As you are reading this post Paul and I are well into our Arizona trip. I bet we are enjoying the sunny warm weather, maybe the Grand Canyon, and maybe a margarita or two…or three. With all of that exciting stuff I am still looking forward to returning home to the last few of these Mini Vegan Lemon Strawberry Cheesecakes that I left in my freezer! Because they are sooo good!These cute little Mini Vegan Lemon Strawberry Cheesecakes were inspired by my Grain Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins I made a few weeks ago – remember that super creamy lemon glaze? Yeah it was that amazing stuff that made me crave some more creamy lemon-y goodness, in the form of CHEESECAKE! This time with some strawberry swirl on top! I mean what doesn’t sound great about that? I also had these cheesecakes in mind for Mother’s Day (May 14th, my Friends) and guess what, my mom totally approves. She happened to be part of the taste testing crew – they are also dad approved and husband approved! Mini Vegan Lemon Strawberry Cheesecakes – you are well loved!
Guys these Mini Vegan Lemon Strawberry Cheesecakes have a creamy, tangy, lemon-y filling that has a strawberry swirl on top and all of that yumminess is inside of a date pecan crust that is just the perfect amount of sweetness and hearty texture. What more do you need in life, seriously?! And yes, these cheesecakes are vegan, gluten free, no bake and trust me you won’t mind all of those things one bit! BTW that swirl topping, I chose strawberry because strawberry and lemon duh! But you could use whatever kind of fruit you like. I know that blueberry or raspberry would be amazing, or how about a mango swirl – YUM!? Get creative!
Let’s discuss the ingredients of these Mini Vegan Lemon Strawberry Cheesecakes for a minute, shall we? The crust is a simple pecan/oat/date crust that requires a quick whirl in the food processor until everything sticks together and then you press all that tasty crust into your mini pans – easy and a healthy option – hello fiber, protein, healthy fats, and refined sugar free! The filling, which just may be the most important part of a good cheesecake is, yes you guessed it raw soaked cashews! Is there anything a raw cashew can’t do?! Okay to be honest with you, the texture is different than your traditional baked cheesecake, less fluffy but it doesn’t lack any of the creaminess. The taste is kind of lacking that cream cheese tang that only cream cheese offers BUT in my opinion I don’t miss it very much. All the flavors of the tart lemon and the strawberry swirl make up for everything. Overall these cheesecakes leave me feeling lighter and not like I have a food baby growing in my stomach like a traditional cheesecake. I am always willing to make a trade of something that tastes pretty much just as good as the original dessert yet makes me feel a whole lot better. Plus we are using all plant based ingredients, pure and wholesome – frankly I think we all need more plants in our diets. Like I said before we are getting healthy fats from the cashews, coconut oil, and pecans, along with fiber and protein which helps to maintain blood sugar levels and keeps us full longer. If you’re open to a slightly new dessert experience you just might be surprised. Friends, I call that a dessert success – you really can have your cake and eat it too – cheesecake that is!
How fun is it that these Mini Vegan Lemon Strawberry Cheesecakes are well, mini?! They’re cute and perfect for any get together or party. I have visions of these guys being served at Mother’s day brunch/lunch/dinner and baby showers, bridal showers, or pretty much any summer party – refreshing flavors and NO BAKE so no need to heat up your kitchen. You can easily double or even triple the recipe if you’re serving a large crowd. I used mini tart pans with removable bottoms but you can easily use the cavity of mini or standard size muffin tins or ramekins (directions in the notes of the recipe). The other great part about these babies (<– ha get it? Baby size!) being mini is that you can store them in your freezer and pop one out whenever you have a craving. Win win win!
I hope you love these Mini Vegan Lemon Cheesecakes as much as we do! Looking for more vegan and gluten free desserts? Try my Almond Joy Black Bean Brownies, Chocolate Coconut Cream Cups, Chocolate Coffee Avocado Pudding, Gluten Free Key Lime Pie, and my No Bake Hazelnut Brownies. All good options for Mother’s Day or any spring/summer events coming up. Enjoy! 🙂
- 8 pitted medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
- 1 cup raw pecans (can also sub walnuts or almonds)
- ¼ cup gluten free oats
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 6 to 8 hours(or 1 hour in very hot water)
- ¼ cup agave nectar (or honey/maple syrup)
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1½ to 2 lemons)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Strawberry Swirl topping (optional)
- 1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed (can sub any fruit you prefer, raspberries or blueberries would also be delicious)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar (depending on how sweet the fruit is)
- Fresh Strawberries and lemon slices for garnish (optional)
- Prepare your pan(s): I used 4 mini tart pans with a removable bottom, because of the removable bottom I didn't have to prep them. You could also use round ramekins or the cavities of mini or regular muffin tins. If you use the later options you will need to line the bottom with parchment paper and or cut out strips of parchment paper to create "tabs" to help you pull the cheesecakes out.
- Make the crust: To a food processor add the pecans, oats, cinnamon, and salt, pulse until a medium crumb forms. Remove into a dish, set aside. To the same food processor add the drained dates, pulse until small bits remain. Add the nuts and oat mixture back into the food processor with the dates, pulse until a everything is well combined. The crust should stick together when you pinch it between your fingers. Press the crust into your pan so that a little of it comes up the sides. Press until everything is well compact, set aside.
- Make the filling: Drain the cashews, add them to the blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until everything is smooth, about 2 minutes, or longer depending on your blender. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed.
- Fill the cheesecakes Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling among each prepared pan that is already containing crust. Spread the cheesecake into an even surface.
- Make the strawberry swirl: Wash out your blender, no need to dry the inside and add the defrosted strawberries and any strawberry liquid to the blender. Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until it's smooth. Taste and add desired amount of agave nectar.
- Decorate: Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the strawberry puree onto the center of each cheesecake. Use a toothpick to make a swirl pattern.
- Freeze: Freeze the cheesecakes for 4 to 6 hours, or until set.
- Serve:Allow them to thaw at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes so they soften up before eating. You can garnish the cheesecakes with fresh cut strawberries and lemon slices, if desired. Store the cheesecakes in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutrition facts are calculated for 8 servings, without the strawberry topping since that’s optional. Even though my tart pans made 4 cheesecakes I often found that I did not finish the cheesecake in one sitting. Also, if you use ramekins or muffin tin cavities it will make 8 or more depending on the size of pan you are using.