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.

PIN FOR LATER:

Pumpkin Spice Vegan cheesecake

Cinnamon Turmeric Pumpkin Seeds (Anti-Inflammatory)

A fun and nutritious snack idea.

One of my favourite fall activities is carving pumpkins and then roasting the pumpkin seeds. I think you may fall in love with this recipe (pun totally intended). These make a great snack on their own, or to sprinkle on overnight oats or granola. Not only are pumpkin seeds packed with magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, and zinc, but they also have amazing health benefits specifically beneficial for women with PCOS (read more below in ‘PCOS Powers’). What are you waiting for? Get carving, cooking and snacking!


Turmeric Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds (2 large pumpkins made this amount)
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp pumpkin spice (2 parts cinnamon to 1 part each all spice, nutmeg, ginger)
  • pinch of salt

How to:

  1. Scoop out pumpkin seeds along with the inside of the pumpkin.
  2. Separate pumpkin seeds from pumpkin goop (technical word, I know) and rinse clean.
  3. Spread seeds out on baking pans, pat dry with paper towel, and leave out overnight to dry.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 deg. F (very low).
  5. Mix spices and oil together in a small bowl.
  6. Pour over seeds in a large bowl and mix to coat seeds.
  7. Spread out seeds in one layer on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  8. Cook at 200 deg. F for about 45 min.

PCOS Powers:

  • pumpkin seeds = contain tryptophan which is a precursor for serotonin (induces relaxation and improves brain health), contain phytoestrogens which increase HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, contain beta-sitosterol which inhibits conversion of testosterone to DHT
  • cinnamon = may help balance glucose levels, lower cholesterol, and decrease triglycerides in blood
  • turmeric = anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood glucose levels
  • ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose and HbA1c

Banana Oat Pumpkin Pancakes

Vegan, gluten-free pancakes with flavors of fall.

I wasn’t a huge pancake eater growing up. This is likely because pancakes are not something that typically comes to mind when we think of healthy breakfast options (and I have been a health fanatic for a LONG time). However, recently I discovered how to make nutrient-rich, gluten-free plant-cakes which can easily be eaten everyday. The first 3 ingredients listed (oats, banana, almond milk) are a great base to then flavour with seasonal fruit or vegetables (pumpkin, for example). Pumpkin has several evidence-based health benefits including: improved heart health, better eye health, and lower blood pressure.

You may find these much denser than typical pancakes (great for sharing with a friend or saving them for yourself). Also, I like making mini pancakes which results in more pancakes (for stacking fun). Enjoy!

banana vanilla protein pancakes phruitful dish

Pancakes:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice (2 parts cinnamon to 1 part each all spice, nutmeg, ginger)

Sauces:

Berry Sauce (heat on stove to make a thick syrup):
  • 3 frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
Almond Date Sauce (use blender):
  • 3 dates
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • almond milk to thin

banana vanilla protein pancakes phruitful dish

How to:

  1. Blend pancake ingredients in a blender until it becomes a smooth enough consistency for pouring.
  2. Use a measuring cup (1/4 or 1/3 cup) to transfer and pour batter for each pancake on to a hot frying pan (with stove on medium heat).
  3. Cook pancakes until bubbles start to form, then flip them.
  4. Stack pancakes on a plate.
  5. Put sauce ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Pour over stack and top with fruit and/or nuts.

banana oat pumpkin pancakes phruitful dish

PCOS Powers:

  • cinnamon = may help balance glucose levels, lower cholesterol, and decrease triglycerides in blood
  • almond milk = high in vitamin D and calcium (many women with PCOS are vitamin-D deficient)
  • oats = low glycemic load, high in fiber, maintains blood sugar levels, and contains tryptophan which boosts serotonin levels for better sleep and a stable mood