Raw, vegan cheesecakes were amongst the first healthy desserts we were able master, and when we did, we didn’t stop at one. They are packed with nutrients, have only a small amount of sweetener in the form dates/coconut nectar and are so flavoursome! Most are also fortified with an amazing superfood. As much as possible we like to follow Hippocrates’ mantra of ‘Let food by thy medicine and medicine by thy food’.
This is one of our original cheesecake recipes and still one of our favourites!
Lemon Blueberry cheesecake
Makes 2 mini cheesecakes (we use small circular spring form tins, 10.5 cm in diameter and 5cm deep)
1/3 cup macadamias
¼ cup buckinis
¼ cup desiccated coconut
5 medjool dates*
1/2 tbsp filtered water
*Soak in warm water for a few minutes to soften
1 cup cashews (soaked for 3-6 hours)
1/2 cup coconut cream
¼ cup lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lucuma powder
1 tbsp coconut nectar
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (+ extra to grease)
1 cup organic frozen blueberries
Juice of ½ orange
½ tbsp raw organic honey (or coconut nectar for strict vegans)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste/powder
- Combine all ingredients for the base in a high power blender (we use a vitamix) and blend until smooth, add an extra dash of water if required
- Press into the base of a greased and lined spring form cake tin(s) (10.5cm diameter) and place in the freezer while you make the filling
- Drain and rinse cashews
- Clean the blender and then place in all filling ingredients
- Blend until smooth and creamy (this takes a few minutes)
- Meanwhile, prepare blueberry coulis…
- Combine all coulis ingredients in a saucepan and place over low heat (below 40 degrees C to keep raw), stirring occasionally for approx. 5 minutes
- Set aside and allow to cool for a few minutes
- Spread a small amount of the coulis on top of the base before adding approx. half the lemon filling mixture
- Then, add a little more coulis (swirling slightly with a spoon) and then add remaining lemon filling
- Top with more coulis, again using a spoon to create a swirl effect
- Return to freezer and leave to set for 4-5 hours or overnight
- Place in the fridge 1-2 hours prior to serving to allow to thaw
- Top with fresh blueberries (optional) and serve
Just a few reasons why this is a healthy dessert choice…
A snapshot of key ingredients
Although lemons are known for their bitter taste, when added to other ingredients their tangy quality creates a unique flavour.
Lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C, providing immune support, anti-oxidant protection against free radicals, thereby reducing inflammation and promoting healthy skin. There are also small levels of B vitamins and some minerals, while the Vitamin C also improved absorption of iron in the body. Lemons also contain fibre in the form of pectin to assist with satiety and digestive health. Like other citrus fruits, lemons also contain specific phytonutrient compounds such as limonin, which has been examined in promising studies suggesting this substance may assist in protection against certain cancers.
As always, we recommend purchasing organic, and if conventionally grown lemons are purchased, it is essential that these are thoroughly washed to remove/reduce pesticide residue and waxes, particularly as zest is used for this recipe.
Blueberries have been the subject of considerable research over recent years, with significant health benefits identified.
One exciting discovery is the potential for blueberries to have a favourable influence on memory and cognitive function, possibly slowing age related cognitive decline.
Like other berries, the anti-oxidant components (in particular anthocyanadins) are the most important contributors to the overall benefit of these nutrient packed blueberries, and importantly, these qualities are largely retained after freezing. This means we can have access to this nutrient boost all year round. We have used frozen organic blueberries for this recipe (both pancakes and coulis) and served with fresh fruit (berries). Cooking time is also minimal, reducing heat related nutrient loss. Organic berries have higher levels of anti-oxidant compounds.
Other benefits of anti-oxidants include protection of DNA, improved cardio-vascular and eye health, protection against a number of cancers and improved blood sugar regulation.
Some studies suggest that blueberries may also provide protection against urinary tract infections, in a similar way to that of cranberries.
Cashews are quite different to other tree nuts and are sometimes referred to as seeds, or fruits, as they grow attached to a cashew apple (related to the mango genus), with the larger part (the apple) often being discarded. However, the potential benefits of the cashew apple juice has been the subject of recent research (and captured the interest of pepsi co), so we may be hearing more about this in the future, as the demand and search for ‘superfoods’ escalates.
The fats in cashews are predominantly mono-unsaturated oleic and palmitoleic acids, beneficial for cardio-vascular health due to their ability to reduce triglycerides and improve cholesterol ratios. Epidemiological studies show that those who consume a variety of nuts have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Cashews are low on the glycaemic index, a good source of protein including the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor Vitamin B3 and mood enhancing neurotransmitter, serotonin – for this reason, cashews have sometimes been referred to as ‘nature’s prozac’!
Not only that, cashews also contain a number of minerals, particularly copper, but also zinc, magnesium, manganese and anti-oxidant trace mineral, selenium. Good levels of some B vitamins, especially B1, B5 and B6 can also be found in cashews, along with Vitamins E and K.
Lucuma is a fruit native to Peru with a rich, orange coloured flesh. It is widely considered a superfood with sweet qualities. As it is also low on the glycaemic index and around 1/3 the calories of sugar. This factor, together with its creamy texture makes lucuma an ideal addition to baking, smoothies or in this case, raw cheesecake! This highly regarded fruit (historically known as the ‘Gold of the Incas’) contains protein and is an abundant source of a number of nutrients particularly Vitamin B3, beta-carotene (pre-cursor to Vitamin A), and calcium, as well as being a good source of carbohydrate and dietary fibre.
Whilst the fresh fruit is not easily available, the powder made from the dried fruit (using low temperatures to retain nutrients) is readily available in health food stores or on line and is usually organic.
Jen and Hannah have combined their skills of Naturopathy, Coaching Psychology, Psychotherapy, Media & Communications, Writing, Photography and Recipe Development to create Health Synergy. The mother-daughter team share a passion for health and a desire to inspire people to take charge of all aspects of their health and make choices that help achieve a life balance that is right for them. Their philosophy on food is using ingredients that are as close to their natural source as possible, organic and nutrient dense. All recipes are refined sugar free, most are gluten free and there are many vegan options which can be found on the HealthSynergy app.