“Vegan cheesecake” might sound like an oxymoron, but you’ll be surprised at how much this delicious dish tastes like a classic New York cheesecake. The key is the coconut milk, which adds a touch of sweetness and acts as the perfect dairy substitute. I know that some folks prefer their cheesecake plain, while others have to top it off with fresh fruit or compote. I happen to be in the latter camp: I just love the way that the tartness of a good strawberry compote cuts into the richness of the vegan cream cheese. Plus, the fruit topping lets me pretend that it’s healthfood ; ).
- Food processor
- Springform pan (8 or 9 inches)
- Mixing bowl
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs ensure they are vegan
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup melted vegan butter or coconut oil
For the filling:
- 2 cups vegan cream cheese store-bought or homemade
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1 cup canned coconut milk full-fat
- A pinch of salt
For the Crust:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they turn into fine crumbs.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted vegan butter or coconut oil. Mix until everything is well combined and has a sand-like texture.
- Press this mixture into the bottom of your springform pan. Make sure it's packed down firmly and evenly.
- Bake the crust in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until it's slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool while you prepare the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).
For the Filling:
- In a food processor, combine the vegan cream cheese, granulated sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, canned coconut milk, and a pinch of salt. Blend until you have a smooth and creamy mixture.
- Pour the filling over the cooled crust in the springform pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake the cheesecake in the 325°F (160°C) oven for 45-50 minutes. It should be set around the edges but may still be slightly jiggly in the center.
- Once done, turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside for about 30 minutes to cool gradually.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to come to room temperature. Then, refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best for the flavors to meld and for a firmer texture.
- Before serving, you can top your cheesecake with fresh fruit, a fruit compote, or a drizzle of melted dairy-free chocolate if desired.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS: Calories: 350 | Total Fat: 22g | Total Carbohydrates: 30g | Dietary Fiber: 3g | Protein: 6g