Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Recipe: Raw Vegan Lemon/Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake (Easy!)

A slice of cheesecake you can truly feel good about
eating. It can be hard to dish out of pan because crust
 is a little unstable (it's raw folks) but that doesn't
take away from the taste! Serve with fresh berries!
(or in this case some persimmon on the side as well).
I've had a few requests for this recipe, and I will admit right away that it is not my creation, but rather that of my good friend Marcai, who's a self-taught health nut/aspiring chef/business owner. She is vegan, raw a lot of the time, and runs a local juicing/cleanse company called Marcai's Organic Kitchen.

We've been friends since the beginning of high school, and it's quite funny to see how we've ended up based on the things we used to do way back when. Ya, we got in a little trouble together once or twice ;) But we're both smart girls and got our ish together. For Marcai, she's not just an entrepreneur, she's a mom of two cuties and devoted wife.

Anyway, the other week she and I had a "play date" where we basically spent the afternoon in the kitchen creating delicious things. Everything on the menu was raw/vegan. I am by no means pulling a fast one on you guys and going vegan (I love my meat), but one of my goals, or dare I say New Years Resolutions, is to expand my way of eating and experience new, healthy things. Trying raw vegan food is as good as it gets when you're looking to diversify the regular food routine. So many options, ya, really.

It helps that I recently got a juicer and dehydrator when it comes to doing raw/vegan the right way. In fact, the juicer-dehydrator complement each other well -- i.e. I've been making BOMB chips in the dehydrator using juice pulp. It's a recipe from Jenny Ross and if you have these two items in your home you have to try. Seriously so good. Finally a chip that I can feel good about!

I digress. Cheesecake. Among chip-making, juicing, drying fruit, etc, Marcai showed me how to whip up a raw vegan cheesecake and it did not disappoint! You do need a Vitamix or high-powered blender for the filling (it gets thick!), and a food processor for the crust. If you have that, then you're golden.
Having fun in the kitchen!
Apparently this is the most effective way to juice
a lemon. I swear we kept this germ free! lol

You can really make any variation of cheesecake you want, but I was sold on lemon flavor with a blueberry swirl. Sorry that my pictures of the process are kinda crappy, I was too wrapped up in the creation (and licking the vitamix after we poured out the filling... omg to die for)!!! Once it's all ready, this cheesecake will keep for a while in the freezer if it's covered with foil or in an air-tight container. But good luck having this baby around longer than a week ;) And remember always sim to use organic ingredients! Goes without saying on this blog ;)

A note on the cost. This cheesecake is actually very price friendly even compared with traditional sugary cheescakes as well as the better raw.vegan varieties. Marcai calculated the cost of this and we decided it was around $20-$25, which is a lot cheaper than you can buy pre-made raw vegan cheesecakes; single slices for those things alone are like $5 a Whole Paycheck!


Raw Vegan Lemon/Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

Finished product.

Crust Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup pecans, soaked
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, soaked
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 dates, soaked and pitted
Filling Ingredients
  • 3 cups raw cashews
  • 1.5 cups coconut butter
  • Lemon juice from 2 lemons
  • ~1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt 
  • 1/2 cup raw honey or agave (I prefer raw local honey but it tend to be not as sweet)
  • 2 dates, soaked and pitted (optional)
  • splash unsweetened almond milk (optional)
Blueberry Swirl Ingredients 
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp honey (for blueberry swirl)

    Marcai, the master, at work showing me how it's done.
    That filling gets thick, so blend well!

  1. Soak all the nuts for at least a few hours before pie prep. Rinse before using.
  2. Combine pecans, walnuts, cinnamon, 2 tsp salt and dates (pitted) in food processor. Mix until a thick paste forms. Press crust into standard pie dish, evenly spread.
  3. In high-powered blender, combine raw cashews, coconut butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup honey or agave. Mix until well combined and ingredients form smooth, creamy filling (this may take a while because it's thick). If it's too thick add in a splash or two of unsweetened almond milk (but don't over do it; no baking involved so the filling should not be soupy at all). For added sweetness, add in the optional 2 dates (pitted).
  4. Spread filling into pie crust evenly.
  5. Add blueberries and honey to blender, mix well and even spread on top of cheesecake filling. Use butter knife to create swirl effect.
  6. Set in freezer covered with foil for several hours minimum and then enjoy! 

Pressing crust mixture into pie pan.

Filling the cheesecake. Everything that did not make it into this pan went into my belly immediately -- no worries
about upset tummy due to traditional baking ingredients lol.

Adding the blueberry swirl. Use a knife to create texture and lines!

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