We’ve got some big news. The first Well Vegan cookbook has its official release date! Frugal Vegan is coming out on June 20th and boasts 99 brand new, never-before-seen budget-friendly vegan recipes. There are breakfasts; there are bowls; there are pastas, salads, soups, and sides. Katie and I are thrilled to share this project we’ve been working so hard on the past year, and to show how affordable eating a plant-based diet can be. Stay tuned for pre-order details!
The reason I bring up the cookbook in this post is because I wrote a cheesecake recipe that got thrown out in the final selection process. Cashews aren’t exactly budget-friendly, and the silken tofu I tested with just wasn’t up to snuff. I stashed that recipe away in my brain files because I knew it’d make a great blog post. The mango is a new addition, inspired by the colors of blossoming spring flowers. I am consistently amazed by nature and its ability to produce such gorgeous fruits and vegetables. The brilliant, yellowish orange of the mango in this cheesecake is no exception.
Sweet, tangy, tart, and creamy, these vegan mango cheesecake bars serve as a delicious reminder that spring is here and summer is on its way. They’d make a gorgeous Easter dessert, especially when topped with vibrant edible flowers in a bright blue or purple hue. You can find them at your local farmers’ market or online. Gourmet Sweet Botanicals and Melissa’s will ship them overnight so they arrive fresh.
I recommend using an 8”x 8” baking pan for ease of assembling the cheesecake and keeping it together. If you don’t have one, you can use a deep-sided baking sheet and just spread the crust halfway across. It’s not as easy, but it certainly does the trick.
- 1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
- ⅛ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1½ cups raw cashews, soaked at least 6 hours
- ½ cup coconut cream (the solid stuff from a can of coconut milk or try SO Delicious Culinary Coconut milk)
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. agave nectar or maple syrup
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh mango, diced (thaw if using frozen mango)
- 2 tsp. arrowroot powder
- 1 Tbsp. cool water
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line an 8”x8” square pan with a piece of parchment paper. Cut the parchment paper a few inches larger than the pan so it goes up the sides. If you don’t have an 8”x8” pan, you can use a deep baking sheet with sides at least 1 inch high.
- Combine the graham cracker and sea salt in a food processor. Process until the consistency is very fine. Continue to process as you slowly drizzle the melted coconut oil through the top.
- Transfer the graham cracker mixture to the prepared pan and use your fingers to press down firmly and evenly. If you’re using a baking sheet, stop about halfway across so your crust isn’t too thin. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the top of the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling.
- Wipe out the bowl of your food processor. Then add the cashews, coconut cream, vanilla extract, agave nectar or maple syrup, and lemon juice and process until silky smooth. Add a touch more lemon juice or a pinch of salt to brighten the flavor, if needed. If you like a sweeter cheesecake, add a bit more agave or maple syrup.
- Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the graham cracker crust and use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly. Put the cheesecake in the freezer to set while you prepare the mango topping.
- Wipe out your food processor once again. Add the mango and puree until very smooth. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, dissolve the arrowroot powder in 1 tablespoon of water. Once the mango is completely puréed, add it to the bowl. Whisk the mango and dissolved arrowroot powder together until the mixture thickens slightly.
- Remove the chilled cheesecake from the freezer. Pour the pureed mango on top and use a rubber spatula to spread it smoothly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
- Once the cheesecake is frozen, you should be able to lift it out of the pan by grabbing the sides of the parchment paper. Carefully transfer the cheesecake to a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, slice the cheesecake lengthwise into 2-inch bars (you should have 4 total). Then, cut those slices into thirds to create 12 evenly sized bars.
- Allow the mango cheesecake bars to thaw at room temperature before serving, 30 – 40 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is. If you don’t plan to serve them right away, these bars also keep in the freezer for to 1–2 weeks in an air-tight container.