Monday, July 11, 2016

Mini Kiwi Cheesecakes (vegan, raw, gluten-free)

These Mini Kiwi Cheesecakes are creamy & delicious, as well as being vegan, raw and gluten-free. Made from all natural ingredients, they are handy to have in the freezer for when a craving strikes!

If you are new to a vegan or plant-based lifestyle, giving up cheesecake can seem like a daunting task. Thankfully, there's no need! Why not make your own delicious, nutrient-filled cheesecake that's not only vegan, but also raw and gluten-free? These mini kiwi cheesecakes are simple to make, use healthy ingredients (unlike traditional cheesecake) and can be kept in the freezer so they're handy when a craving strikes or a friend drops by for tea.

You might have noticed that the kiwifruit in my photos is not the green colour you're accustomed to. That's because I used Zespri's SunGold Kiwifruit for this recipe. SunGold Kiwifruit's flesh has a lovely golden hue. It's sweeter than a green kiwifruit (although those are yummy too!) and tastes like a cross between a strawberry and a mango. The SunGold Kiwi has a smooth, hairless skin and juicy flesh. Kiwifruit is one of the staple fruits in my kitchen, because, while berries only last a day or two, SunGold Kiwifruit lasts 3 to 7 days at room temperature and can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks once ripe.

Ideal for both sweet and savoury recipes, Zespri Kiwifruit also makes a convenient, healthy snack - simply cut and scoop! During the school year, I cut kiwifruit in half and pack it in my kids' lunches, along with a spoon. It's fruit that they will actually eat, because it's sweet and delicious and the cut and scoop method makes it fast and easy to eat during short snack breaks. Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit is in supermarkets from May to October, so it's handy for summer camp lunches too.

My mini vegan cheesecakes start with a simple, nutritious and raw crust. All it requires is putting walnuts, dates, coconut oil and salt in a food processor and blending for a couple of minutes.

We're not looking for a super smooth, blended crust here, but rather a "rough" crust that sticks together.

Ever on the lookout for simplicity, I like to make my mini cheesecakes in paper muffin cups. It's much easier to get them out of the pan, for one, and you don't need to buy any fancy mini cheesecake dishes.

The vegan cheesecake filling starts with healthy, wholesome cashews (great for protein, vitamins and minerals) and a SunGold Kiwifruit for gentle sweetness (as well as vitamin C - SunGold Kiwifruit contains more than three times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges!). The rest of the filling ingredients are natural and healthy too - rich, creamy canned coconut creamer, maple syrup (for natural sweetness), coconut oil (for healthy fat), fresh lemon juice and vanilla.

The mixture blends together easily in a food processor. Here is the creamy cheesecake filling, dished into muffin cups, above. From there, just cover the muffin tray with plastic wrap and pop it into the freezer for a couple of hours. So simple.

Once the vegan mini cheesecakes are set, lift them out of the muffin tray (using a knife to guide them out if needed) and gently remove the paper liner.

Top each mini cheesecake with a slice of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit and serve!

No need to long for cheesecake again!

To elevate your dessert to an even higher level, add some more natural sweetness with a quick, raw kiwi sauce, made simply from kiwifruit, maple syrup and fresh lemon juice.

This kiwi sauce is so delicious, you'll want to drizzle it on ice cream and cake too!

You can feel good knowing that these rich, creamy mini cheesecakes are boosting your nutrient intake while satisfying your dessert cravings too. Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit contains vitamin E, potassium and fibre - two kiwifruit contain about the same amount of fibre as a bowl of bran flakes (and are much more fun to eat!). Good news for those with digestive issues - actinidin, a natural digestive enzyme found only in kiwifruit, increases the breakdown of proteins, improving digestive comfort.

Visit the kiwifruit experts at Zespri for more incredible recipes using this beneficial fruit.

What's your favourite way to eat kiwi?

Raw Vegan Mini Kiwi Cheesecakes

by Joann MacDonald
Keywords: dessert gluten-free vegan raw
Ingredients (12 mini cheesecakes)
    For The Crust
    • 1 cup raw walnut pieces
    • 3/4 cup medjool dates (8 or 9 dates), pitted
    • ½ Tbsp coconut oil
    • Pinch of salt
    For The Filling
    • 2 cups cashews, soaked in warm water for 4 hours (or overnight in the fridge) and then drained
    • 1 Zespri SunGold kiwi, peeled and quartered
    • ½ cup canned coconut creamer
    • ¼ cup maple syrup
    • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
    • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    For The Kiwi Sauce
    • 1 fresh kiwi, peeled and quartered
    • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


    Line a muffin tray with paper cups.

    For The Crust
    Pulse walnuts in food processor until they are ground but still crumbly. It should only take seconds. Add coconut oil, dates and salt. Process until mixture sticks together. Press about a tablespoon of the mixture into each muffin cup.

    For The Filling
    Blend all filling ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides, 2 minutes or more depending on the power of your small appliance. Spoon mixture into muffin cups. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours to set.

    For The Kiwi Sauce
    Puree ingredients for kiwi sauce and drizzle over mini cheesecakes before serving. Or, top each mini vegan cheesecake with a kiwi slice.
    Store in the fridge or freezer.

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    *This post is sponsored by Zespri Kiwifruit. All opinions are authentic and my own. Thank you for supporting the awesome companies that partner with Woman in Real Life.


    1. a healthy cheesecake? who would have thought - thx!

    2. Yum! Kiwis are so underrated!

      1. You are so right! Sometimes they get forgotten about, but they are great for so many things - a fruit platter, to top non-dairy yogurt or even on the grill! :)

    3. What a great naturally sweetened recipe!

    4. I think I need to make these this weekend! These look so good!

    5. These sound so good and look so pretty!

    6. These look so good!! I love eating kiwi in smoothie bowls :)

      1. Yes, kiwi is awesome in smoothie bowls - I agree!

    7. Oh. My. Yumminess.
      These look absolutely scrumptious!!

    8. Kiwi's, Yay!! These look incredible!