Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

Creamy vegan strawberry cheesecake with no baking and no cashews! It's the best strawberry dessert you can ask for! Inspired by rainbownourishments.com
Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake is a no bake, nut free, date free, creamy and mousse-like perfect for Summer days, Valentine's Day or when you're craving strawberries!
Prep Time 40 mins
Course Dessert

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • cups (200g)  plain sweet cookies
  • ⅓  cup (75g) vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil, melted

Cheesecake filling

  • cups (480g)  vegan cream cheese (2 x tubs) room temperature
  • ½  cup (100g)  cane sugar, or light-coloured sweetener of choice
  • tbsp (45g)  melted coconut oil or cacao butter, or 2 tsp agar powder*
  • 3  tbsp (45g)  lemon juice and zest, or to taste (around ½ lemon)
  • tsp  vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder
  • 3  cups (360g)  fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup (240g)  canned coconut cream,  thick part only
  • ¼  cup (30g)  corn flour or corn starch
  • tsp  beetroot powder,  to colour if ndeed

To decorate

  • 1 cup (120g)  fresh strawberries stems removed (you can even sub half with raspberries as they tend to be more vibrant)
  • 1 tbsp  corn flour or corn starch

Instructions
 

To make the crust:

  • Add the cookies to a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of a 20 cm (8 inch) lined cake tin. Set aside.

To make the filling:

  • Add the cream cheese, sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice/zest and vanilla extract to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Add the strawberries and a dash of water to a medium-size saucepan over high heat. Simmer and mash with a fork or stick blender to help the strawberries break down. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to around ½ cup, heaped (~180g). It should be the texture of tomato pasta sauce.
  • Add the coconut cream and corn starch/flour to the saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Bring it to a gentle boil for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens up. The mixture may seperate which is normal!
  • Add the strawberry mixture to your food processor/blender and blend until as smooth as possible. If desired, add beetroot powder to colour. Pour the cheesecake filling into your cake tin and smooth the top. Chill the cheesecake the fridge for 4 hours or until set.

To decorate:

  • Add most of the strawberries and all the corn flour/starch to a small saucepan over high heat. Mash the strawberries with a fork or stick blender. Stir until thickened to a jam-like consistency. Sweeten if desired.
  • Just before serving, top the cheesecake with the strawberry compote and reserved strawberries. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 5 days.

Notes

Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

Creamy vegan strawberry cheesecake with no baking and no cashews! It's the best strawberry dessert you can ask for!
Vegan strawberry cheesecake on plate decorated with strawberry compote and fresh strawberries. Slice is lifted out on a cake server
 
 
 
 
This vegan strawberry cheesecake is:
  • no bake
  • nut free
  • date free
  • creamy and mousse-like
  • perfect for Summer days, Valentine's Day or when you're craving strawberries!
If you prefer baked cheesecakes, see my baked vegan cheesecake recipe... and top it with strawberries! I do not recommend blending strawberries into the filling of that cheesecake the baking it.... I tried and it turns an unpleasant brown colour.
Or if you prefer easier recipes, see my vegan strawberry cupcakes or red velvet cupcakes.
No bake vegan strawberry cheesecake on plate. Two slices cut out showing very creamy texture
 
 
 
 

Graham cracker crust

I wanted this vegan strawberry cheesecake to be indulgent and as close as possible to a classic unbaked cheesecake. So, I made a classic buttery graham cracker crust using common ingredients including:
  • Vegan-friendly sweet cookies
  • Melted vegan butter or melted coconut oil
  • Sweetener, if desired (I thought it was sweet enough)
 
I used a food processor to crush the cookies as that was the easiest. However, you can use a rolling pin and smash the cookies in a reusable silicon bag or in a large bowl!
When you press the crust into your cake tin, make sure you do it as firmly as possible!
Two image collage showing how to make the graham cracker crust for the vegan cheesecake
 
 
 
 

Filling for the vegan strawberry cheesecake

Lots of baked and no bake vegan cheesecakes rely on cashews or other nuts to make them creamy. This time, I really wanted to make a vegan cheesecake with NO cashews (and no need for a high-powered blender)! I used:
  • Vegan cream cheese for that classic cheesecake taste and texture.
  • Canned coconut cream which provides structure to the cheesecake.
  • A LOT of strawberries because I wanted the cheesecake to be packed with strawberry flavour.
  • Sugar because it's a dessert!
  • Lemon juice, to add tartness to the cheesecake.
  • Cornstarch/flour, a thickening agent which helps maintain the creaminess of a cheesecake. Also minimises the amount of coconut oil or agar.
  • Coconut oil (or agar powder) to help the cheesecake really set.
  • A little beetroot powder for extra colour. This is optional but it will make the cheesecake a show stopper!
Close up of extremely creamy slice of strawberry cheesecake. Compote is dripping down the cheesecake.
 
 
 

I PACKED this cheesecake with strawberries!

Now, this is the best vegan strawberry cheesecake because it's brimming with strawberries... 4 cups including the topping!
To get an intense strawberry flavour, I created a strawberry reduction on the stovetop. We start with 360g strawberries which need to be reduced to 180g. The final texture should be similar to tomato pasta sauce!
 
Reducing the strawberries also:
  • reduces their water content thereby intensifying their flavour
  • makes the cheeseecake more CREAMY without tasteless thickeners
  • means we can avoid artificial strawberry flavouring.
When I made cakes for customers and in my cookbook, I often reduced fruit on the stovetop to intensify their flavour. Sally's Baking Addiction also does this for her popular strawberry cake!
Two image collage of making the strawberry reduction. One image shows frozen strawberries in saucepan. Other image shows thick red liquid or strawberry reduction. The reduction has the same consistency as tomato pasta sauce.
 
 
 

Setting the cheesecake

Since this vegan strawberry cheesecake is no bake, we need to set it in other ways. I used double thickening/setting agents (cornstarch and coconut oil) because:
  1. A cheesecake set with only cornflour is more like a wobbly pudding/custard. Adding too much will give the cheesecake a powdery mouthfeel.
  2. Alternatively, a cheesecake set with only coconut oil can have a firm mouthfeel tastes VERY coconutty and can have an overly firm mouthfeel.
Cornflour is activated through HEAT. Since we're heating the strawberries on the stove, we might as well activate the cornflour at the same time. I added the coconut cream to help with this process!
Two image collage of strawberry custard mixture. First image shows uneven creamy pink mixture. Second image shows thick custard-like fruity mixture.
 
The above mixture is essentially a strawberry coconut cream custard. Then I added it to my cream cheese mixture and processed it until combined. Easy!
Two image collage of food processor. One image shows cream cheese mixture swirled in processor. Second image shows the same mixture but with strawberry custard in it.
 
 
 

Decorating the vegan strawberry cheesecake

Cheesecakes are best served with a sauce or compote as it helps cut through the creaminess.
I made a very quick strawberry compote to top the cheesecake then topped it with extra strawberries. Of course, you can skip the compote and just use the fresh strawberries!
Spoon scooping strawberry compote on vegan strawberry cheesecake
 

Ingredient substitutions for this vegan strawberry cheesecake

If you want a refined sugar free cheesecake, simply use maple syrup instead of the cane sugar for the filling. For the crust, make sure you use (or make) refined sugar free cookies.
To make the cheesecake coconut free, you can use firm silken (aka medium) tofu instead of coconut cream. Medium tofu is also known as 'traditional' tofu and often found in containers. It's half way between extra firm tofu and silken tofu. However, as tofu is less firm than coconut cream when blended, so your cheesecake will be softer.
If you don't like the taste of coconut oil, use refined coconut oil. However, the taste of the oil is overpowered by the vegan cream cheese and strawberries so you won't notice it as much as a cashew-based raw cake. You can also use cacao butter or vegan white chocolate instead of coconut oil!
You can use agar powder instead of coconut oil. Mix the agar powder with the coconut cream and heat it up with the strawberry reduction.
The below cheesecake is made with agar instead of coconut oil. You can see the texture is much more firm than the one made with coconut oil (above)!