No-Bake Cashew “Cheesecake”
3 cups [420 g] raw cashews
11/2 cups [210 g] raw almonds
1/4 tsp fine sea salt, plus a pinch for the crust
2 cups [300 g] pitted Medjool dates
21/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup [145 g] coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup [120 ml] plus 1 tsp agave nectar
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups [240 g] strawberries (fresh or thawed if frozen)
1 tsp chia seeds
My sister Margaux is a powerhouse in the kitchen. As a registered dietitian and nutritionist whose mentality is stick to whole foods, not diet fads, her philosophy pairs science with enjoying food, balancing flavor with health. She is also a fuss-free foodie! Trust me, this no-bake cheesecake recipe of hers is just that. Make this cheesecake when you are feeling like a decadent treat without a ton of work. Sit back, relax, and reclaim your time and health with her dairy-free recipe. (Note: This is an overnight recipe.)
- Place the raw cashews in a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water. Soak overnight. (You can soak them for as little as 2 to 3 hours, but if you wait overnight, the cheesecake will be creamier.)
- Line a 9 in [23 cm] springform pan with a circular piece of parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the almonds and a pinch of the sea salt in a food processor and process until you see medium-size chunks of almond. Add the dates and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla and process until the pieces are small, uniform, and stick together when you squeeze a tiny bit between your fingers. Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press it down evenly with a glass or your palm. Put it in the freezer to firm up for at least 30 minutes.
- Drain the soaked cashews and put them in the bowl of a blender or food processor (I like using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix). Add the coconut oil, 1/2 cup [120 ml] of the agave, 3 Tbsp of the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tsp of vanilla, and the remaining 1/4 tsp of sea salt and blend on high speed until smooth. Remove about half of the filling and layer that into the springform pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth and even it out. Place the pan back in the freezer to set for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add half the strawberries to the remaining filling, process until smooth, and set the blender carafe in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Before adding it to the first layer, give it one more whirl in the blender to ensure everything is mixed evenly. Pour the strawberry layer on top of the cheesecake and freeze for an additional 30 minutes.
- While the cheesecake is setting in the freezer, slice the remaining strawberries and add them to a medium bowl with the remaining 1 Tbsp lemon juice, the remaining 1 tsp of agave, and the chia seeds Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the chia seeds to plump up.
- Pour the topping over the cheesecake and put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set and firm up.
- When ready to serve, dip a knife in a cup of hot water and slice the cake, wiping the knife dry between each slice. Serve frozen or let thaw for 15 minutes before serving. The thawing makes it a bit softer and easier to slice.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Food for Thought: Worrying is a down payment on a problem you may never have.
Excerpted from Mind Over Batter: 75 Recipes for Baking as Therapy by Jack Hazan, © 2023. Published by Chronicle Books. Photographs © Lauren Volo.
Jack Hazan, MA, LMHC, is a New York City – based psychotherapist and the founder of Modern Therapy Group. He’s also the Chief Baking Officer of JackBakes, whose breads are carried in over 500 physical and online retailers. Jack has been featured in the New York Post, the Washington Post, and Time Out New York and has appeared on the Food Network and Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live.