For Chatelaine’s video series, Vegan It! with Lauren Toyota, the former MuchMusic VJ and current YouTube star and cookbook author, demonstrates how to create vegan versions of everyone’s favourite comfort classics — like grilled cheese and caesar salad — without elaborate recipes or compromising on taste.Vegan Lasagna! How To Make This Classic Dish Without Meat Or Cheese
In this Vegan It episode:
Lauren makes sweet, tangy and creamy cheesecake. Here are her secrets for:
Making the vegan cheesecake crust:
To replicate the flavour of a graham cracker crust (store bought graham crackers usually contain honey), Lauren mixes ground oats with brown sugar and vegan butter, available at most grocery stores. Not only is her crust vegan, it’s also gluten-free.
Blending together the dairy-free cheesecake filling:
Like many creamy vegan recipes, this one calls for raw cashews. When whirred through a high-speed blender, the nuts (after being plumped up thanks to a hot water bath) transform into a super smooth liquid that looks a lot like Alfredo sauce. Along with the cashews, Lauren uses soft tofu, vegan cream cheese, granulated sugar and lemon zest as well as lemon juice to mimic that cheesy tang.
Creating a fruity dessert topping:
While plain cheesecake can be delish, Lauren likes to top hers off with a fruity compote. She’s partial to using blueberries, but she says any fresh or frozen berry would work well. To make her fruit-filled topping, she reduces blueberries with sugar and lemon juice. She then lets this jewel-toned mixture cool before spooning it all over her cheesecake.
Vegan Cheesecake Recipe
MAKES: 8 to 10 servings
PREP TIME: 30 minutes, plus at least 4 hours for chilling the cheesecake
COOK TIME: 55 minutes
Vegan Cheesecake Ingredients
- 1 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes)
- 1 cup soft tofu
- 1 cup plain vegan cream cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
Vegan Cheesecake Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- To make the crust, in a food processor, pulse the rolled oats into a ﬂour. This should be a very ﬁne mixture with no large pieces of oats.
- Add the brown sugar, salt, and melted butter and pulse until the mixture comes together. It should press together when you pinch it. Press the mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 7 or 8-inch spring form pan. You can also press it into an 8- inch square baking dish. If using the square baking dish you can line it with parchment paper for easy removal or you can serve the baked cheesecake directly from the dish.
- To make the ﬁlling, drain and rinse the cashews. Place in a high-powered blender with the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth.
- Pour the ﬁlling on top of the crust.
- Bake for 45 minutes until the edges of the cheesecake are light golden brown. The center might look a bit soft, but it will ﬁrm up upon cooling. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely. Refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or overnight. Only once the cheesecake has chilled completely should you remove the sides of the spring form pan. Let the cake sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving to remove the chill.
- To make the topping, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 6 minutes. Let cool before serving over the cheesecake. There is enough blueberry compote to put a good portion on top of the cheesecake and have some extra to add to individual servings.
- Store leftover cheesecake in the fridge for up to 7 days.