Creamy vegan strawberry cheesecake which is no bake and has no cashews! It's the best vegan strawberry dessert ever!
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!
And for my USA and UK readers, consider this a better version of strawberry cheesecake drinks at Starbucks!
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 graham cracker crust
I wanted this vegan strawberry cheesecake to be indulgent and as close as possible to a classic no bake 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!
The key ingredients for this cheesecake are:
- Vegan cream cheese for that classic cheesecake taste and texture.
- Canned coconut cream which provides structure.
- A LOT of strawberries to pack this dessert with flavour.
- 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 brimming 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
Since this strawberry dessert is no bake, we need to set it in other ways. I used two thickening/setting agents (cornstarch and coconut oil) because:
- 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 the coconut cream to help with this process!
These ingredients and steps essentially makes a strawberry coconut cream custard.
Once you have the strawberry coconut cream mixture, add it to your cream cheese mixture in the food processor. Blitz it until combined then you have your strawberry cheesecake filling. Easy!
Decorating the 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 this cake and added extra strawberries. Of course, you can skip the compote and just serve it with fresh berries on top!
How to customise the cake
To make a gluten free strawberry cheesecake, simply use gluten free cookies in the base. If you want to take the cake to another level, substitute the cookies for oreos to make an oreo strawberry cheesecake! YUM :).
If you want a refined sugar free dessert, 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 it 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, 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. However, there is MINIMAL coconut flavour (if any) in this cheesecake as it's overpowered by vegan cream cheese and strawberries.
You won't notice the coconut oil flavour as much as a cashew-based raw cake. Alternatively, you can use cacao butter or vegan white chocolate instead of coconut oil!
If you want an oil-free strawberries cheesecake, 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)! I personally prefer the cheesecake made with coconut oil as it's creamier and softer.
See my other vegan cheesecake recipes
- Baked Vegan Cheesecake with berries
- Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake with pecan pie crumble (baked)
- Papaya Vanilla Cheesecake (baked)
- Blueberry, blackberry and ginger cheesecake (raw / unbaked)
Or my vegan strawberry recipes
Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake
- ~2 cups (200g) plain sweet cookies, gluten free and/or refined sugar free if needed*
- ⅓ cup (75g) vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil, melted
Vegan strawberry cheesecake filling
- ~2 cups (480g) vegan cream cheese (2 x tubs), room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) cane sugar, or light-coloured sweetener of choice
- 3 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)
- 1 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 starch / corn flour
- 1 tsp 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 tbsp corn starch / corn flour
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.
- 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.
*** I do not recommend buying canned coconut milk for this recipe. Full fat coconut milk contains less of the thick cream compared to canned coconut CREAM so you'll need too many cans to get to the required amount in the recipe!
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.