Once upon a time, I was a person who would buy a tub of no-bake cheesecake from the grocery store, plop it in a pie crust and go to town. Seriously — how gross is that?! Those were the days when convenience overrode pretty much any healthy choice I could have made in my life (aka college). But I’m in a much better place now, thanks to this vegan pumpkin cheesecake.
While there’s no getting around the fact that we’re talking about dessert, it’s comforting to know that there isn’t a drop of dairy in this autumnal dish. Plus, it’s free of refined sugar! If you like super sweet cheesecakes, consider adding another tablespoon of agave to the batter and adjust the flavor to your preference. Also, the graham cracker crust is key here. I mean, what good is a cheesecake if you don’t have a perfectly crunchy, cinnamon-y graham cracker crust to hold it all together?
One last note: It’s important not to dive into this beauty right after it comes out of the oven. Vegan or otherwise, cheesecake really needs to chill in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least six hours) to set. Plus, the longer this cheesecake sits, the better the flavor is. If you’re using a tart pan, like in the photos, you’ll want to double the recipe. But for a regular pie pan, this works just fine. If you like the swirl, set aside a little of the mix without pumpkin to make those. You’ll add 4-5 dollops on the top and gently run a butter knife through them until you’ve reached desired swirl.
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked (quick soak instructions below)
- 2 cups graham crackers, crumbled (Nabisco has a vegan variety)
- ¾ tsp. cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ cup vegan butter, melted
- ½ cup coconut cream (the hard stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk)
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 ½ Tbsp. agave nectar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- If you didn’t soak your cashews overnight, you can do a quick soak by adding cashews to a saucepan and covering them with water. Bring water to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain cashews and set them aside.
- Add the graham crackers, cinnamon and sea salt to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is very fine. Stream in the vegan butter and process until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch pie pan and press down very firmly until the crust covers the bottom and goes up the sides. Bake crust for 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, add the soaked cashews, coconut cream, vanilla extract, agave nectar, lemon juice and salt to a food processor and puree until silky smooth, adding a touch of coconut milk as needed to help things along. Add a tablespoon more agave if you want a sweeter result. Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Remove ¾ cup of the batter and spread it into the bottom of the crust.
- Add pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to the remaining batter and mix to combine. Carefully pour the pumpkin mixture over the batter in the crust and use a spatula to spread it evenly. Dust the top of the cheesecake with a bit more pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until the top is lightly puffed and the edges are golden.
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with foil and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
Are you in charge of dessert this Thanksgiving? Bake this plant-based cheesecake the evening before and chill in the fridge overnight. If you make it, be sure to upload a photo and tag us on Instagram @well_vegan so we can see!