I know you are thinking, another cheesecake recipe? This recipe was truly inevitable, I love pumpkin and I love vegan cheesecake! Every year I wait until pumpkins start popping up in stores so I can grab the biggest one to roast up at home. Unlike traditional cheesecake, this recipe showcases only the healthiest of fats from both coconut and cashews. Saturated fats found in coconuts have been found to help with weight loss and possible even help prevent Alzheimer's decease. Since coconut oil contains mainly medium chain fatty acids, it is immediately broken down for use. Coconut oil has also been found to contain antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.
Cashews are one of nature's most versatile foods, from cashew butter on your oats in the morning, to cashew cream on a sweet potato at dinner, to cashew cheesecake for dessert, there is no denying that cashews can find their way into anything. These delicious nuts are actually a seed harvested off the bottom of the cashew apple, a native to Brazil. Though cashews contain less fat than most nuts, the fats they do contain are monounsaturated which fight against heart disease. Cashews also provide the body with copper, a nutrient needed for energy production, bone development and antioxidant defense.
There will be a whole lot of pumpkin eating going on between the months of October to January. I try to keep pumpkin in the pantry at all times, since between me and my cat, who also loves pumpkin, we go through a lot of it. Pumpkin is one of the lower carb winter veggies. Whether you like it canned or fresh from the pot, pumpkin provides plenty of health benefits. In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support, pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamins C and A. Even Christopher Columbus brought it back from the Americas to share with Europe!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites with Chocolate Drizzle
For the Crust:
2/3 cup pecan meal*
2 tbs coconut oil, melted
2 - 4 tbs cold water
1 good pinch sea salt
For the Filling:
1 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for about 4 - 6 hours
1/4 - 1/3 cup raw honey
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch ginger and cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 2 oz of a good quality vegan chocolate bar
1/2 tbs coconut oil
Soak your cashews and prepare your crust by combining the pecan meal, coconut oil, cold water and salt in a small bowl. Continue to add more water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles a paste. Then, press it into a small freezer-safe glass container lined with parchment paper (mine was about 9 by 5 inches).
To prepare the filling, add your cashews, pumpkin puree, honey, water, spices, vanilla and coconut oil to a high speed blender and blend until very smooth. Now, pour the pumpkin filling into the prepared crust and smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Freeze the cheesecake in the freezer overnight for best results.
The next day, prepare to add on the chocolate drizzle. Melt the chocolate bar along with the coconut oil in a microwave safe dish for about 45 seconds. Once the chocolate has begun to melt, stir it around until it is smooth. Next, carefully drizzle on the chocolate and place the cheesecake back into the freezer. In about 10 minutes it should be ready to eat!
To serve, cut it into 1 in bite size pieces. This recipe keeps for about 7 days covered in the freezer, enjoy!
*To make your own pecan meal, place about 1 cup raw pecans in a high speed blender or food processor and pulse on high for about 30 seconds until the pecans resemble a course flour (be careful not to over process or you will make pecan butter). Keep your leftover meal in the refrigerator for use in baked goods.
Todays Question: What is your favorite seasonal fall treat?