Np-Bake Vegan Cheesecake Bars (Lemon)

these are unbaked vegan cheesecake bars they are as delicious as they look. They are made with an easy and raw cashew and date crust and the cheesecake filling is based on cashew and coconut cream.

lemon bars with raspberries and cashews on a plate.

This recipe was slightly updated on July 25, 2023.

Here at Fit Foodie Finds we are no-bake dessert girls. They are the perfect treat when you don’t want to use your oven.

These vegan cheesecake bars are lemon flavored and made with a chewy date and cashew crust (inspired by our Larabar Cashew Cookies recipe). The padding is next level. Soak cashews to soften, then gently mix with coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, and coconut oil.

What’s in these vegan cheesecake bars?

  • Raw Cashews: cashews are in both the crust and the filling. Be sure to buy raw, unsalted cashews as the filling will turn out much better. We tried these roasted and much preferred raw.
  • Dates: buying soft dates is important. Combined with ground cashews, they form the crust.
  • Coconut cream: For this recipe, we use coconut cream which is slightly different than full-fat coconut milk. You can find this in most grocery stores right next to the canned coconut milk!
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil will help with the setting process because it solidifies at room temperature!
  • Maple syrup: we are using maple syrup in these as a sweetener.
  • Lemon: We are going big with lemon flavors in this recipe. You will use the juice and zest.
a bowl of dates, cashews and lemons.

Ingredient Swaps and Variations

This vegan cheesecake is a great base to use and make. Don’t you love lemon? Use a different citrus like lime or orange or neither. You can even make this recipe in a springform pan and serve it looking more like classic cheesecake. Or mix it into a muffin pan as cheesecake bites.

Some advices

  • Soak your cashews: Soaking the cashews is extremely important to make the filling silky smooth. You can quickly soak them with boiling water or let them sit in a bowl of water overnight.
  • Mix the filling until smooth: be sure to mix the filling until smooth. You don’t want little lumps!
  • Letting rest in the freezer: we found it was important to leave the bars in the freezer for at least 2 hours because if they are too soft the bars will fall apart when cut.

Frequently asked questions

Why do you have to soak cashews for a vegan cheesecake?

To make a vegan cheesecake filling you must use soaked cashews. Soak cashews to soften them so you can easily mix them into a smooth cheesecake filling.

What is vegan cheesecake made of?

Vegan cheesecake is usually made with a cashew or coconut-based filling and some sort of no-bake crust, such as walnuts and dates.

Vegan Dessert Recipes

lemon bars with cashew nut cream and cashew nuts.

Storage

We recommend storing these bars in the freezer and allowing them to thaw slightly before eating. Definitely don’t store them on the counter as the warmer temperatures will cause them to melt and become too soft.

a stack of lemon bars topped with raspberries and walnuts.

How to serve vegan cheesecake bars

These bars are best eaten slightly thawed than frozen. We loved eating them with coconut whipped cream, but you could also serve them with whipped cream (not vegan). We also recommend serving with fresh lemon zest and the berry of your choice!

Instructions

  • Soften the cashews. Place two cups of cashews in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for at least an hour or overnight. This step is crucial as it softens the cashews into a creamy filling.

  • Prepare the crust. Add the cashews to a high speed food processor and blend on low until they turn into a cashew blossom. Add the pitted dates and ¼ teaspoon of salt. A process over high heat until the ingredients form a dough that forms a ball.

    peanut butter granola in a food processor.
  • Line a 9 × 9-inch pan with parchment paper. Gently press crust evenly into bottom of pan. Salt the top of the crust with the flaked sea salt. Set aside.

  • Once the cashews have soaked for the appropriate amount of time (the cashews should be soft and mushy), strain the cashew water. Transfer them to a high speed blender.

  • Add the cream of coconut, maple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the blender and blend on high speed until completely smooth and creamy.

    a food processor filled with lemons and walnuts.
  • When the filling has a smooth consistency, add coconut oil and mix one more time to fully combine all the ingredients.

    a food processor filled with cream cheese.
  • Transfer the cheesecake filling on top of the crust. Spread it out evenly with a spatula and garnish with lemon zest. Transfer pan to freezer for 1-2 hours to set.

  • When the bars are hard and ready to eat. Remove from the freezer and cut into small squares. Top with vegan whip and lemon zest.

    lemon bars with cashew nut cream and cashew nuts.
  • Serve immediately or store in the freezer until ready to serve.

Tips and Notes

  • This recipe was slightly updated on July 25, 2023.
  • When cream of coconut comes in a can, it usually separates into a hard cream of coconut and coconut water. We only used the coconut cream portion. The only case where this may not be the case is if it is stored in a hot place. Make sure the coconut cream is stored in a cool, dark place. Use the coconut cream and discard the water.
  • We do not recommend using coconut milk for this recipe.
  • Be sure to use raw cashews that have been soaked for at least an hour in hot water.
  • If you end up with a grainy cashew filling, that means you haven’t blended the mixture enough. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, this can also be a problem.

Nutritional information

Calories: 402kcal Carbohydrates: 35gram Protein: 9gram Fat: 28gram Fiber: 4gram Sugar: twenty-onegram

Photography: the photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin of The Edible Perspective.

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