This refreshing and decadent Vegan Lemon Strawberry Frozen Cheesecake is a delicious dairy free twist on the classic. Make it your own by topping it with your favorite fruit!
I remember the first time I tried cheesecake. I was about 12 years old. Our aunt and uncle had just bought a house in Miami, and they invited us to spend New Year’s with them. I was so excited. As a kid I had always dreamed of traveling to the United States. Everything was so different, and “cool”. Even something like Tropicana orange juice was like, the greatest thing ever.
The day we arrived, my uncle took out a huge white box out of the refrigerator. Inside was this mile high cake, topped with glistening, bright red strawberries. I had never seen anything like it. Not that we didn’t have beautiful cakes in Spain, but that size? Nah.
It wasn’t long until I started sneaking into the house while everyone was in the pool to steal a little piece, along with a couple of pieces of super cool American candy. I was in sugar heaven.
Fast forward about 10 years. I was then a recently married, much slimmer, more disciplined 22-year-old nutritionist who had just moved to the US. One of my coworkers, who was also an unbelievable baker, shared with me her secret cheesecake recipe. The list of ingredients almost made me faint. The amount of sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol on that cake was probably enough give a coronary to an elephant. I did, however, make it for friends many, many times as per their request (with the proper warning, of course), and managed to never even try a piece. And no, absolute self-control is not one of my super powers… all I had to do was remember that ingredient list!
Fast forward 15 years… I’m still that same person (just a liiiitle bit older) but now, I’m a mad scientist wannabe, and experimenting in the kitchen has become one of my hobbies. My latest project? Vegan cheesecake. Vegan Lemon Strawberry Frozen Cheesecake, to be more specific. The goal? To lighten it up by cutting down calories, saturated fat and cholesterol, but still keeping it rich, creamy and decadent. And as a bonus, keeping it gluten-free just by using store-bought vegan gluten-free cookies. Now, we’re not saying this is a low-calorie recipe… It is still a rich dessert BUT, it’s definitely an improvement for the original recipe.
Here’s how we did it:
- For starters, we used 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to make the crust, as opposed to 1 ENTIRE STICK OF BUTTER. Right there, huge improvement
- As a base, instead of the traditional full fat, dairy cream cheese, we used GO VEGGIE Vegan cream cheese, which is lower in calories, has 25% less saturated fat and is dairy and cholesterol free
- For creaminess and to help hold the filling together, we used coconut cream instead of eggs, and vegan whipped topping for a little “fluff factor”
- And finally, a little lemon zest to add the zing and tang that both cream cheese and sour cream have (how’s that for a healthy swap?!)
One more thing, freezing the cake is a must in this case, in order to get the right texture. It thaws in no time, so you can enjoy it and refreeze any leftovers. Here’s a tip: if you know you are going to have leftovers, serve the strawberry topping on the side instead of on top the cake ( frozen fruit topping is not very appetizing!).
- 5oz vegan sugar cookies (we used gluten free cookies)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2– 8oz containers GO VEGGIE Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheese
- 1– 5.4oz can coconut cream (about 3/4 cup)
- 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegan whipped topping, slightly thawed
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced in half
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- To prepare the crust, place cookies in the food processor and pulse until they turn into fine crumbs. Add melted coconut oil and pulse a few more times. Press the cookie crumbs into a 7 inch spring for pan. Refrigerate until ready to use
- Combine vegan cream cheese, coconut cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract in the food processor. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and fold in whipped topping and lemon zest until well incorporated. Pour into prepared crust and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight
- To prepare the strawberry topping, combine strawberries, 1/2 cup water, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes
- Whisk together corn starch and the remaining 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl, until the corn starch is completely dissolved. Pour over the strawberries and stir well. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly and being careful not to mash the strawberries. Transfer to a wide bowl and let cool at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour
- While the topping cools, take the cheesecake out of the freezer so it starts to thaw. Cut into slices and spoon strawberry topping over each slice before serving