I Can't Believe It's Vegan "Cheesecake"


Springtime should make you feel light, bright and healthy. In nature, spring brings new growth and beginnings. Human beings should follow this pattern and take this time to get healthy. But let's be realistic, if having dessert makes your heart sing, just accept it and make it as healthy as possible! With the heavy recipes of winter behind us, it's time to lighten things up.

Traditional cheesecake is very rich and extremely fattening. It has no redeeming quality, other than being completely delicious. This makes cheesecake a perfect candidate for a healthy recipe makeover. My "cheesecake" is VEGAN, GLUTEN FREE and taste remarkably close to the real thing. It's a wonderful make-ahead option that keeps in the refrigerator for several days. Simply top with fresh fruit or fruit sauce and serve. With the help of these adorable 4-ounce mason jars you can easily bake, store and serve with little mess. 




Vegan Mini "Cheesecake"

Makes 8 - 4 ounce servings

Crust:
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup shredded organic coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Process almonds and shredded coconut in a food processor until they become a fine meal. Add remaining ingredients until just combined, however do not over-process, you want the mixture to be crumbly. Drop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of crust mixture into each 4 ounce mason jar. Using the bottom of a small juice glass or shot glass, slightly press the crumb mixture down into the mason jar so it forms a nice even crust.

Filling:
2 - 8 ounce containers of Trader Joe's Vegan Cream Cheese (*see note for substitute)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt


In a medium bowl, blend all filling ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Spoon about 2 1 /2 tablespoons of filling into each mason jar and smooth out the top as desired. Place jars onto baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until they are set, but still jiggly in the middle. While the mini "cheesecakes" are baking, it's time to make the blueberry sauce.

Blueberry Sauce:
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons orange juice
1-2 tablespoons organic sugar (optional)
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Combine all blueberry sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring, until thick. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl to cool slightly.



Spoon slightly cooled blueberry sauce over each mini cheesecake and cover with mason jar lid. Place covered mini mason jars in refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight if possible.

Enjoy!

*Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese is the substitute for Trader Joe's Vegan Cream Cheese in this recipe.


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