Raw Vegan Summertime Strawberry Cheezecake

This week, I wanted dessert, but didn’t want to bake. I wanted to use seasonal ingredients. I wanted something that wasn’t overly sweet…. Then I came across Kris’ recent blog post for Raw Vegan Summertime Strawberry Cheezecake. Yum!

So far, Bryan hasn’t been a fan of raw desserts. I had him taste test raw apple pie in cupcake tins, raw banana coconut “creme” cake, raw apple cobbler, and raw apple crumble. He gave it a try and ate a whole serving of each, but wasn’t a fan. The apple dishes, however, he enjoyed if we heated them up. He hasn’t tried this cake yet. I’m not going to force him to try it (more for me, right?).

We actually had a discussion about these desserts on Saturday after announcing my intention to bring raw brownies to a potluck on Sunday. Dad didn’t like the sound of them. I couldn’t figure out why he was so opposed to the idea without even trying it first! (What’s not to love about a healthier version of the traditional brownie?) Apparently, there are people out there who don’t like dates! I’ve always enjoyed them, so this comes as a bit of a surprise to me that people don’t like the flavour of them.

I guess what I’m getting to is, this dessert is delicious, if you enjoy the ingredients listed. To me, it’s as delicious as Kris promises!

What is your stance on raw desserts? Love them? Hate them? Still need to try them?

Because I have not adapted this recipe, I will list the ingredients and approximate cost. I’ve also taken photos of the process. However, please visit Kris’ blog for the full recipe and directions.

Raw Vegan Summertime Strawberry Cheezecake

Recipe by Kris from Layakari Yoga

Ingredients

Crust

  • 3/4 cup raw almonds – approximate cost $1.75
  • 3/4 cup (about 12) pitted Medjool dates – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Filling

  • 2 cups raw cashews – approximate cost $7.00
  • 2 quarts strawberries – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 lemons, juiced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – approximate cost $0.25
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar – approximate cost $0.50

Notes

  • Soak cashews for at least 6 hours (overnight) and rinse twice before processing.
  • Use fresh, local berries if possible.
  • Substitute strawberries for another berry of your choice to change thing up.
  • Reserve some of the fruit as a topping.
  • Agave is not as thick as honey, be careful when measuring it.
  • Slice pie into individual servings, wrap in foil, and re-freeze for an easy dessert (lasts up to one week in the freezer).
  • Thaw pie (slices) for about 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $2.82 per serving).

Visit Kris’ blog post for directions on how to prepare this fantastic cake!

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Strawberry and Cashew Smoothie

Lately, smoothies have been my breakfast of choice. They take very little time to make. They’re super healthy. The mess is quick to clean up. And, if I’m running late, it’s easy to take to class.

I’ve been experimenting with a variety of ingredients: frozen fruits (strawberries, mangoes, raspberries, peaches, bananas, etc.), nuts (cashews, pecans, almonds), and liquids (coconut water, almond milk, chlorophyll).

I’ve also been trying out smoothies with greens. This morning I had a smoothie with spinach. It took a while to get used to the idea of blending vegetables with the fruit. Bryan told me I was weird for blending spinach and strawberries. That’s ok, more delicious smoothie for me!

This particular smoothie turned out really well. It may not look particularly pretty, but I assure you it was tasty.

Strawberry and Cashew Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups frozen strawberry slices – approximate cost $1.50
  • ¼ cup raw cashews – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon of chlorophyll – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Blend strawberry slices, cashews, chlorophyll and almond milk until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $1.55 per serving).

Raw Banana Coconut Cream Cake

This was my favourite dessert that we/Renee prepared at the workshop. It’s sweet, as most desserts tend to be. But it isn’t overly sweet. The tartness of the lime adds just enough sour flavour to counter the sweetness of the dates and the agave nectar.

When I made this cake at home, I was so happy with the outcome that I decided to share it with my family. However, I didn’t tell them that the dessert was raw/vegan. The cake had become so frozen that I wasn’t able to cut it. So we had to wait almost an hour after dinner before we were able to enjoy the dessert.

Their reaction? Everyone ate their cake without complaint and the dogs begged for the cake. My stepmother shared her last two bites, one for each dog (this is not unusual). My dad, brother, and I enjoyed our cake, but didn’t share. Everyone said thank you and we went about our night. All of the plates were clean. I think they liked it too!

Raw Banana Coconut Cream Cake

Recipe by RAW food chef Renee Shaidle

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup walnuts nuts (the original recipe calls for macadamia nuts, I substituted walnuts to helps keep down the cost) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 cup cashews – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1/2 cup shredded dry coconut – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 10 dates (or ⅓ cup raisins) – approximate cost $2.75
  • Pinch of sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Banana layer

  • 3-4 bananas – approximate cost $1.50

Filling

  • 1 cup fresh coconut meat (or 1/2 cup coconut cream and 1/2 cup cashews) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoon agave nectar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 lime – juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 bananas, sliced – approximate cost $0.75

Method

  1. Prepare the crust
    1. Blend the macadamia nuts, cashews, coconut, coconut oil, and sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped.
    2. Add dates slowly to mixture until the crust becomes sticky (use more or less than recommended depending on your crust).
    3. Line a cake or pie pan with plastic wrap.
    4. Press crust mixture into an even layer in the pan.
    5. Place crust in freezer and chill for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the filling
    1. Blend the cashews and sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time (coconut or coconut cream, coconut oil, agave nectar, lime juice, vanilla, and banana slices)
    3. Blend all ingredients until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Prepare the banana layer
    1. Slice the bananas into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Put it all together
    1. Take crust out of the freezer and place the bananas slices evenly on top of the crust.
    2. Pour the filling on top of bananas and spread into an even layer.
    3. Place assembled cake into the freezer for 3-4 hours to set.
    4. Remove from freezer.
    5. Decorate with coconut flakes.
    6. Serve immediately.


Makes about 9 servings (approximate cost: $1.88 per serving).

Raw Apple Crumble

I’ll be participating in a bake sale tomorrow, with the proceeds being donated to a local charity. You might have noticed from the nature of my posts, I don’t often bake sweets. Honestly, because I rarely follow a recipe step-by-step the result usually isn’t quite right. At first, I thought it might be nice to prepare some finger foods such as dumplings or other such appetizers. Being that I would have to prepare this on a weeknight, I ruled out that option as too time consuming.

Then, I looked to the Raw Cooking Workshop that I attended at the beginning of the month. I sifted through the recipe book that Renee prepared for us, but nothing was quite what I was looking for. As my mind drifted and I began looking forward to a weekend shopping trip at the market, I found my inspiration: it’s apple season! I will make something with apples. What can I make with apples? Apple pie, apple sauce, apple crumble, baked apples, candied apples… the options seemed endless. However, I still liked the idea of making a raw dish.

Apple crumble seemed like the least intensive item to prepare on a weeknight. I searched the Internet for “raw apple crumble” and found two recipes that seemed appropriate: Raw Apple Crisp from Raw Food Passion and RAW Vegan Apple Crisp from A Taste of Raw. I ended up taking suggestions from both recipes and came up with the following recipe for apple crumble.

Raw Apple Crumble

Adapted from Raw Food Passion and A Taste of Raw

apple crumble

Ingredients

Crumble

  • 2 cups raw nuts (any combination, 1 used ½ cup walnuts, 1 cup almonds, ½ cup cashews, could also include pecans, sunflower seeds, etc.) – approximate cost $4.00
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut flakes – approximate cost $1.00
  • 8 (about a ½ cup) medjool dates, soaked and pitted – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 tablespoons of agave nectar – approximate cost $0.25

Filling

  • 4-6 apples (I used Macintosh), cored and thinly sliced – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 lemon, squeezed/juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon – approximate cost $0.10
  • ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 tablespoons of agave nectar – approximate cost $0.25

apple crumble

Method

Preparing to make this dish

  1. Soak the medjool dates and raisins for 2-3 hours or until softened.
  2. Core and slice apples into thin pieces. (This can be done with a paring knife and a lot of patience, or much more quickly using a food processor).

Prepare the filling

  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the sliced apples with lemon juice and agave nectar, then set aside.
  2. Let the mixture marinate on the counter for 1-2 hours.
  3. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins to the apple mixture and mix well.

Prepare the crumble

  1. Place nuts and coconut in a food processor (or blender) and process until coarsely ground.
  2. Add dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together.

Assembling the dish

  1. Press the crumble into 8″ square glass baking dish to make an even and solid crust.
  2. Drizzle the crust with 2 tablespoons of agave nectar.
  3. Pour the apple filling mixture over the crumble and arrange into a mostly even layer.

Enjoy immediately or chill and save later. Serve at room temperature or warm it slightly in an oven turned to its lowest temperature with the door propped open.

Makes 9 servings (approximate cost: $1.29 per serving).

apple crumble

Raw Chocolate Truffles with Cashew Kream

At the raw cooking workshop, we prepared raw chocolate truffles with cashew kream. I’m usually note a huge fan of sweets, but the tartness of the lemon in the sauce made it taste refreshing. This was very enjoyable!

Raw Chocolate Truffles with Cashew Kream

Recipe by RAW food chef Renee Shaidle

Chocolate truffles with cashew kream

Ingredients

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup almonds (soaked and dried)
  • 1 cup of dates
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 lemon, squeeze
  • 2-3 tbsp agave

Method

Truffles

  1. In a food processor, blend walnuts and almonds for about 30 seconds.
  2. With the food processor still running, add coconut, cacao, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. When the ingredients are well mixed, add the dates to create a sticky consistency. Continue to process until all ingredients are mixed well.
  4. Divide the mixture into 1 tsp portions. Roll each portion into a ball.

Cashew kream

  1. Blend the cashews, lemon, and agave until it forms a smooth icing-like consistency.

Putting it all together

  1. Serve the truffles with the cashew kream drizzled on top.

If you’re interested in Renee’s raw food cooking class, see her website: http://beliveonline.com/events or, if you want raw cooking without the work, check out Marbles restaurant in Uptown Waterloo.

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