Vegan no-bake cheesecake that actually tastes like cheesecake thanks to a secret ingredient – with no coconut or cashews!
CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING COMMON ALLERGENS: SOY, CORN, FERMENTED FOOD
I’m tired of cheesecakes that taste like coconut or cocoa butter. Tired of a greasy film in my mouth from the oils used to set them. Tired of failing so many baked cheesecakes because the vegan cream cheese I used melted into a puddle.
I happen to hate buying cashews.
I’m also tired of spending so much dang money on vegan cream cheeses that don’t even taste good! Well, lucky me there, because my local grocery stores stopped carrying any at all. That means I have to drive two hours round trip if I want to score some (and they don’t even work in cheesecake, anyway).
So I set out to make a delicious dairy free, vegan cheesecake that actually tastes like cheesecake using simple ingredients I can easily buy.
And here she is. Voila.
The ingredients I use are So. Dang. Simple.
If you know me, you know I like to strip things down to their bare bones so you can build on them. And this is no exception.
Tofu. I use medium hard tofu because I only have that, extra firm, and silken available in my stores. Anything medium-ish should work. This is what gives our cheesecake body and mass. Believe it or not, it does an absolutely fantastic job of emulating dairy-and-egg cheesecake texture!
For most of the flavor, I use vegan yogurt. Just like in my cream cheese filling for danishes recipe, I’m hopping on the lactobacillus train and hijacking its lactic acid (the main flavor agent in dairy cheese) plus the vanilla (or whatever flavor you decide to use) and a bit of sweetness.
You can use any type of yogurt! Just make sure it’s one you think is delicious, since it’ll be the main flavor of your cheesecake. But soy, coconut, almond, oat, whatever. You can even go with unsweetened if that’s your jam, just adjust your sugar levels later. 🙂
THE SECRET INGREDIENT! I also use sauerkraut for flavor. Yes, sauerkraut. Again, just like in my danish filling recipe, we are snagging all that delicious lactic acid for our own devices. I learned this trick from 86eats. Just make sure that you’re using a naturally fermented sauerkraut (ingredients: cabbage, salt), and not one pickled in vinegar.
I also use lemon or lime juice because traditional cheesecake recipes always have it. And I want this to taste as close to that as possible. You can use either fresh or bottled.
I use sugar to sweeten, and not much at all. REPEAT AFTER ME: “THIS CHEESECAKE IS NOT SUPER SWEET“. If you prefer yours to be very sweet, adjust the sweetener to your taste! You’ll be able to taste test it after we blend, and you can add more if you like.
You can use any sweetener you’d like for this recipe, though. Stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, whatevs. Just make sure you like it! Please don’t dump a bunch of erythritol in there and then give me a one star rating because of the weird cooling sensation your cheesecake had. D:
To thicken this mixture, I use cornstarch (corn flour for those not in the US!). It does a fantastic job of giving the filling a silky, creamy texture without gelatinizing it like tapioca tends to. In my opinion, it’s the best choice for a vegan no-bake cheesecake.
The only downside to using cornstarch is that it means the cheesecake doesn’t freeze well. But that’s never been a problem for me, since it gets eaten quickly!
AND THATS IT! Those are my ingredients! Just six, super easy to find pieces to figuring out the cheese cake puzzle. And it’s magnificent once put together!!
The process of making the cheesecake might actually be easier than the ingredients!
Basically, you’re going to blend all your ingredients together and then heat it up in a saucepan to activate the starch for its thickening powers.
If you have a high powered blender:
Blend the tofu, yogurt, sauerkraut, and brine. Then make a slurry with your lemon or lime juice and the cornstarch, and add that. Pulse to incorporate it, then add your sugar and blend well. Pour it into your saucepan
If you have a regular or stick blender:
Blend the tofu, yogurt, and sauerkraut brine (no actual cabbage pieces). Make your slurry with lemon/lime and corn starch and add it. Pulse to mix it up, and then add the sugar before blending well. Use a sieve to strain it into your sauce pan.
The mixture should be lovely and creamy with no chunks. You can also taste test and add more sweetener if you prefer it to be sweeter.
Heat it over medium high heat, while stirring continuously.
After about ten minutes, the mixture will start to get lumpy. THIS IS NORMAL! Keep stirring until the mixture gets very thick. Take it off the heat and keep stirring until it all smooths out.
Pour the filling into a prepared pie crust, smooth with a spatula or back of a spoon, and press parchment paper onto the top if you don’t want it to crack.
Since this cheesecake has no added fat, it will dry out and crack quickly if exposed to the open air – most especially while it’s hot (yay evaporation). The parchment cover will keep it from doing so.
Pop your vegan no-bake cheesecake into the fridge to chill for at least 3-4 hours before slicing and serving. ENJOY!!
One of the great things about this cheesecake is that since it isn’t firmed with coconut oil, palm oil, or cocoa butter, it doesn’t need to be frozen or super chilled to hold its shape. It does perfectly fine at room temperature – just like dairy cheesecake!
Fun Additions and Toppings:
I like to top my cheesecake with sweet stuff, since the cheesecake itself isn’t very sweet. It’s also fun to play with temperature contrasts and textures! Here are some of my favorites:
Macerated berries and whipped cream
Silk heavy cream and chocolate curls
Ganache made with sweetened vanilla creamer and dark chocolate
Aquafaba meringue and candy shards
Caramel sauce and granola
I like to stir these into the filling before pouring into the crust:
Chopped, dehydrated fruit
Chewy candy, chopped small
Brownie or cookie chunks
Edible raw cookie dough
Have fun and experiment! And let me know what you make!
How to store your vegan no-bake cheesecake:
You’ll want to store this vegan cheesecake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 3-4 days. It won’t spoil, but it will begin to dry out due to the climate of the fridge.
It doesn’t do well being frozen and thawed due to the corn starch, so I don’t recommend keeping it in the freezer.
Can I make this cheesecake keto or without soy?
This particular recipe, no. I am working on getting my keto and soy-free versions up for y’all, though!
And that’s about it! If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact me on my Facebook page (this way is quicker) and I’ll be happy to help!
May you and your coffee both be strong,
Pin for Later:
- 1 block (454g) medium-hard tofu, drained
- 2 single serve vegan yogurts (150g each)
- 1 tbsp sauerkraut (see notes if not using a high power blender)
- 1 tbsp sauerkraut brine
- 1/4 c (60ml) lemon or lime juice
- 1/4 c (30g) cornstarch (corn flour if you're not in the US)
- 1/3 c (70g) sugar (or to taste)
- Add your tofu, yogurt, sauerkraut, and brine to a blender and blend until smooth
- Stir together the lemon or lime juice and the cornstarch until smooth
- Pour the cornstarch mixture into the blender and pulse until totally incorporated
- Add the sugar to the blender and blend until everything is totally smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan* over medium-high heat while stirring continuously.
- The mixture will go lumpy, then thick. Once it thickens, take it off the heat.
- Continue stirring until the mixture smooths out.
- Pour the mixture into a prepared 9" or 10" crust and smooth it out using a spatula or the back of a spoon.
- Press parchment paper into the top of the cheesecake to prevent it from cracking.
- Chill for 3-4 hours until the cheesecake is cold throughout before slicing and serving.
If you're not using a high speed blender, use two tablespoons of brine instead of one tablespoon of sauerkraut and one of brine.
*If you're using a regular or a stick blender (not a high powered one), you may want to use a sieve while pouring the mixture into the saucepan to get any chunks out.