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Dairy-Free Cashew Cheesecake

This dairy-free cheesecake is surprisingly creamy, thanks to a blended cashew filling that’s packed with a sneaky serving of vegetables. When served straight from the freezer, it has a texture remarkably similar to the real thing!

cashew cheesecake with blueberries

How to Make Cashew Cheesecake

Cashews give this filling its signature creaminess, but the real secret is the hidden veggie that’s also inside– zucchini!

peeled and chopped zucchini

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When you peel the zucchini, it doesn’t impact the overall color of your dairy-free cheesecake, but it does improve the texture. It adds moisture and fiber, and makes the cheesecake remarkably authentic when you serve it right from the freezer.

I like to use a date-based crust for this cheesecake, paired with a buttery nut like pecans or walnuts. When you throw them together in a food processor, they form a sticky crust that you can easily press into the bottom of a springform pan.

date nut crust

To make the creamy filling, I like to break down the cashews in a blender first, then add in the other ingredients and blend until smooth. When you use a high-speed blender, you can even skip the soaking process and still wind up with a silky-smooth result.

cashew cheesecake filling recipe

You can use a 7-inch pan for a thicker cheesecake, as pictured here, or use a 9-inch pan for a thinner cheesecake. Either way works! The thinner cheesecake will firm up faster, and the thicker one will need more time in the freezer to set.

Because this cheesecake is naturally sweetened, I use a mix of honey and maple syrup to give it a more neutral flavor and color. If you use all-honey, it has a stronger honey flavor, and if you use all maple syrup it isn’t quite sweet enough and will be darker in color. Feel free to experiment with the sweetness, if you like, and find what works best for you.

dairy free cheesecake slice

This no-bake cashew cheesecake is best served straight from the freezer, because it will melt relatively quickly if you leave it at room temperature for too long. You can store it tightly sealed in the freezer for up to 3 months, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!

4.85 from 26 votes
cashew cheesecake
Dairy-Free Cashew Cheesecake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 20 mins
 

NUT/SEED/DRIED FRUIT  |  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Egg-free

This cashew cheesecake is surprisingly creamy, thanks to a blended cashew filling that's packed with a sneaky serving of vegetables. When served straight from the freezer, it has a texture that is remarkably like the real thing!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cashews, cheesecake, dessert, zucchini
Servings: 16
Calories: 234 kcal
Ingredients
Cashew Cheesecake Filling
  • 2 cups raw cashews , soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1 cup zucchini , peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup honey (or more maple syrup, for vegans)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Crust
  • 6 Medjool dates , pitted
  • 1.5 cups pecan halves (or walnuts)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil , melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper for easy removal. I used a 7-inch pan in the photos here, but a 9-inch works also for a thinner cheesecake.

  2. Prepare the crust: Add the dates to a food processor fitted with an "S" blade, and process until they are broken down a bit. Add in the pecans, oil, salt, and maple syrup and process until the mixture is sticky. (Be careful not to over-process, or the nuts will release excess oil and the batter will be oily.) Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the lined pan, then place it in the freezer to set while you make the filling.

  3. Prepare the filling: Drain the cashews and place them in a high speed blender. Blend until they are finely ground, then add in the zucchini, lemon juice, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt, and blend again until very smooth. (You may need to stop and scrape the blender a couple times to make sure everything gets incorporated.)

  4. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and smooth the top. Place the cheesecake in the freezer to set until firm, about 4 to 6 hours. (The thicker your cheesecake layer, the longer it will take to set.)
  5. Serve the cheesecake directly from the freezer for a firm texture, or you can let it soften in the fridge for an hour beforehand to soften it up a bit. I recommend cutting small slices, as they are very rich!

  6. This cheesecake will melt if you leave it sitting at room temperature for too long, so I recommend keeping it chilled until just before serving. Leftovers can be tightly covered and chilled in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Per serving: Calories: 234, Fat: 15g, Carbohydrates: 23g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 4g

Recipe Notes:

  • You can make this cheesecake using maple syrup only for a vegan version, but it will be darker in color and slightly less sweet. Feel free to experiment with other sweeteners, if you like.
  • If you need to avoid cashews, you might want to try another nut, such as blanched almonds or macadamias, or you can try a seed, but keep in mind that the cheesecake will have the flavor of any nut that you use. Luckily, you can taste as you go and adjust the flavoring as needed.
  • For a chocolate cheesecake, try this Raw Chocolate Cheesecake.
  • If you’d like to make this cheesecake with cashew butter instead, replace 2 cups of cashews with 1 cup cashew butter. Raw cashew butter gives it the best flavor.

Reader Feedback: Have you made a cashew cheesecake before? Any other dairy-free desserts you love, or would like for me to recreate?

This dairy-free cheesecake is surprisingly creamy, thanks to a blended cashew filling that's packed with a sneaky serving of vegetables. When served straight from the freezer, it has a texture remarkably similar to the real thing! #nobake #cashewcheese #cheesecake #dessert #healthy #recipe #zucchini

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Comments

Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

Thank you!!!!

(And frankly, I think cheesecake pudding sounds just delicious as well…not that I think it will last long enough from freezer to mouth to get there.)

Anya @ Fitness & Sunshine

thank you SO much for this recipe! It’s so simple. 🙂 I hope to make it in the near future to try it out.

SheFit

oh yum! This recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing it.

April @ Crazy Fabulous Life

That sounds amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe.

Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun

Zucchini in cheesecake?! Thanks certainly different…can you taste the zucchini? 🙂
Thanks,
Erika

    Naomi

    I just made it and no, you can’t taste the zucchini at all!

lynn @ the actors diet

amazing! i am so impressed…

Holly @ couchpotatoathlete.wordpress.com

Wow this looks so good! And I have a few zucchinis, this is so tempting to try.

evergreen(happy raw kitchen)

What a beautiful, creative recipe, and I love your cute plates! Thanks for posting 🙂

Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)

This looks AMAZING! Andy and I tried raw cheesecake at the Foodbuzz Festival last year and have been wanting to try it again since. I never would have imagined that zucchini would be good in it. I need to try this.

Rebecca

You must be kidding me. That’s the healthiest cheesecake i’ve ever seen 🙂 and it looks the best! thanks for the recipe 🙂 i’m definitely going to have to make this soon!

G

Can you use stevia instead of honey? will it affect texture?

    Megan

    Using stevia might affect the texture AND flavor, but it’s definitely worth a shot! If the cheesecake doesn’t hold together for you when using the stevia, you could add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil to the mix– which would help it solidify in the freezer.

    Let me know if you try it!!

Amanda @ The Artsy Kitchen

Aaaah, this looks so good! I can’t believe it has zucchini in it, what a great idea! I am bookmarking this, because I have to try it, it’s hard to find non dairy cheesecake recipes that don’t involve soy!

Em

This is a MUST HAVE TRY!! Thanks for sharing!
Check out my new blog if you have time
http://www.pureglowsixteen.blogspot.com
Thanks!

Courtney

If I don’t have cashew butter, can I try another butter??? Sun butter? Almond butter?

Amanda

I finally got around to trying this recipe and I am SO impressed! I had to make some substitutions based on what I had on hand: walnuts added to the crust since I didn’t have enough pecans, a yellow squash instead of zucchini, and almond butter instead of cashew butter for the filling. But I am floored by how delicious and healthful this is! I even came up with a fun idea for how to use the rest of the pie crust, and I’ve posted the recipe on my blog here:

http://salubriousnoms.blogspot.com/2011/07/getting-your-dessert-on-raw-reverse.html

Thanks, as always, for your wonderful ideas and inspiration!

    Megan

    So glad you enjoyed it!! Good to know that the almond butter worked as a substitute, too!

Alicia @beingLA

I’m in love with your recipes! This cheesecake looks so yummy. Thank you!

Vicky (Sweet and Healthy Living)

I love that this cheesecake doesn’t have a bunch of oil in it! i will be trying this out! Thank you for the recipe!

Lauren

I just tried this recipe and was amazed and delighted at how much it tasted like “regular” cheesecake, made with cream cheese. I used agave instead of honey and added nutmeg to the crust, but otherwise followed the recipe and it really came out great! I am on day 4 of a 21-day cleanse and am really excited by all of the recipes on your website. Thanks so much!

Lisa

how many servings does this make? and has anyone tried substituting something like avocado, pumpkin, or mashed banana for the nut butter? I don’t have any nut butters at the moment…

Myssi

Had this last night with a glass of your homemade coconut milk and it was amazing! I’ve given up a lot of foods in the last couple of weeks and with things like this I don’t even feel deprived at all. Thanks so much for your recipes!

Grace

Would cucumber work for this recipe? I’m not quite familiar with the texture of zucchini so I dont know how substituting with cucumber would effect it. Unfortunately we currently have no zucchini.

Thanks!

    Megan

    Cucumber is more watery, and may alter the flavor a bit, so you’d have to experiment with that. If yellow squash are available, that would work as a zucchini substitute, too!

Grace

I am really really these recipes, I’m on a candida cleanse diet right now and its becoming tons easier to follow as i try these recipes and look at other vegan/ sugar/ gluten free blogs… thanks a ton!! 😉

Grace

really really liking*

Grace

I’ve also realized the longer i dont consume candida irritating foods, the less I crave the stuff! This is great! I had a cucumber with cayenne and salt/ plain yogurt for breckfast and unsweetend almond butter as a snack and I am completely satisfied! I am not even hungry for lunch! I think I’ll do a green smoothie later!

Megan

I used a little more zucchini than called for and filled 20 cups in a mini muffin tin. I also put a rounded 1/2tsp of your graham cracker crust in the middle of each. Using My Fitness Pal I came up with 75 calories for each. I used stevia and 1 Tbsp coconut oil in place of honey. I am so looking forward to these.

    Megan

    YUM!!! I hope they taste as delicious as they sound. 😉

Arlene

I just made this and it looked nothing like yours. Mine was light brown, not white. I’m not sure how it’s supposed to be white since the butter is brown and so is the vanilla. Am I doing something wrong?

    Megan

    Hmmm… the vanilla may affect the color slightly, but the cheesecake should primarily turn out the color of the cashews– which is an off-white color. (You can see in my pictures that my cheesecake isn’t pure white, in comparison to the bright white dots on the plate.)

    Did you use raw or roasted cashews? I believe raw cashews are lighter in color, so that would make a difference in both the color and flavor. Otherwise, I have no idea! I hope it tastes good, regardless. 😉

      Arlene

      Thanks for your reply. I bought the cashew butter at my local bulk barn. I’ll have to try it again and make my own butter with raw cashews. The stuff I bought looked very strangely like almond butter which is darker.

      The good news is, I decided to throw in some cocoa to make a chocolate cheesecake. Not bad for my first attempt! My 7 year old loves it! Of course he’s more on board for raw eating than the rest of the family. Gotta start them young!

Julie

I made a similar pumpkin cheesecake using cashew butter & pumpkin recently. You can also do a great crust out of almonds, coconut & dates.

    Megan

    I made a raw pumpkin cheesecake a couple years ago, and it was delicious! Might need to pull it out again this fall. 🙂

      Michelle

      Did you sub the pumpkin for the zuchinni or use both? If so, how much pumpkin? That sounds delish!!! Thanks 🙂

Randa

Found this via pinterest and made it yesterday. We ate it tonight and it is deeelish! Love the ingredients, amazing. Makes sense that zuchinni takes on the other tastes around it, since it doesn’t have a strong taste on its own.

I definitely taste the lemon, so for those who aren’t big on lemon flavor, they may want to decrease the amount.

Emily

What can you sub if allergic to tree nuts? I can do coconut, sunbutter, and peanuts but not any tree nuts. Would those take ok?

    Megan

    Sunflower butter might work, though I haven’t tried it myself. Any changes will definitely result in a different flavor, but I’m sure with a little experimentation, it will still be tasty!

Val

Hi, there wasn’t any info under the “for the crust” section. Is my computer glitching?

vanillka

Meg!!! I am so glad I found you!

And this recipe…It plays with my imagination and very soon I’ll make it!

Actually I am very keen on cooking and experimenting, but zucchini in a cheesecake wouldn’t come to my mind!
Thanks!
I’ll keep you under eye 😛

Spring

Hi! I have been dying to try this recipe but have 2 questions
1. Can squash zucinni replace zucinni? I did not find a zucinni in Publix last weekend
2. Where do I find raw cashew butter ?

Thanks!

viv

hi, can i substitute cashew butter with anything else? such as a banana or something? thank you!!

    Megan

    The cashew butter is pretty key in the flavor and texture of this recipe. You could use another nut butter, or coconut butter, for a similar texture, but the flavor will not be the same. I don’t think a banana would work.

    I also have a nut-free avocado cheesecake recipe to post in the near future, so stay tuned!

Shelby

Doubling the recipe? Are you nuts? I have made this 3 times and quadruple the recipe b/c it is so amazingly delicious and gets eaten so fast. This recipe goes in a special file labeled “heavenly”, and Inormally don’t even like regular cheesecake that much. This is way better, seriously.

Penny O

Another AMAZING recipe from the Detoxinista. Thank you SO MUCH Megan for the recipes. I am seriously converting my family to a healthier way of eating thanks to your blog.

I doubled the crust and the filling recipes for a 9″ springform pan. It’s in the freezer right now…setting up for a gluten-free Thanksgiving.

Paula

Thank you for another great recipe! Do the dates play a big role in taste?

    Megan

    They don’t add a specific flavor, but they do add sweetness and an extra helping of fiber and nutrients. You can replace with extra honey, if you prefer.

      Paula

      Thank you! I got medjool dates and made this delicious cheesecake this weekend!! It is incredible and almost gone! Only one slice left! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

Kailey

This looks so good. Too bad I am allergic to zucchini and cashews. This is still really ingenious. Thank you for sharing!

Tina

Megan, help please! I love your website and make many of your recipes. I was so excited to make this, but it did not turn out anything like yours! I followed the recipe exactly. Instead of looking delectable like the pictures, the filling turned out super thick, sticky and dark in color. More like a fudge texture, nothing like a fluffy cheesecake! Not sure what went wrong. Should I have soaked the cashews before making it into butter? Maybe it was the raw honey I used, the texture was thick and dark in color. I am determined to make this again, the right way!! Any suggestions would be great. Thank you!!
P.S. Although the texture didn’t turn out right, it still was super delicious and I ended up cutting it into squares and eating it like raw fudge!!

    Megan

    The honey could definitely affect the color, and maybe it added to the thickness, too? I would try using a lighter raw honey, or maybe try adding some extra zucchini, which helps thin the batter. This raw version doesn’t get quite as “fluffy” as traditional cheesecake, but the batter should be runny enough to pour out of the blender easily.

    I don’t care for the texture of soaked cashews, so I don’t recommend doing that, unless you’re going to dry them before blending. It ruined a cheesecake for me once!

Hannah

Does any one know of anything that could be substituted for the cashew butter? Possibly soy butter or something to that effect due to a nut allergy…

    Megan

    Please review the comments above. I’ve never tried anything of the substitutes, so you’ll have to experiment and let us know if you have any success!

    zosia

    coconut butter?
    sunflower seed butter?
    tahini (sesame seed paste)?
    pumpkin seed butter?

    try seeds 🙂

Mik

OMG! I made these (left out the honey and made my own cashew butter) right before my Whole30 (it ended up being a Whole34) and I completely forgot about them in the freezer. I found them last week and GOODNESS ME are they ever good! Literally *just* like cheesecake but without all the creepies!

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