Vegan vanilla bean cheesecake is a great dairy-free dessert option for anyone who’s lactose-intolerant or has cut dairy out of their diet. It’s also a somewhat healthier dessert option, clocking in at around 355 calories and 18 g of fat (5g from saturated fat) per slice (sans toppings, of course), in comparison with regular cheesecake, which can pack 400-500+ calories, with 28 g or more of fat (12 g or more from saturated fat) for a single slice served plain. I served mine with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and fresh berries, but this would also be good with a variety of other toppings, like cherries and whipped coconut cream. You could even make this into a vegan caramel turtle cheesecake by topping it with chocolate, vegan caramel sauce, and chopped candied nuts.
Preheat oven to 375° F and line a spring-form pan with parchment paper. Brushing both sides of the parchment with a little melted plant butter or margarine will help the parchment adhere to the pan better, and will make it easier to peel the parchment off of the crust once your cheesecake is done.
In a small bowl, mix the graham crackers, vegan butter, brown sugar and vanilla bean paste together, and press the mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan.
Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
In a stand mixer, beat together the vegan cream cheese, tofu, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and lemon juice until smooth and creamy.
With mixer on slow, slowly add the corn starch and flour a little at a time until fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the spring-form pan and bake for one to two hours. One hour results in a softly set, pale cheesecake; two hours produces a firmly set cheesecake with an evenly browned top (don’t worry, the top shouldn’t crack, even without a water bath).
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool on a counter top for one hour (the top will deflate a bit, this is normal).
- Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake, and remove from springform pan. Peel the parchment off from the bottom of cheesecake, and transfer cheesecake to a plate.
Tent with foil and place the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 3 hours, to set up.
- Slice and serve.
Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 269mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1.5mg
You can find vegan cream cheese and vegan butter in the refrigerated natural section of most large grocery stores. I used GO VEGGIE’s vegan classic plain cream cheese and Country Crock’s plant butter with almond oil (since that’s what my grocery store had in stock), but there are a lot more vegan cream cheese brands available these days, like Tofutti, Daiya, and Follow Your Heart- if you’re cooking on a budget, you might want to try Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese.
In your grocery store travels, you will more than likely come across a “dairy-free” cream cheese that isn’t actually vegan. This may not be a huge issue for some people, but if you are serving this to someone who adheres to a strict vegan diet or has a dairy allergy, then you’ll need to read your labels carefully. A quick glance at the ingredient list near the nutrition label should have all the info you need to figure out whether a product is really vegan or not. The fastest way to tell will be to look at the allergen list – if it says “Contains Milk,” then the product contains some milk product or derivative (usually casein, lactose, or whey). You can also look for the green V or “Vegan” label on the packaging to see if it is a completely vegan product.
If you can’t find vegan cream cheese in your area, or you want to do a little further kitchen experimentation, you can try making your own from scratch. A lot of DIY vegan cream cheese recipes call for cashews though, so you may have to do a little research to find a recipe that doesn’t use nuts if you’re making this for someone with a tree-nut allergy.