Creamy vegan strawberry cheesecake which is no bake and has no cashews. This is the best vegan strawberry dessert you can ask for!
What to expect from this recipe
This easy vegan strawberry cheesecake is:
- no bake
- nut free, dairy free and date free
- creamy and mousse-like
- perfect for as a Summer dessert, DIY Valentine's Day present or thoughtful vegan Mother's Day recipe!
Alternatively, check out my no bake lemon cheesecake recipe for a citrus version of this dessert.
If you prefer baked cheesecakes, make my baked vegan cheesecake recipe... and just top it with strawberries! I do not recommend blending strawberries into the filling of that recipe then baking it.... I tried and it turns an unpleasant brown colour.
Making the cookie crust
I wanted this no-bake vegan strawberry cheesecake to be indulgent and as close as possible to a classic cheesecake. So, I made a classic buttery cookie 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!
The key ingredients for this cheesecake are:
- Vegan cream cheese for that classic cheesecake taste and texture.
- Canned coconut cream which provides structure. I'd recommend buying full fat coconut cream rather than coconut milk as you'll get more of the thick creamy layer from canned coconut cream.
- A LOT of strawberries to pack this dessert with flavour. You can use either fresh or frozen (but defrosted) strawberries
- Sugar because it's a dessert!
- Lemon juice, to add tartness to the cheesecake.
The setting agents (and natural colour) for this cheesecake are:
- Cornstarch/flour, a thickening agent which helps maintain the creaminess of the filling. Also minimises the amount of coconut oil or agar.
- Coconut oil (or agar powder) to help the filling really set. Unlike traditional no bake cheesecakes, this recipe has no gelatine (which also makes it vegetarian).
- A little beetroot powder to give the dessert a beautiful pink colour and a real show stopper!
How to make a VERY fruity cheesecake
Now, this is the best vegan strawberry cheesecake because it's packed with 4 cups of strawberries including the topping!
To get an intense fruity 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:
- removes alot of water content thereby intensifying their flavour
- makes the cheeseecake more CREAMY without tasteless thickeners
- means we can avoid artificial strawberry flavouring.
Setting the cheesecake
This no-bake strawberry cheesecake has no cashews so we're setting it using other ingredients. Instead, we're using two thickening/setting agents (cornstarch and coconut oil). Why two ingredients?!
- A cheesecake set with only cornflour is more like a wobbly pudding/custard. Adding too much will make the filling grainy.
- Alternatively, a cheesecake set with only coconut oil will taste VERY coconutty.
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 coconut cream to help with this process!
At this point, we've essentially made a dairy-free strawberry custard.
Then add your strawberry coconut cream mixture to your dairy-free cream cheese mixture in the food processor. Process until combined to make your strawberry cheesecake filling. Easy!
How to decorate this strawberry dessert
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 this dairy-free cheesecake and added extra strawberries. Of course, you can skip the compote and just serve it with fresh berries on top!
Customizing the cheesecake
For a gluten-free cheesecake, simply use gluten-free cookies in the base.
For a refined sugar-free cheesecake, simply use maple syrup instead of cane sugar for the filling. For the crust, make sure you use (or make) refined sugar-free cookies.
Try substituting the cookies in the base with Oreos! You may also drizzle some chocolate ganache on top of the cheesecake.
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 is often found in containers. It's halfway between extra firm tofu and silken tofu. However, after blending, tofu is less firm than coconut cream so using tofu will result in a softer cake.
If you don't like the taste of coconut oil, use refined coconut oil, or even cacao butter or vegan white chocolate. However, there is MINIMAL coconut flavour (if any) in this cheesecake as it's overpowered by vegan cream cheese and strawberries.
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)! I personally prefer the cheesecake made with coconut oil as it's creamier and softer.
Simply use an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking tray and follow the recipe as is!
More vegan strawberry desserts
Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake
- ~2 cups (200g) plain sweet cookies, gluten free and/or refined sugar free if needed (note 1)
- ⅓ cup (75g) vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil, melted
Vegan strawberry cheesecake filling
- ~2 cups (480g) vegan cream cheese, room temperature (2 x regular tubs)
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, or light-coloured sweetener of choice
- 3 tablespoons (45g) melted coconut oil or cacao butter, or 2 tsp agar powder (note 2)
- 3 tablespoons (45g) lemon juice and zest, or to taste (around ½ lemon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder
- 3 cups (360g) fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 cup (240g) thick scoopable canned coconut cream, (note 3)
- ¼ cup (30g) corn starch / corn flour
- 1 teaspoon beetroot powder, to colour if ndeed
- 1 cup (120g) fresh strawberries, stems removed (you can even sub half with raspberries as they tend to be more vibrant)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch / corn flour
- Line a 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form or loose-bottom cake tin with baking paper.
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 your 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 of reduced strawberries 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 with the cream cheese mixture 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.
- 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.
- Substitute with oreos or chocolate cookies for an epic vegan oreo strawberry cheesecake!
- If you use agar powder, mix it with the coconut cream and corn flour/starch mixture. Then add it to the strawberry reduction.
- I don't recommend buying light canned coconut cream or canned coconut milk as they contain less 'thick scoopable cream' compared to regular canned coconut cream. Otherwise, you'll need to buy too many cans to get the required amount of coconut cream in the recipe.
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