Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching! With that said, I have been rummaging to find healthy treats to make for my loved ones. So, I decided to recruit one of my good friends, Melissa, to give me some guidance. Her culinary concoctions never disappoint. And the best part? Everything she makes is 100% vegan! Check out this amazing recipe and follow her on Instagram for more delicious vegan meals and treats: @myveganplate
Need: Cheesecake Mold of Choice, Oil Spray if not Using Silicon Mold
For the Crust:
- 1 c Pitted Dates
- ½ c Raw Walnuts
- ½ c Raw Pecans
- Dash of Salt
For the Chocolate Cheesecake:
- 3 Tbsp Cacao Powder
- ¼ c Brown Rice Syrup (Be sure it says gluten-free)
- ¾ c Coconut Cream (I used a can)
- 1 c Raw Cashews soaked over night (Or boiled for approx. 20 mins if you forget)
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1. Make the crust. Add pitted dates to blender and blend to small pieces. Add the walnuts, pecans and salt and blend until mixed, scraping the sides down if necessary. Should stick together when pressed. Set Aside.
2. Make the cheesecake. Add cashews, coconut cream, brown rice syrup, cacao powder and coconut oil and blend until smooth. (I used the Ninja Single Serve Cup)
3. Assemble! I used silicon ice cube trays (no oil spray needed) and they popped out easily, but there’s many options. You can use mini or regular size cupcake pans, just spray with oil first (I’ve used Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray, note this is not soy free.) Get creative with the size and shape!
4. Press the crust in to your mold of choice to completely cover the bottom to desired thickness. Then pour the chocolate cream over the top.
5. Put in the freezer and let set for at least 2 hours. Can be eaten straight out of the freezer, which is delicious,. Or Take out of freezer and mold of choice (be sure to do this right from the freezer before they soften!) and wait approximately 10-15 minutes before eating.
*If there’s any chocolate cream left, stick it in the fridge – makes a great chocolate whipped cream type substitute which I put on ice cream. YUM!
The scoop on sweetener choices: “While a sweetener is still a sweetener and should be consumed in moderation, I chose brown rice syrup for a few reasons. We all know refined white sugar is not good for you, not vegan, and will most likely give you a sugar crash. There are a plethora of sugar alternatives these days, such as: agave, stevia, monk fruit, maple syrup, coconut sugar, date sugar (which I hear is the healthiest, but have yet to incorporate into my routine), etc. While these are all better options than refined white sugar, I usually choose brown rice because it contains no fructose and is a polysaccharide –which is less likely to be stored as fat and digests slower so it should satisfy your sweet tooth longer and not give you that sugar crash! However, there is much controversy surrounding sweeteners and these are just my thoughts, so feel free to use another liquid sweetener if you have a favorite!”
Melissa’s vegan journey: “I’ve been vegan for 9.5 years and have been an avid baker for most of them. However, over the past 1-2 years I started to venture away from baking and began to focus more on savory foods and complete meals. It has been a fun adventure that has taught me so much and opened my eyes to more foods, techniques, and the appreciation of creating a delicious and aesthetically pleasing meal. When Whitney asked me to make a Valentine’s themed dessert for this post, I was slightly nervous; I hadn’t done desserts in so long! But I’m so glad we went that route, because it was so much fun getting back to my sweet roots. I knew I wanted to do something fairly easy, healthier than your average dessert, and something non- vegans would also enjoy. And even your gluten and soy free friends!”
Some of the benefits of the ingredients in this dessert:
- Raw Cashews – High percentage of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, good source of antioxidants, copper and magnesium which is necessary for bone and nerve health.
- Raw Walnuts – High amount of protein that contains many amino acids, high level of antioxidants, contains L-Arginine which has numerous vascular benefits.
- Raw Pecans – Excellent source of manganese and protein, can lower bad cholesterol and contains Ellagic acid which has anti-cancer properties.
- Cacao – A delicious chocolatey superfood without any of the sugar! Contains phenethylamine which acts as a natural anti depressant, high amount of flavonoid antioxidants and high percentages of fiber, iron and protein.”
– Naturally inspired. Locally aware. Universally beautiful. With love, Whitney.