The best (and most delicious) holiday is quickly approaching. Whether you’re heading to a Friendsgiving potluck or hosting your entire family, there’s a good chance you or someone you share a kitchen with is on dessert duty.
After a meal of rich, savory dishes, a great dessert is one that doesn’t make you feel as gluttonous as you may have just been. It’s an added plus if you make something that can please everyone–including your gluten-free and vegan friends and family. And on top of that? Make something that’s gentle on the Earth, which tends to happen when you exclude dairy or animal products.
So, the EarthHero team set out to find a delicious dessert that can check all of your boxes this season. (Drumroll please….)
Enter: Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites
You may be thinking something like: Vegan Cheesecake? How is that possible? What does it taste like?
Here is where you trust us. We tested them out on someone with celiac, a dairy lover, and a someone who “doesn’t like sweets.” It passed all of our tests!
What tools you’ll need:
Before we started, we made sure to have:
- A food processor or blender
- Measuring bowls
- Molded Bamboo Measuring Spoons
- Molded Bamboo and Silicone Spatula
- Muffin trays and compostable baking cups
The best part of no-bake recipes? You can snack the whole time you’re making it! Every single step of this recipe makes for a delicious sneaky bite, from the date and nut crust to the blended pumpkin filling.
Hint: If you make a little extra crust, you can ball up the leftover mixture for an easy grab-and-go breakfast snack!
The recipe calls for using plastic wrap to line the bottom of the cupcake tray, but we opted for a more plastic-free method! We tested out lining the pan with compostable muffin cups, as well as a batch where we greased the tray with coconut oil. We strongly suggest the former. The coconut oil method put up a little too much of a fight, and though the finished product was still delicious, it wasn’t party-pretty!
To press the crusts into the pan, we turned to using one of those aforementioned Molded Bamboo Measuring Spoons, (but using your fingers works too!).
For the filling, we tried using a food processor at first, but just couldn’t get the mixture smooth enough. We switched to a high speed blender and achieved the creamy consistency we were going for!
While these bites are no-bake, they do take a bit of time to settle. After you’re done swirling in the cinnamon mixture, give yourself at least 4 hours before the big meal to freeze the finished bites. Additionally, we recommend pulling them out about 15-30 minutes before eating. This will allow them to keep a perfect chill while still having the chance to thaw in the center.
Now, we definitely didn’t come up with this recipe alone (we know about sustainability, but baking is a whole different world!) Check out the full recipe from Serving Realness below:
- 1 cup (around 6-7) pitted dates
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream (or your favorite milk alternative)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (we suggest using a little less)
- 1/3 cup organic pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice (or a combination of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Soak your cashews overnight. If you forget to do this, you can boil them for 1 hour, but soaked gives the best consistency.
Add crust ingredients to food processor, pulse until combined just enough to stick together. You may think the mixture looks a little too dry, but trust us–the crust sticks together fine once it’s chilled.
Press crust by rounded tablespoon into lined muffin tin. Once you’ve finished spooning them out, put them in the freezer to harden until you’re ready to add the filling.
Add Pumpkin Cheesecake ingredients to high speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy, which will take a few minutes.
Spoon cheesecake mixture into each muffin tin on top of the crust. Put in the freezer while you finish the next step.
Mix together the cinnamon swirl ingredients. Remove the tray from the freezer and plop a teaspoon of the mixture on top of each cheesecake bite. Swirl the mixture through with a skewer or knife, and set them back in the freezer to chill for approximately 4 hours.
Put back in freezer and chill for at least four hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before you’re ready to to serve them.
Remove from freezer, plate, and enjoy! There you have it – Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites that are sure to please everyone at this year’s Thanksgiving.
This blog was originally posted on November 20, 2017 and was most recently updated on November 23, 2022.