Get excited – I’m about to rock your world with this raw, vegan, gluten-free “cheesecake” that neither cheese nor cake. Before you roll your eyes and groan, trust me when I say even the most skeptical dessert aficionados will like this one (I tested this on my meat & dairy-loving neighbor).
THE SKINNY ON MATCHA
First off, let’s talk about matcha: the earthy, richly-flavored green tea powder dates back to feudal Japan, where it was only available to shogun and nobility due to its very limited production. Zen Buddhist monks cultivated green tea in the shade to maximize its therapeutic benefits, grinding the leaves into fine powder that was then used in tea ceremony rituals. Today, you can find matcha flavor in many Japanese desserts, from ice cream to cream puff fillings. Matcha is full of antioxidants, and is said to boost memory and enhance calmness.
ADDITIONAL GOOD STUFF
This recipe for raw cheesecake has the benefits of matcha, plus additional nutrients from the lemon (aiding in digestion and detoxification along with some vitamin C), healthy fats from the nuts and coconut in several forms, and a big handful of spinach that provides a boost of vitamins, minerals, iron, folate, and much more.
RAW VEGAN MATCHA CHEESECAKE
1 cup organic dried coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw walnuts
7 Medjool dates, seeded and soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes
2 C raw cashews (soaked in water for 4-8 hours, drained and rinsed)
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey) or stevia to taste (start with just a few drops)
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 T organic vanilla
1 cup coconut oil, melted
20 g cocoa butter, melted
Lemon Cheesecake Layer
1/2 cup organic lemon juice
2 T culinary matcha (regular matcha can work too)
2 C baby spinach (about 2 handfuls)
Juice of one lemon (optional)
You will also need:
Springform pan (8″) or smaller for a thicker filling layer
Blender (a high speed blender like the Vitamix will make the best filling, but use what you have!)
To assemble the crust, put the nuts and coconut into the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a chunky flour. Add the drained dates and pulse until the mixture starts to stick together. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan to make the crust – set aside.
For the filling, put all of the filling ingredients minus the lemon & matcha layer ingredients into the blender, puree until smooth. Put half of the mixture into a bowl, then add the lemon juice to the blender and mix again to make the lemon layer. Pour mixture into the springform pan on top of the crust, then return the pitcher to the stand, adding the reserved filling back to the pitcher along with the spinach, optional lemon, and just 1 tablespoon of matcha powder. Blend again until smooth and taste the filling – if it needs a stronger matcha flavor, add more powder, then taste again. (I do use the entire 2 tablespo
Note – matcha has a very strong, grassy flavor, so this layer may taste a little bitter and earthy. However, when the cake is fully assembled, the tartness of the lemon layer will cut the matcha flavor in a really pleasant way.
Pour the matcha filling over the lemon layer, cover with clingfilm and then place in the freezer or fridge for a few hours, until it is firm. To serve, simply slice and eat! You can also opt to put one final dusting of matcha powder over the finished cheesecake.