Raw Chocolate Cheesecake (Dairy-free, Grain-free)


This rich, chocolate cheesecake tastes pretty sinful.

Detoxinista's Raw Chocolate Cheesecake

In fact, you and your family would probably never guess that hidden in this creamy, chocolate filling is actually a FULL CUP of green vegetables! I love finding ways to sneak extra vegetables into the dishes I make for my family, without sacrificing taste or texture, and this decadent treat definitely fits the bill.

When I first saw a recipe for raw cheesecake, calling cashews instead of dairy, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. How can cashews possibly taste like cream cheese?

Well, they do, when combined with the right ingredients.

However, I had a difficult time achieving that authentic cheesecake texture until I decided to try something radical–> adding zucchini into the mix! Zucchini adds just the right balance of moisture to the creamy filling, without affecting the flavor. Now, I can’t imagine making a cheesecake without it. My classic raw cheesecake, also made with zucchini, fools even the pickiest of eaters!

Featuring raw cashews, which are rich in selenium, magnesium and zinc, and heart-healthy coconut oil, which can help regulate blood sugar and boost metabolism, this is a special treat that you can feel good about serving to your loved ones. As an added bonus, this cheesecake is properly combined, making it easier on your digestive system. You can’t beat a delicious dessert that doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish afterward!

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake
Fills one 8-inch pan

Adapted from Sweetly Raw

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cup raw pecans
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

ย For the filling:

2 cups raw cashews (no need to soak)
1 cup peeled & diced zucchini
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

Prepare the crust by placing the pecans in a food processor fitted with an S-blade, and grind them into fine meal. Add in the rest of the crust ingredients, and process again until well combined. Line the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper, then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer to set, while you prepare the filling.

In a high-powered blender or food processor, process the raw cashews until they are a fine powder. Add in the zucchini, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt, and blend again until a smooth and creamy batter is formed. Add in the melted coconut oil, and blend again to fully incorporate the ingredients into a uniform filling.

Pour the filling into the frozen pie crust, and allow to set for 8 hours, preferably overnight. Serve directly from the freezer, for best texture.

Detoxinista's Raw Chocolate Cheesecake

*Note: This cheesecake will become quite soft if left out at room temperature, so be sure to keep it chilled!

4.8 from 36 reviews
Raw Chocolate Cheesecake
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A rich chocolate cheesecake, that's free of dairy and refined sugars, and loaded with a full CUP of veggies!
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 2 cup raw pecans
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the filling:
  • 2 cups raw cashews (no need to soak)
  • 1 cup peeled & diced zucchini
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
Instructions
  1. Prepare the crust by placing the pecans in a food processor fitted with an S-blade, and grind them into fine meal. Add in the rest of the crust ingredients, and process again until well combined. Line the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper, then press the crust evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer to set, while you prepare the filling.
  2. In a high-powered blender or food processor, process the raw cashews until they are a fine powder. Add in the zucchini, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt, and blend again until a smooth and creamy batter is formed. Add in the melted coconut oil, and blend again to fully incorporate the ingredients into a uniform filling.
  3. Pour the filling into the frozen pie crust, and allow to set for 8 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Serve directly from the freezer, for best texture. *Note: This cheesecake will become quite soft if left out at room temperature, so be sure to keep it chilled!

For a quick strawberry sauce: Combine 5 ounces of strawberries (I used thawed frozen ones) with 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup and blend until completely smooth. Mix with 5 ounces of chopped strawberries, for texture, and spoon a generous amount over each slice!

I hope you’ll enjoy this rich chocolate dessert as much as we have!

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, Iโ€™m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the bodyโ€™s detox organsโ€” no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

177 thoughts on “Raw Chocolate Cheesecake (Dairy-free, Grain-free)

  1. Scott

    Just made this for a family get together since some are vegans and EVERYBODY absolutely loved it! Love this website, thanks so much!

    Reply
  2. Laura

    UGH! This is killing me – no zucchini in the house but I have everything else. I guess it will be a weekend treat once the snow melts and I can get to the store. Thank you for this recipe!

    Reply
  3. Stacey

    I’m SO excited to have found this in time for Valentine’s Day– especially after my success with your cauliflower crusted pizza, I’m sold!
    Any reason why I shouldn’t cover this while it sits in the freezer overnight? I don’t want it to soak up any “freezer flavor,” but I also don’t want it to get too moist… Thoughts?
    Thanks for keeping us healthy- and well-fed!

    Reply
  4. VanillaMacaroon

    Made this over the weekend as we were having a guest for dinner. Since I was running out of time to let it set in the freezer, I made smaller individual portions. They were ready after 4 hours. WOW!! It really blew our minds, especially with the strawberry sauce on top… This cake is super filling and truly satisfying. It’s got this fudgy texture that’s really addictive, too!! Thanks so much for this recipe Megan!!

    Reply
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  6. Mel

    I made this last night and it is amazing. I’ve tried so many healthy desserts and my partner has hated all of them until he tried this, he loved it. It will now become a regular treat in our home, thank you. Instead of strawberries I topped mine with macadamia nuts coated in a glaze of maple syrup and coconut sugar.

    Reply
  7. Charlene@ thatgirlcookshealthy

    Hi Megan,

    Just wanted to say that I successfully made this recipe last week and my family loved it and even went back for a second helping.

    Reply
  8. Alison

    I used Brazil nuts for the crust because I didn’t have enough cashews and it still came out delicious. Thanks for a great recipe. I love your site!!!

    Reply
  9. Penny

    Megan, this cheesecake is amazing. Thank you so much!

    My son is allergic to cashews, so I have been subbing raw almond butter. I am going to try coconut butter next.

    You have made such a difference in the lives of my gluten and dairy free family. I will be buying your cookbook as soon as it is available!

    Reply
  10. Laura

    Loved this one too, my kids keep asking me when I will make it again. We topped it with a little raspberry sauce (just a bit partial to choco/raspberry) and the fudginess of this is perfect for THIS sweet tooth. Thanks again!

    Reply
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  12. Sandra

    This is AMAZING!! I had just finished making a traditional chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and needed to make something for my son to be able to have (dairy free). So I whipped up this and this was better than the traditional one I made!! Everyone preferred it and when I told them what was in it no one believed me!! You have to make this!

    Reply
  13. Dana Valaydon

    Hi, I did that cake yesterday and it turned out pretty flat. It didn’t look like u’re cake.

    Can u guess what I did wrong. Not too sure why it didn’t have a bigger top layer.

    Thx.

    Reply
  14. Rachael

    Wow! This was delicious! I tried it last-night & maybe I did something wrong, as my filling was a lot darker in colour & a bit gritty as well? Could that be because my food processor wasn’t high-powered enough and the fact i used Cacao powder instead of cocoa powder?

    Reply
  15. John Reeve

    If you soak the cashews overnight, and then blend them in a Vitamix, you can make cashew cream cheese. The cashew cream from the Vitamix is mixed with soy yogurt (2 TBS) as a starter, and then fermented at 110F for 12 hours. It provides a very good taste approximation to cream cheese, as well as texture. I was very skeptical at first, but was amazed with the results: it is now my “go-to” base for many recipes.

    Reply
  16. Rose

    This is the most amazing thing ever I have not hade dairy in olmost for ever ice cream, cake this website helped me and my family enjoy good heathy food that is simple to make

    Reply
    1. Amber

      You can. I’ve used previously frozen zucchini in zucchini bread before (someone absent-mindedly put raw zucchini in the freezer, so I needed to use it in smoothies and zucchini bread ASAP). Just make sure it is thawed and the water is squeezed out, and it’s in a pulp (either grated or run through a blender for a few seconds).

      Reply
    1. Amber Schooley

      I have used walnuts to replace pecans in the past often, just because I usually have walnuts in the house but typically only buy pecans if I have a certain recipe in mind. I have even used almonds to replace walnuts or pecans in the past, because my dad is allergic to both. As long as they are a similar firmness, it works fine (cashews will not work because they are much softer)

      Reply
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  18. Sean

    Thank you for this great recipe. I made it last night and just had a sample at lunch…oh my. It is rich and delicious. I can’t wait for my husband to try it tonight. I didn’t have a spring pan, so I just put all the ingredients into a round 8-inch baking pan…took a little maneuvering with a fork and knife, but I got a slice out cleanly and neatly! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for all your recipes.

    Reply
  19. KE

    Hi Megan,
    I just discovered your classic raw cheesecake recipe and LOVE it… made it twice in the past week! So I want to try this one. I’m wondering if you think I can substitute the maple syrup with honey and the coconut oil with either butter or cocoa butter (which do you think would be better?) I can do butter but not coconut. TY!

    Reply
    1. Amber

      I’m sure you can replace the maple syrup. I freely switch maple, honey, and even date pulp in all sorts of recipes. Just do it to taste. The amount of sugar in honey is a little different than that in maple, so they don’t have the same sweetness proportional to the volume.

      As for the butter, butter, should work fine. It solidifies at low temperatures the same as coconut oil. I’m not familiar with cocoa butter, so I can’t tell you on that one.

      Reply
  20. Patricia

    Instead of the zucchini, I used pulp leftover from juicing beets, carrots, and cucumber. The texture was excellent, and now I have a new favorite place to use all of my juicing pulp ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  21. Lourdes

    Could it affect the crust consistency and/or texture if I soak the pecans over night? anybody has any experience soaking nuts and using them for crust?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      I wouldn’t recommend using wet nuts for the crust, but it should be fine if you dry them completely before using them in a recipe.

      Reply
      1. Lourdes

        thank you! im going to dehydrate them in the oven for a few hours to avoid messing up the recipe! happy thx giving Megan and thank you for all your wonderful healthy recipes <3

        Reply
  22. Alec

    This recipe is amazing!! I’ve made it twice and both times it was simply divine. Perfect for festive entertaining, it also made me bike 10% faster! I’m a total kitchen noob and even I managed to make it taste good. Imagine what the culinary geniuses who read this blog could do?? Plant power!

    Reply
    1. Nataliya

      I tried soaking nuts and then drying them in a dehydrator. Or they can be dried in the oven on the lowest setting. When they are dry, they can be used in the crust recipe just fine..

      Reply
        1. Jane

          There is an enzyme on the outside of nuts that affect some people’s digestive systems. Soaking breaks that down. So, they are removing the enzyme, then drying it back out.

          Reply
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  25. Vivian

    This looks so delicious and there is a small heart on the right side of the cake painted in strawberry sause and it is on the plate with hearts…Oh so dearly amazing. I am making this at home.
    Thank you for this inspiration…. so wonderful.
    Love and light
    Vivian

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Yes, it’s raw, and yes this can be made a week in advance as long as you cover it tightly and keep it frozen.

      Reply
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  27. Sandra

    hi Megan, love your blog and I can’t wait to try your chocolate cheesecake, but I was wondering if I can use brown rice syrup instead of maple syrup since it has a lot of sugar? Hope to her from

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      You can, but you’ll need to use significantly more brown rice syrup to make it taste like cheesecake!

      Reply
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  29. Shay

    Not a fan of maple syrup, does the cheesecake have a strong maple flavor? Do you think light karo syrup could replace the maple?

    Also, I have a friend that is allergic to coconut. Do you think the vegan butter could replace the coconut oil in the crust and filling? Or could you suggest a different oil? Possibly crisco?

    Thank you. I can’t wait to try this.

    Reply
    1. Amber

      You can use almost any type of sweetener to replace it. It is only meant for the sweetness. I freely interchange maple, honey, or even date pulp for recipes. Just do it by taste, The amount of sugar/sweetness in the different liquids is not the same in comparison to volume, so you may need more or less of the Karo syrup

      If you use the stick vegan butter it would probably work fine. It still solidifies the same way coconut oil does. My grandmother used Crisco for everything butter would be in when I was a kid due to my sister’s milk allergy, back before coconut oil was common. I wouldn’t recommend spreadable vegan butter, and definitely not another type of oil. Other oils do not solidify at colder temperatures, so the cheesecake would not solidify.

      Just a note: not sure if you use the vegan recipes for an actual vegan diet or an allergy. Most people with a milk allergy are actually allergic to the protein casein, and can still have butter since it is entirely fat. Same thing for lactose intolerance. Since there is no sugar in the butter, there is no lactose.

      Reply
  30. Irene

    I made this yesterday on a hot and humid afternoon. Yay no cooking!!! I just taste-tested it with my dairy and gluten allergic son. We both loved it! He was so pleased to eat zucchini in this tasty way! The whole thing was fast and easy to make. If there were more than 5 stars, we would rate it higher! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!!

    Reply
  31. Sophie

    Just made this and it is my new favorite! Possibly tied with the coconut flourless chocolate cake ๐Ÿ™‚ The family all approves and it is SO easy to make. Thanks for another great one

    Reply
  32. rachel

    I really want to make this dessert for my husband for our anniversary but I can’t find maple syrup or coconut oil here in the very south of Italy. Could I sub the maple syrup for agave and the coconut oil for olive oil???
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Agave would work but olive oil will not– the only substitute that would be easy to find would be real butter.

      Reply
        1. Megan Gilmore Post author

          The oil is responsible for making the cheesecake firm up– coconut oil becomes solid at any temperature below 76 degrees. Vegetable oils won’t do that, so the cheesecake would be runny and may not ever set.

          Reply
  33. Angie

    This looks AMAZING. But that is a LOT of maple syrup! If I used, say 1/4 less than what is called for, would it mess with the cheesecake setting? Could I use honey instead? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Amber

      How is that “A LOT” of maple syrup? I’ve never seen a cheesecake that is not divided into at least 8 slices, and at 8 slices that is only 1 tbs per serving. Most people put 2 tablespoons or more on a serving of pancakes. I’m sure you could use honey instead, but you would have to change the actual volume of sweetener. Personally I freely interchange honey, maple, or even blended dates depending on the recipe and what I have on hand. Just do it by taste, Different sweeteners have different amounts of sugar/sweetness in the same volume, so you would likely need a different volume of honey

      Reply
    2. Angie

      You are right, as a sweetener per serving, it is not a lot. I should have clarified. I am writing from Romania ๐Ÿ™‚ and maple syrup is imported from Canada here and it is CRAZY expensive. So rather than dissing your recipe, which looks AMAZING, my question really is, can I use honey, which is easy to access and cheap here, instead?
      Thanks for much for all that you do! Grateful!

      Reply
  34. Tracey

    I love this recipe, I have adapted it a little and use fresh from the coconut, flesh instead of zucchini and add a little fresh coconut water, cacao butter and a teaspoon of maca…love this. And in the base I add vanilla bean powder and a little desiccated coconut..

    I love raw desserts!

    Reply
  35. Kathy

    I’ve made several different raw cheesecakes, all of which are pretty good But your recipe is by far the best!! I even got my daughter in law to eat some (she claims to hate all veggies) This is a great way to have something that is normally not that great for you, be a lot better for you. Thanks for the great recipes! !!

    Reply
  36. Amber

    Is there a way to pin this? I would like to have it easily accessible later. I forgot I had even saved it until I was searching through my bookmarks for a totally unrelated site. Pinterest I can access it from any device and type “zucchini cheesecake” into the search bar to find it.

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      You can hover your mouse over any image on my site and a “Pin it” button should appear for easy pinning!

      Reply
  37. Amber

    I have to agree with the previous reviewer that this tastes more like chocolate mousse. Which is fine with me, because I haven’t have French silk pie since my milk allergy was diagnosed over 2 years ago.

    I stored this in the freezer overnight, but it came out with ice crystals on the top and impossible to cut. I’m not sure why it would be that way, but I have put it in the fridge to hopefully be able to cut it better later.

    Reply

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