A low-glycemic, raw, vegan dessert just in time for summer solstice.
In anticipation for summer solstice I made these summery vegan cheesecakes which are low-glycemic, raw, vegan and gluten-free. Both lemons and lavender scream summer to me. Lemons are known for boosting our immune systems and improving digestion. They may also improve insulin and liver function. Lavender is commonly used in aromatherapy for its relaxation properties, however, the scientific evidence is limited. This herb can also be eaten and is a small source of calcium and iron.
Maple syrup and dates are two of my favourite natural sweeteners when trying to make healthier desserts. They are both low on the glycemic index which means they help manage blood sugar levels better than other sweeteners (ex. sugar, honey). This is especially important for women with PCOS who are predisposed to developing metabolic syndrome.
Ingredients (makes 12):
1 cup nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, almonds and cashews)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup dates
2 cups cashews, pre-soaked in water for 4 hrs
1/2 cup lemon juice (I used 3 small organic lemons)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tspns dried culinary lavender
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
Use parchment paper to oil muffin pan with coconut oil (prevents sticking).
Place long strips of parchment paper in each muffin mold for easier removal (I saw the Minimalist Baker do this and I think it is genius).
Process dates, nuts and chia seeds together in a food processor until you get a rough, sticky mixture.
Transfer spoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin pan and push down firmly and evenly. Set in freezer.
Blend all filling ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to add liquid to help out (ex. almond milk).
Take muffin pan out of freezer and scoop filling on top of each crust, smoothing out to pop air bubbles. I used a 1/4 measuring cup to distribute the filling to each mold and then went back over with a spoon to even them out.
Decorate if desired (I decorated half with lavender before freezing and the other half with lemons after freezing).
Set in the freezer for at least 5 hours.
Gently pull each cake out holding the wax paper. The wax paper will make indents which I smoothed out easily.
Serve or store in freezer or fridge.
low-glycemic = helps maintain blood sugar levels
lemon juice = contains vitamin C which boosts immune system, helps improve digestion, may improve insulin function, boosts liver function
tree nuts = no cholesterol, high in unsaturated fats which help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, help prevent cardiovascular disease
chia seeds = high in omega-3s which can help decrease high testosterone and improve egg quality
coconut oil = anti-inflammatory, may positively impact thyroid function, may improve cholesterol profiles by increasing HDL cholesterol, its use is controversial in the scientific community due to high saturated fat content so I use in moderation
Happy Solstice! I would love to see how you recreate this vegan cheesecake! Please share your photos with me on Instagram: @phruitfuldish
Call me a rebel but I like eating salad for breakfast. Spinach is the featured ingredient in this smoothie bowl because it is a champion at providing many vitamins and minerals including the following inflammation-fighters: vitamins K, A, C and B6. It’s also an excellent source of folate, magnesium, and calcium. I included vitamin C-rich strawberries to help with iron absorption (if you are trying to boost your iron intake, greens like kale and swiss chard may be more beneficial than spinach). Most uniquely, spinach contains various plant compounds including kaempferol, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, and nitrates, which have been shown to decrease blood pressure.
Avocado is the other green superfood featured in this breakfast bowl. A meta-analysis published earlier this year concluded that including avocado in our diets can assist in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, its omega-3 content can help lower inflammation.
P.S. This smoothie bowl is banana-free! Previously, frozen bananas were my not-so-secret ingredient for achieving a thick consistency, however, in an effort to decrease my banana consumption I have discovered dairy-free yogurt makes a great alternative. Do you have other ideas for replacing frozen bananas? Let me know in the comments below!
The full recipe can be found in my vegan eBook: Cooking with Compassion – 30 Vegan, Gluten-Free Recipes to Nourish Ourselves, Our Families & Our Planet
spinach = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, anti-cancer effects, excellent source of magnesium & calcium, avoid large amounts if prone to kidney stones or taking blood thinners
avocado = anti-inflammatory, low glycemic index, high in fiber, may help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain normal serum total cholesterol levels, contains glutathione which has anti-carcinogenic properties and may boost immunity
Learn why beets and ginger are staples in my medicine cabinet.
Beets offer many health benefits due to their numerous antioxidants. For starters, they contain betalains which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, therefore, promoting cardiovascular and metabolic health. Betalains have even been shown to help suppress tumor growth in studies on multiple cancer cell lines and animal models. Other antioxidants found in beets include manganese, which helps regulate glucose metabolism, and vitamin C (in the greens). Beet greens also contain lutein which is known for maintaining eye health. For women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, beets’ folate, vitamin B and iron content makes this vegetable a worthy smoothie addition. Finally, betaine, an amino acid found in beets, can act as an antidepressant.
Ginger has been used as a herbal medicine for years and is currently one of the most researched spices. Last year a study reported that daily ginger consumption lowered fasting blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes. Previously, a randomized controlled trial demonstrated that ginger decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These promising results demonstrate how beneficial ginger may be for women with PCOS.
3 small fresh beets (steamed or raw) or 6 small canned beets (I store prepped beets in the freezer for a thicker smoothie)
Add all ingredients to blender and go for a whirl! If it is not blending easily add more coconut water or water.
beets = good source of folate, anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood pressure, may help lower cholesterol, shown to reduce cancerous tumors in various animal models, beet leaves are high in iron (eat in moderation due to high oxalate content which can worsen gout and kidney stones)
ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, cholesterol and triglycerides
hemp protein = helps decrease high cholesterol and manage insulin resistance, helps build lean muscle mass
Disclaimer: As the sole author of Phruitful Dish, I have based my posts on my own experiences, personal knowledge, and doctoral degree. However, I am not a medical doctor or a licensed nutritionist. The information in this blog is not intended as medical advice, and it is not endorsed by my employers or institutions I am affiliated with. Nutritional and supplemental choices should be made in consultation with your health care provider. This blog is intended to inspire and encourage readers to educate themselves on how nutrition and lifestyle are important and often overlooked aspects of health. Therefore, please use the information at your own risk. Occasional links may be provided leading to third party websites. The existence of these links does not infer a responsibility or an endorsement of the linked site, its operator, or its contents.