Vegan cheesecake sounds like an oxymoron. It can’t be possible to achieve the same creamy tang of cheesecake without dairy, right? Wrong! It is totally possible to make a vegan cheesecake that tastes exactly like the real thing, and I’m not talking about those raw cashew “cheesecakes” either. While those are delicious, they’re definitely not exactly the same as dairy-based cheesecake. I’d much rather have a baked version, especially if it can be just as healthy as the raw kind!
Before I was vegan, cheesecakes were one of my favorite treats, particularly lemon cheesecakes. So naturally, when I set out to create a baked vegan cheesecake recipe, I had to make it lemon-flavored. And I have to say, I think I really hit the nail on the head with this one! The acidity of the lemon adds just the right amount of tang to the creamy, sweet filling, making for the ultimate dessert. On top of that, I managed to make this recipe relatively healthy: no gluten, dairy, oil, or refined sugar! I didn’t think it was possible, but somehow it happened. And trust me, this recipe does not taste healthy! It tastes every bit as indulgent as a cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.
To keep this cheesecake totally oil-free, I used vegan cream cheese from the brand Kite Hill, which is made from almonds. However, I believe this brand is exclusive to Whole Foods, so if you don’t live near one, any other vegan cream cheese will work just fine! Tofutti and Trader Joe’s both make great ones. And while you’re out shopping for vegan cream cheese, here are two other recipes you can use it in:
Healthy Baked Lemon Cheesecake (Vegan, No Gluten/Oil/Refined Sugar)
Creamy and sweet, with a little lemony tang... all the elements of a perfect cheesecake! This one also happens to be vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and sugar-free, but you would never know it.
For the Crust
- 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 large ripe banana mashed
- 6 tbsp pure maple syrup
For the Filling
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup heavy coconut cream see notes
- 1 container (8 oz) vegan cream cheese such as Kite Hill to keep it oil-free
- 4 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
For the Crust
Line an 9″ round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside. (You could also use a springform pan)
Add oats to a coffee grinder or food processor and blend into a flour.
Transfer oat flour to a high speed blender and add the coconut, mashed banana, and maple syrup. Blend until it forms a crumbly dough that holds together.
Press the dough firmly into the bottom and sides of the prepared pan. Place in freezer while preparing filling.
For the Filling
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Add the cashews to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
In a high-speed blender, combine drained cashews, heavy coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, cornstarch, vanilla extract, maple syrup, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Blend on high speed until creamy and smooth.
Remove baking dish from freezer and pour filling over crust, tapping on counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the filling has set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to finish cooling completely.
Once cheesecake has completely cooled, cover and place back in refrigerator overnight (or at least 5 hours).
Use parchment paper to lift cheesecake out of pan and slice into 8 slices.
- Do your best to find a can of heavy coconut cream, not full fat coconut milk. If you can't find it, then chill your cans of full fat coconut milk, scoop the cream off the top, and use just that (not the liquid portion).
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, covered. Slices also be wrapped and frozen individually for up to 1 month.