconut oil to melt it. Add the cashews, coconut oil, agave, lemon juice and vanilla into the pitcher of a blender, and blend until completely smooth.
4.) Pour the filling on top of cooled crust and freeze for 4 hours, or overnight. To serve, let the cheesecake thaw for about 30 minutes, and cut into small slivers.
5.) Optional toppings: melted dark chocolate drizzled on top and accented with pomegranate seeds, or other fruits of choice. Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
*Don't worry, after a few bites, I let him know it was made with cashews :)