Recipe test: Adventures in vegan dessert

I take issue with vegan recipes that are labeled with non-vegan terminology. So when a vegan recipe is called "lime cheesecake," if I make it, I'm going to call it what it is: Lime-Avocado-Coconut-Cashew Icebox Dessert.

Do you still want to eat it?

I made it this weekend.

The inspiration to make it came from my weekly Splendid Table email, which featured a review of the new Vegan: The Cookbook by Jean-Christian Jury. The picture of the so-called cheesecake wowed me with its bright green color flecked with darker shades of lime zest. Marble-counter backdrops also suck me into recipes. They make pretty much any food look good. In any case, I had a number of ingredients in my pantry (dates, coconuts, raw cashews) that needed to be used up, and I loved that I didn't need to turn on the oven at all, so I scheduled this into my Sunday.

This is a raw dessert. The things that hold it together and give it bulk are presumably healthy fats and oils, i.e., cashews, coconut oil, avocado; plus some healthy-seeming sugar sources, like maple syrup and dates. It's very trendy, and the ingredients don't come cheap. Even shopping at Trader Joe's, you will spend $16 on the two bags of raw cashews alone. I had to go elsewhere for the cacao nibs, which set me back another $6. This is not a sustainable lifestyle for me.

For a one-off, though, it was fun to try as I attempt to add to my repertoire of recipes to satisfy a variety of eaters. And I should say that if a show created by Lynne Rosetto Kasper, i.e., The Splendid Table, publicizes a recipe, I give it the benefit of all doubt, so I soldiered on despite any skepticism.

All in all, it was quite simple to make. I'd made a similar sort of crust for Thanksgiving a couple years ago for a vegan pumpkin pie. Dates and coconut pair well with warm spices, so I was curious how it would fare with a tangier topping. When it came to making the topping though, it seemed to be missing that vibrant green color (I was likely fooled by color correction) and the bright citrus flavor. I blame the avocado for both of these things. I froze it and later placed it in the fridge, as specified, and when it came time to cut into it, it looked even less appealing. You could see all the grainy cashew bits and it didn't look super creamy. Maybe that's just under-processing on my part. When I went in for that first bite, I was even more glad I refused to call it a cheesecake. And it most definitely needed more lime. But it wasn't bad.

I saved us a small portion to keep in the fridge and I took the rest to work. I told my coworkers what it was (not a cheesecake), sent them the link, and to my astonishment, people were actually liking it. They probably didn't love it, but everyone I talked to seemed a little surprised they liked it. One of my coworkers who is into the raw/vegan diet gave me two thumbs up. Another forwarded the recipe to a friend she knew would love it. And another thanked me for not calling it cheesecake ("It was better knowing what I was eating," she said. Exactly.)

I probably won't make this again, but it was fun to try. Let me know if you make it or if you have a favorite nutcake-disguised-as-cheesecake recipe.

Here's the link to the recipe: Lime Cheesecake


  1. I've eaten a piece of vegan cheesecake up at Shangri-La Tea House (on Federal Way) once, and it tasted like real cheesecake. I'd try this too, it looks yummy. And your slicing skills are so on point!