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Completely dairy-free, this Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake is a showstopping dessert. With a cookie crumb crust, a creamy cashew pumpkin cheesecake layer, and finally a good dollop of coconut whipped cream, this raw treat is worth putting on your must-bake-list.
No-Bake Dairy-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
I’m not sure you’d believe me if I tell you this, but this impressive-looking vegan cheesecake is so simple to make! The cheesecake filling is made with blended cashews, which lends to a super silky and creamy feel without any dairy at all, and of course all that pumpkin spice flavor! The crust is made from crushed cookies. We prefer this cheesecake paired with chocolate, so that is what we used, but really it can work with any crunchy cookie you have on hand, including graham crackers.
You might be wondering…does this taste like “real” cheesecake? We’d be lying if we said this is exactly like a baked cheesecake made with cream cheese. This vegan and raw cheesecake is a healthier take on the traditional, with a slightly different texture, depending on if you store it in the refrigerator or the freezer.
In the refrigerator, this raw cheesecake has more of a mousse-like texture. When frozen, it has a firmer texture that is closer to cheesecake, but then of course it is much colder. It’s really a matter of personal preference. But just because this isn’t an exact version of cheesecake made dairy-free, doesn’t mean it’s not super delicious! We really love this healthier take on the classic dessert.
Ingredients and Tools Needed
Here is a quick overview of the ingredients in this recipe. Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe.
- Pumpkin Puree
- Raw Unsalted Cashews
- Coconut Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Cream
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Juice
- Sea Salt
- Pumpkin Pie Spice + Cinnamon
- Cookie Crumbs (we tried this with gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies)
This recipe doesn’t require too many tools, but there are a few that you’ll find helpful in making this no-bake vegan cheesecake.
- High-speed blender
- 9″ springform pan
- Off-set spatula and rubber spatula
How to Make a Raw and Vegan Cheesecake
So there are three main steps to making this recipe:
- Mixing together the cookie crumb base
- Soaking the cashews and blending together the cheesecake filling
- Making the coconut whipped cream
Truly there is nothing here to do that is tricky or time-consuming, except the soaking of the cashews! And even that, we give you some tips for fast-tracking that step if you didn’t plan ahead in making this recipe!
The cookie crumb base requires you to crush up some cookies. We are using gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies here, but if you wanted to use graham crackers, check out this S’mores Pie recipe which uses a graham cracker crumb crust. You can also use another crunchy cookie that you have at home too. Pulverize the cookies either in a high-speed blender, a food processor, or by hand with a bag and a rolling pin. After you’ve crushed up the cookies, mix it with a touch of sugar and coconut oil until the mixture is moist.
Depending on the type of chocolate cookies you use, you may have to play around with the recipe. We found that gluten-free cookies tend to need much less coconut oil than traditional cookies. If it’s too moist, add in more crumbs. If it’s too dry, add in a teaspoon more of melted coconut oil at a time until it’s the right consistency to easily pat into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″springform pan.
Next, you need to blend up all of the cheesecake filling ingredients until silky smooth. I’ve tried doing this in both a blender and a food processor. I did not have great results with a food processor, so I recommend using a blender for this. The blender gets it nice and creamy. After you pour the cheesecake into the pan, smooth over the top. Then, the cheesecake needs to chill for at least 4 hours. You can fast-track this by setting it in the freezer, but it will still take 1-2 hours to set.
And finally, it’s time to whip up the coconut cream! We have a whole post dedicated to making Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream, so check that out for more tips.
Tips for Success with this Recipe
- If you don’t have time to soak cashews overnight, you can quickly “soak” them. To do so:
- Place cashews in a small pot and add enough water to cover by 2″.
- Bring cashews to a boil, and let cook for 5 minutes, making sure the water does not evaporate.
- Drain, rinse and let cool for a few minutes before use.
- Make sure you the cashew mixture is smooth! The recipe calls for a high-powered blender, but I’ve successfully made it with just a standard blender. This is the most important step in the cheesecake: to blend, blend, blend until you have a creamy and smooth cashew mixture!
- Instead of making these into a full cheesecake, you can make them into individual cheesecakes by using a muffin tin lined with silicone or parchment paper liners.
How to Serve and Store Vegan Cheesecake
This cheesecake gets soft when left at room temperature for too long. It is meant to be served chilled. It can be stored covered, in either the refrigerator (for up to 3 days) or the freezer for up to 1 month. To serve the cheesecake from the freezer, let it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes until soft enough to cut.
Watch the video here:
If you like this no-bake dessert recipe, check out these others:
- Chia Honey Lime Fruit Salad
- Chocolate Dessert Cups
- Healthy Nice Cream
- 2-Ingredient Strawberry Fruit Leather
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 10 ounces gluten-free cookie crumbs see note
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- For Vegan Cheesecake Filling
- 3 cups raw unsalted cashews soaked in water overnight (see note)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup coconut cream
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Coconut Whipped Cream for garnish (see note)
- Add cookie crumbs, coconut oil and sugar to a medium bowl and mix together. Depending on the type of cookies you use, you may have to play around with the recipe. If it's too moist, add in more crumbs. If it's too dry, add in a teaspoon more of melted coconut oil at a time until it's the right consistency to easily pat into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" springform pan.
- Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Add the cashews to the basin of a high speed blender, along with pumpkin puree, coconut cream, coconut sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, lemon juice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Blend until completely smooth, about 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Pour the filling on top of the crust and smooth it down. Transfer to the refrigerator for 4 hours, or the freezer for 2, to set.
- When ready to serve, make coconut whipped cream, using these instructions. Serve cheesecake with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.