Vegan cheesecake is creamy, easy and delicious. Just soaked cashews and sweetener, some fruit, then blend. But when you add black quinoa, banana, and rich chocolate, it gets even better. These little cubes I popped right out of my ice cube tray. I made them in the morning, put them in the freezer, and ate them when I got home from work. They were soft and melted in my mouth. I was going to share these but I ended up eating them all. Next time I’ll make more and hopefully some of those will make it out of the house.
Lets talk about cashews for a minute. I use them often. Some of you may be wondering a little bit about this versatile nut.
Native to the Brazilian rainforest, the cashew tree was spread all over the world by Portuguese explorers. The cashew is a kernel attached to the bottom of a fruit similar in shape to a pear, called a cashew apple. The hard exterior of the cashew shell is poisonous and must be removed to reveal the cashew nut (it’s really a seed).
Cashews are loaded in vital nutrients; a handful provides enough selenium, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper for the day. They also host a range of necessary B vitamins, important for metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. High in calories, fiber, heart healthy essential fatty acids, antioxidants, with phytochemicals that can help protect from diseases and cancer. Buy them raw, whole or in pieces, and keep them in a sealed glass jar to last longer and stay fresh. If you are going to use them for blending into smoothies, making ice creams, or cream sauces, soak them overnight for 12-24 hours first. They absorb the water and it allows them to blend into a cream much better while improving the taste and texture.
Yields: 10-15 bites
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I used black)
- 3/4 cup raw soaked cashews (soak overnight in 1 1/2 cups water)
- 1/2 banana
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 4 tbsp coconut sugar, maple syrup, agave, or sugar (I used coconut sugar)
- 4-6 tbsp vegan milk for blending
- 1/2 cup melted and warmed cocoa butter, coconut oil, or coconut manna, or a blend
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder (sifted is best to prevent lumps)
- 4-6 tbsp maple syrup or agave
- pinch of salt
- handful of shredded coconut (as I used) or hemp seeds, more quinoa, cacao nibs, berry jam
Soak the cashews overnight so they blend well, 24 hours is ideal. Rinse them and then place them in a high powered or small bullet type blender. Add the banana, coconut oil, and sweetener, and turn it into a cream. You can add the vegan milk 2 tbsp at a time if you need it to blend, but be sure not to over add liquid. You will want this thick or it will not hold. Put that mixture in the refrigerator after it's entirely creamed and rich consistency.
Cook the quinoa. To get a half cup you will need to cook 1/4 cup in 1/2 cup water for 20 minutes.
Melt the cocoa butter or coconut oil in a bowl inside a skillet with water (see picture below). Add the sweetener and cocoa powder and really whisk it good. The cocoa can fall to the bottom and get powdery so make sure you really bind it in the stirring process. Do that for 5 minutes and keep it warm in the pan continually whisking. If it gets cool it will start to harden, so be prepared to make the cubes within 5-10 minutes of making the chocolate.
Get a flexible ice cube tray or any other kind of tray in which you can pop from the opposite side. There are lots of rubber like molds out there for ice cubes and other frozen treats. Pour a spoonful of chocolate in first, the a spoonful of quinoa, a double or triple spoonful of the cheesecake blend, and top with another spoonful of chocolate. Just make sure there is room for all the layers. Sprinkle some coconut on top. You can do this in whatever order you like and can get creative adding fruit or seeds.
Place the tray in the freezer for 4-6 hours. Take them out and eat as is, they will be soft and chewy.
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