Cheesecake was one of my favorite desserts when I was a child. I thought that when I stopped eating cheese I would miss cheesecake dearly. So I looked into other ways to create a creamy, texture without the use of dairy. This is when I discovered the power of cashews. Cashews are a tree nut known for preventing cardiovascular disease. They contain tryptophan and vitamin B6 which synergize to assist in serotonin uptake and therefore increase relaxation and improve brain health. However, cashew-based desserts can get expensive! Now, I half the amount of cashews needed and substitute the remaining for tofu. Not only is tofu cheaper but also an excellent source of plant-based protein.
Pumpkin adds a seasonal twist to this cheesecake with plenty of nutrients. Pumpkin is low in glycemic load which helps balance blood sugar levels. It is also high in beta-carotene which is an antioxidant that may prevent cognitive decline and some cancers.
Dairy and PCOS
The relationship between dairy and PCOS is complex and still debated by healthcare professionals. A study published in 2014 examined the dietary intakes of 400 women with PCOS in Iran. The researchers found a direct relationship between milk consumption and a diagnosis of PCOS. An Italian study from 2013 compared 100 women with PCOS to 100 controls. The results indicated women with PCOS consumed more cheese than the control group. The two groups were matched for age and BMI.
Milk protein consumption has been reported to lead to an increase in insulin-like growth factor 1 which is involved in the progression of diabetes and cancer.
Paying attention to the impact of our nutrition on our bodies and determining what works for each of us is likely the best we can do with the limited information we have. Individualized support from healthcare providers, if accessible, can be beneficial, too.
Test this recipe out on your friends and family! See if anyone notices you forgot the cheese in your “cheese”cake. I would love to see or hear about your results! Tag me on Instagram @phruitfuldish.
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 cup dates
- 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
- 1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
- 1 cup raw cashews, pre-soaked
- 300 g tofu (soft dessert tofu or regular soft tofu)
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice
- Leave cashews to soak in a bowl of water for 6-8 hours. If short for time, pour near boiling water over cashews and soak for 30 minutes.
- Line cake pan with parchment paper.
- Form the crust by pulsing dates, almonds, and 1 tbsp of pumpkin spice in a food processor. it should start to come together, eventually.
- Pack crust into base of cake pan. Pop into freezer.
- Form the filling by combining pumpkin, tofu, cashews, and 2 tsp of pumpkin spice in a high speed blender (or a food processor). Adjust flavors to your liking. If too thick, add a liquid like nut milk.
- Remove cake pan from freezer and pour/scoop the filling into the pan. Spread out evenly.
- Freeze for 3-4 hours before serving. You may want to remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to let the cake thaw a bit.
- Feel free to top with maple syrup or decorate how you please.
If you enjoyed this dessert you may like my Lemon Lavender Cashew Cakes.
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