Pumpkin Spice Vegan Cheesecake

An easy fall-inspired cheesecake from just 6 ingredients (and without the cheese).

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.

Pumpkin Spice Vegan cheesecake

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.

Pumpkin Spice Vegan cheesecake

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.

Ingredients:

Crust:
    • 1/2 cup almonds
    • 1 cup dates
    • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
 Filling:
    • 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

instructions:

  1. 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.
  2. Line cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. Form the crust by pulsing dates, almonds, and 1 tbsp of pumpkin spice in a food processor. it should start to come together, eventually.
  4. Pack crust into base of cake pan. Pop into freezer.
  5. 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.
  6. Remove cake pan from freezer and pour/scoop the filling into the pan. Spread out evenly.
  7. 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.
  8. 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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Pumpkin Spice Vegan cheesecake

Strawberry Coconut Tofu Ice Cream Cake

A creamy, dairy-free ice cream cake with a secret ingredient: tofu!

A creamy plant-based, dairy-free tofu ice cream cake made from only 6 ingredients!

Strawberry Coconut Tofu Ice cream Cake

I know, I know, the words ‘tofu’ and ‘cake’ aren’t usually used together BUT don’t knock it ’til you try it! I have been experimenting with tofu in various recipes and its versatility as a sustainable, affordable plant protein is unmatched. It’s clear our environment needs a shift towards plant proteins, and the health benefits of soy continue to be shown in research. Not only does soy contain all 9 essential amino acids but it is also a good source of B vitamins, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Contrary to popular opinion, studies indicate that soy may be protective against heart disease, memory and cognitive declines, prostate and breast cancers. Soy contains phytoestrogens that have been shown to improve the metabolic and hormonal profiles of women with PCOS, the most common reproductive condition. 

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m all about food with a purpose, so here’s a delicious twist on an old favorite of mine, a gloriously soft and creamy ice cream cake (but without the dairy and sugar!). 

Strawberry Coconut Tofu Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • 1 package or 300 g soft tofu (optional: use Coconut Tofu Dessert for a sweetened version)
  • 20 small dates, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Kitchen Appliances:

  • springform pan
  • food processor or high-speed blender

Strawberry Coconut Tofu Ice Cream Cake

Instructions:

  1. For the crust, combine dates, almonds and coconut in a food processor on high-speed blender until all ingredients come together. You should be able to mold it into the base of your round pan. (I greased my pan with coconut oil, or use parchment paper if you are avoiding oil).
  2. Place pan in freezer for base layer to firm up.
  3. To begin the pink layer, blend strawberries, cashews and tofu in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth.
  4. Pour pink layer over base layer.
  5. Put cake pan in the freezer for 4 hours.
  6. Remove cake from freezer 30 minutes before serving to soften.

Check out another dairy-free cheesecake recipe I’ve made here.

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Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream Tofu Cake

Trail Mix Superfood Granola Bars (Gluten-Free)

Pack these superfood granola bars on your outdoor adventures whether you’re road tripping, hiking, or having a picnic with friends.

The season of outdoor adventures and fun in the sun is upon us! I wanted to make a nutrient-dense energy bar that’s easy to pack on hikes, road trips or picnics. If you’ve ever read the ingredients on store-bought granola or protein bars, you’ve probably noticed a list as long as your arm of words that are difficult to pronounce. Huge red flag for me! These granola bars contain only plant-based, wholesome ingredients in their purest form. Also, in the interest of convenience, they don’t require baking (asides from the quinoa which I lightly toasted for ten minutes). 

Trail Mix Granola Bars

Superfoods:

Maca
  • may reduce anxiety and depression
  • reportedly improves sexual function and increases libido
  • may enhance memory and learning
Cinnamon
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-fungal, anti-bacterial
  • regulates blood sugar levels
  • can improve cholesterol levels
Flax Seeds
  • source of lignans which can fight estrogen-related cancers
  • high in heart-healthy omega 3s
Hemp seeds
  • high in fiber
  • high in protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids)
  • source of magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium
Quinoa
  • gluten-free grain
  • high in fiber
  • high in protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids)
  • source of magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, & vitamin E

Trail Mix Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup oats, ground
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds, ground
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried dates, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Finlandia Health maca
  • 1 tsp Finlandia Health cinnamon
  • 1 cup nut butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Lightly toast quinoa in the oven at 350deg C for 10 minutes until golden (careful not to burn).
  2. Once quinoa is toasted, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well (or use a food processor if you prefer).
  3. Pack bar batter down into a parchment lined baking dish. Tip: I used the flat surface of a measuring cup (1 cup) to flatten the bars well.
  4. Melt chocolate on low heat on the stove top.
  5. Drizzle chocolate over bars and freeze until firm.
  6. Cut into squares and serve.
  7. Store in fridge.

Trail Mix Granola Bars

Thanks to Finlandia Pharmacy & Natural Health for sponsoring this post. Check out their website and extensive herbal dispensary at their storefront in Vancouver, BC.

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Trail Mix Superfood Granola Bars