Most Decadent Vegan Raspberry “Cheesecake”

I went to Hangawi with my family in New York City a week ago. I have to say, best vegan/vegetarian food ever. The portion sizes were really small, but the food was just phenomenal. Anyway, I’m not trying to write a restaurant review. The reason I am bringing this restaurant up is because that night, for dessert, I had a soy tofu cheesecake that was made in-house. Oh my god, I cannot even describe to you how delicious it was, especially for a vegan cake! I ended up having two despite the large dinner I had already had 😛 And, I’ve been craving to have another slice ever since so I decided to experiment with making my own version of a homemade tofu “cheesecake”! I wasn’t sure how this would come out, but man, was it delicious. I made a raspberry flavored “cheesecake” because I just love that fruit. Ah, this recipe is to die for honestly. I made this cake for a family dinner. Everyone loved it, which was surprising! And the guests didn’t even believe it was vegan and made out of tofu! When I told them, my mom’s friend first reacted with hesitation, afraid that it wouldn’t taste that good. She told me after eating it that she loved the crust, the creaminess, the texture, and the sweetness. Both her husband and her as well as my parents agreed that it wasn’t too sweet and just perfect that they wanted to surprise others with this cake without telling them first that it is vegan and made out of tofu. I couldn’t find a recipe online that I liked so I tried to make my own and used all natural sugars and increased the amount of cashews and tofu I used instead of using vegan cream cheeses or sour creams like most recipes. This way, the cake was healthier and more guilt-free – in fact, each slice is only ~ 200 calories, has a whooping 10g of protein, and only 2g of saturated fat, which is so low compared to your typical cakes or even store-bought vegan cakes! 🙂 Let me know if you like it! I was overjoyed when I had my slice and so were the guests so I really hope you are too.

** If you want to make a raw cake, follow steps 1 – 8 and then simply place your cake covered with some saran wrap into the fridge and it will harden and you can enjoy it in a few hours!
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The Recipe

Yields 9 ” cake (~ 10 – 12 servings)

3/4 cup cashews, soaked either overnight or for about four hours till soft

3/4 block extra firm tofu (~12 oz)

1/2 – 3/4 cup agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, or barley malt syrup

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup almonds (you need a total of 1 cup nuts so I used half of almonds and half of walnuts, but you may choose to use your own blend of pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.)

1/2 cup walnuts 

12 deglet noor dates or 8 medjool dates, pitted

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 cup shredded coconut

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Directions

1. Soak the cashews overnight or for ~ 4 hours till they are expanded and soft.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Soak the dates in some water for a few minutes.

3. In the meantime, as the dates are soaking, grind your choice of one cup of nuts, cinnamon powder, and coconut together.

4. Throw in the dates and grind the entire mixture again. It should become sticky.

5. Spray a 9″ inch pan slightly and press the nut and date mixture onto the pan to form a nice crust layer.

6. Drain the cashews. Blend them together with the tofu, your choice of natural sugar sweetener (I used agave nectar), vanilla extract, and lemon juice.

   

7. Once you have a creamy texture, throw in your raspberries and blend together. 

8. Using a spatula, pour the blended “batter” into the pie crust and spread evenly, making a swirl pattern. 

9. Bake for ~ 20 minutes at 350 F and if you want to bake the crust some more (but be sure to periodically check to make sure it doesn’t get burnt), you can bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes at a lower temperature – I used 250 F. 

10. Store in the refrigerator by covering with some saran wrap or in an air tight container.

11. The delicious raspberry “cheesecake” is ready to serve the next day! Just cut and yummmm!!

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Delicious Ginger Granola

Granola: the tastiest thing created, ever, no joke. On the train today, I just needed some granola. It was a terrible craving – I was feeling very lost without it, as sad as that sounds. I basically just love crunchy things so it was understandable. Well, guess what I decided to pop into the oven when I got home today! Some delicious, whole grain (shh don’t tell anyone that it’s so healthy), fruit and nut granola clusters!! And, I used an additional secret whole grain just to make this granola a COMPLETE PROTEIN! Wooo 🙂 talk about awesome. The granola clusters have the perfect amount of ginger spice to them, the dried fruit and barley syrup gives it some sweetness, while the nuts add some more crunchiness along with the toasted oats and quinoa! It’s really a perfect granola blend – simply delicious.

This recipe for granola provides all the essential proteins, carbohydrates, and essential fats (nuts and almond butter)! It’s very low in sodium, very low in saturated fat, low sugar, gluten-free, dairy-free, whole grain, high in fiber, no cholesterol, and high in vitamins and minerals like magnesium! Like seriously, just check out the nutrition facts per serving – yeah, maybe the calories freak you out at first, but the calories are all coming from healthy monounsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and protein! The sugar content is only 20% of the recipe and half of that sugar content is completely natural, and the saturated fat isn’t even 1g! Soooo, I don’t see anyone stopping you from eating a little extra if you wanted 🙂

Per Serving Nutritional Information (total 12 servings): 

Calories: 221

Protein: 7.5g

Carbs: 30g

Sugar: 6.0g

Fiber: 5.75g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 5mg

Fat: 8.33g

Monounsaturated Fat: 2.75g

Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.33g

Saturated: 0.75g

 

Whenever you make a homemade lentil mix or granola, you need to have the following basic ingredients that I learned from Sally (here) and if you have them, you can literally make any flavor you want!

1. The grain/lentil

2. The add-ins you plan to toast (nuts/seeds)

3. The add-ins you plan to mix (dried fruit, chocolate)

4. A sticky sweetener (honey, barley malt, maple, or brown rice syrups, etc.)

5. A sticky binding (nut butter, applesauce, oil, etc.)

So, let’s break down my recipe:

This granola recipe is primarily centered around oats and quinoa, two whole grains that are high in dietary fiber and protein. In fact, quinoa is considered a complete protein, making this granola recipe just the perfect daily snack for anytime of the day! Oats have been proven to lower the risk of heart diseases, stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduce cholesterol. And, since these oats will be freshly baked, you will be getting the best of these benefits rather than only half of them, which is what you would get from processed granola. What could be healthier?! Moreover, if you noticed the ingredients list, I chose to use barley malt syrup as my sticky sweetener because this syrup provides more natural sugar sweetness to the granola and actually has an extra boost on protein! Even more, its robust flavor is delightful with the fruit and nut blend and its stickiness really helps to form the granola pieces into delicious, crunchy clusters. Yummm, I hope you enjoy!

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The Recipe

Yields about 5 1/2 cups (12 – 16 Servings)

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1 cup dry quinoa, uncooked

3 tbsp barley malt syrup

2 tbsp almond butter

2 tsp cinnamon powder

2 tsp ginger powder

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

4 tbsp flaxseed, ground

1/4 cup almonds, diced into small pieces

4 tbsp (52 g) chia seeds

1/2 cup raisins

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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

2. Line a large baking sheet with some parchment or wax paper. Or, use a baking pan and spray with PAM.

3. In a large mixing bowl, throw together the oats, quinoa, flax, nuts, cinnamon, and ginger.

4. In another smaller bowl, mix together the almond butter and barley malt syrup. You want it to be a very smooth and liquid-like mixture so heat for 30 seconds if needed or add some more of each ingredient till you get the consistency you want.

5. Pour the melted almond butter and barley syrup mixture into the large mixing bowl and stir all of the ingredients together. You want the syrup to coat all of the oats and quinoa.

6. Spread onto the baking sheet and bake for ~ 15 minutes. Remove and mix the granola around so you bake all of the sides evenly and don’t burn anything. Baking for another ~ 10 more minutes. I did my granola in two batches since it didn’t all fit on my pan.

7. Remove the granola and make sure the oats are golden (that indicates that they are completely toasted). Cool for about five minutes and then mix in with the raisins. The hot granola with melt the raisins a tiny bit, helping to form even more granola clusters!

8. Let the granola completely cool and then store in an air-tight container. Enjoy!!