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Chocolate Cherry Cashew Cheesecake (vegan)

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Life is a lot right now. I thought you (and I!) needed a proper treat. And this chocolate cherry cheesecake, made with creamy cashews and luscious dark chocolate is the best treat I’ve had in a while. No bake, with a simple gluten free cheesecake crust made from fruit and nuts. Who says that plants can’t be decadent?

True story: when my first kid was tiny, I was very careful about how I used the word ‘treat’. I would say something neutral like ‘here, have a few chips’ but then use the word treat to describe raspberries. I was so conscious of how we use the word treat, especially with kids, because if we elevate foods like chocolate, chips or cookies as a ‘treat’ then what the heck is broccoli? It was kind of like swimming upstream but for at least 2 1/2 years, I tried my best. Fast forward to my second and all of it went out the window including promising treats so I could just get a few minutes of quiet. Ha!

To me, child feeding fiascos aside, the treat really is in the eye of the beholder. It’s something special, maybe a bit rare, and definitely pleasurable to you. So my fave kale caesar from the Juice Truck is a treat because A) it’s so delicious and B) I didn’t have to chop it. Raspberries are a treat because I like em but they’re pricey to buy and have a short season. Cheesecake is also a treat, because I love it SO much. To me, cheesecake is greater than pie and cake and cookies put together. Unpopular opinion, I know. Please direct all hate mail to the department of ‘people who are wrong about food’ Ha! Kidding, of course. (Except about my love of cheesecake.)

The other thing to love about cheesecake? That vegan cashew cheesecakes are every bit as delicious as the original and SUPER easy to make. Even if you aren’t much of a cook, you can make a cashew cheesecake because all you have to do is dump the ingredients in and let the machines do the work for you in a few minutes flat.

What you’ll need to make this chocolate cherry cheesecake

Cashew cheesecakes consist of a base of soaked cashews and then pretty much any flavour ingredients you want to add. For this one, I’ve added melted chocolate for a deeper, richer chocolate flavour and blended and whole cherries for a chocolate covered cherry vibe. The lemon juice helps give it that fresh cheesecake vibe and keeps the flavour nice and balanced. Don’t skip it!

Cashews are lower in fibre and higher in fat than some other nuts, meaning that they blend up silky smooth in a high speed blender. If you’ve got a strong blender, you don’t even really need to soak em. This decadent chocolate cherry cheesecake comes together in about 15 minutes, minus the freezing and just 11 ingredients, including the salt!

Here’s your shopping list:

  • Pecans
  • Dried Cherries
  • Cashews
  • Fresh or Frozen Cherries
  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut oil
  • Lemons
  • Vanilla
  • Salt

I hope you love this chocolate cherry cashew cheesecake as much as I do. Oh, and I almost forgot…because it’s frozen, you can literally have a treat in the freezer WHENEVER the craving strikes. So if you think making a whole cheesecake isn’t reasonable for a kitchen of 1, think again! You could also make it in muffin liners for single serving mini cheesecakes, easy peasy.

Try these delicious and healthy vegan desserts

Chocolate Cherry Cashew Cheesecake (Vegan)

This decadent vegan cheesecake tastes like a chocolate covered cherry and is made from whole food ingredients like cashews, cherries and pecans. Just 11 ingredients, no bake and less than 20 minutes of prep!

Prep Time15 mins

Freezing time4 hrs

Total Time4 hrs 15 mins

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Keyword: Cashew, Cheesecake, cherry, chocolate

Dietary Preference: dairy free, Gluten-Free, vegan, vegetarian

Servings: 12 servings

Author: Desiree Nielsen, RD

Ingredients

Cheesecake Crust

  • 1 ¼ cup pecan pieces chopped walnuts work too
  • 1 cup dried cherries sweet cherries or sweetened tart cherries
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
  • pinch salt

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

  • 3 cups fresh or thawed frozen cherries divided
  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews soaked for 4-8 hours if you don’t have a high speed blender
  • ½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips 60% cocoa or higher!
  • 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil

See Instructions for Optional Topping Ideas

Instructions

Cheesecake Crust

  • Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit an 8 inch round springform pan. You can also use a pie plate if you don’t have a springform, it will simply be a bit trickier to remove.

  • Prepare the crust: In a food processor or high speed blender, process cherries, pecan pieces, cocoa and salt until finely chopped and starting to come together. The mixture should stick together when you squeeze it. Press it firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan. Cut 1 cup of the frozen cherries into halves, and scatter them over the crust. Set aside.

Chocolate Cherry Cashew Cheesecake

  • In a high speed blender, blend cashews, remaining 2 cups cherries, coconut milk, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and blend until silky smooth, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

  • Bring a small pot filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat. Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small heat proof glass or metal bowl that fits over the pot. When simmering, turn heat down to medium low and carefully place bowl over the pot. Stir chocolate chips continuously until melted, about a minute or two. Carefully pour melted chocolate into blender along with filling mixture and blend. 

  • Pour the chocolate filling over the crust. Smooth top and freeze for at least four hours.

Topping Ideas, Optional

  • Cheesecake is delicious as is, but if you are looking for something a bit extra, try these variations:Vanilla Bourbon Cherries: Toss 2 cups of fresh or thawed frozen cherries with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons bourbon. Let sit for ten minutes before topping cheesecake.Dark Chocolate Top: Heat 1 cup dark chocolate chips with coconut oil, as you did while preparing the cheesecake, with a little pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. When melted, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes then pour over frozen cheesecake, spreading it evenly and allowing it to drip over sides. Freeze for five minutes to set the chocolate before serving.

Notes

Cheesecake will cut well from frozen with a sharp knife; however, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving for best flavour.
Will keep, frozen and tightly wrapped, for a month.

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