The Healthiest Cheesecake Ever

With Shavuot quickly approaching, it’s likely that you’ve got rich, dairy-filled treats on the brain. Cheddar kugels and blintzes, goat cheese tarts and baked brie are all festive fare that make for the perfect holiday spread — and, of course, there’s cheesecake.

Rich and full of flavor, cheesecake is a Shavuot no-brainer, right? Well, not necessarily. If you’re trying to lose weight or can’t tolerate dairy, a traditional cheesecake just may not work. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out completely. This raw vegan cheesecake is a delicious dessert to enjoy on the holiday—and no one even needs to know how healthy it is!

The key to making a cheesecake that is rich and full of flavor is using full-fat coconut milk along with fresh coconut meat. These two ingredients give this raw treat the creamy texture you expect out of a cheesecake, while allowing you to stick to a healthy eating plan and keep your tummy happy.

If you haven’t cooked much with coconut milk, you’re in for a treat. It adds a subtly sweet taste to food while providing heaps of benefits. It’s chock full of fatty acids, including lauric acid, which can help improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Because of the healthy fats, coconut milk also helps you feel full for longer, perfect for those watching their weight. And if gut-related conditions like IBS are an issue for you, coconut milk is a godsend, as it helps nourish the digestive lining and improves gut health, easing digestion and constipation issues.

This cheesecake gets its sweetness from both maple syrup Medjool dates, a fruit that’s often used as a natural sweetener. Walnuts add flavor, crunch and good fats, while dried lavender gives this cheesecake a light, not overpowering, floral taste that really makes this feel like a special dessert. All together, these ingredients combine to create the perfect Shavuot dessert that you will feel great about eating. I even developed this recipe to create individual, mini cheesecakes that make serving and cleanup a cinch.

Dairy-Free Mini Cheesecakes with Dates and Lavender

Ingredients:

For the crust:
3 cups walnuts
2½ cups Medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of Himalayan salt

For the filling:
1½ cups cashews, soaked overnight
2 cups of fresh coconut meat (2 young coconuts)
½ can of full-fat canned coconut milk
½ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2–2½ tablespoons dried lavender
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Juice of one lemon
zest of ½ lemon

For the topping:
4 dried figs, sliced
8 cherries, sliced
6 macadamia nuts, crushed

Directions:

1) Place the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and blend until dough is formed.
2) In two muffin pans filled with liners, spread the dough evenly. Place in the freezer while making the filling.
3) Take the filling ingredients and place in a food processor and blend on high until well combined.
4) Remove muffin pans from freezer and fill about 3/4 way full of filling mixture.
5) Add toppings and place in the freezer for 2 hours.
6) Defrost mini cheesecakes in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

This story "The Healthiest Cheesecake Ever" was written by Josh Axe.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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