Chef Linda
Linda Soper-Kolton, Chef, came to the Sanctuary as a guest chef to share her love of compassionate cooking in our then-fledgling culinary program. Lured by the magic of the Sanctuary, her love of animals and the urgency of our mission, Linda stayed on to lead and grow the culinary program, inspiring and educating with love, patience, and delicious food.
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Chef Sara
Sara Boan, Chef, joined the Sanctuary staff in 2016 and has been developing recipes and sharing her passion for vegan cooking ever since. She teaches award-winning year-round vegan cooking classes at The Homestead and leads food demos for weekend tour visitors in the spring, summer and fall. When she’s not teaching, Sara is most likely spending time with her partner, snuggling with her rescued kitties or enjoying a cup of freshly brewed oolong tea.
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Cashew-Macadamia Cheesecake

No one should have to do without cheesecake–ever! Smooth, rich, and luscious, this cheesecake boasts compassion and nutrition as two of its main ingredients, something regular cheesecake can't do. Macadamia and cashews blend beautifully to create a creamy base for this nut cheesecake. And is there anything a chickpea can't do? In this recipe, chickpeas create a dense texture and complex, rich taste than you wouldn’t get with nuts alone. A simple graham cracker crust works beautifully (Nabisco’s regular graham crackers are "accidentally vegan"). The crust takes only minutes to make. The filling needs only a blender to create. And the salted caramel is optional, but more than worth it. You'll appreciate how easy this recipe is to make and wonder why you can't eat it every day. But then, who says you can’t? Find this and other delicious recipes in our cookbook Compassionate Cuisine: 125 Plant-Based Recipes from Our Vegan Kitchen. (Photo credit: Alexandra Shytsman)

Ingredients

Crust
 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
 6 tbsp vegan butter
Filling
 1 cup raw cashews
 1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts
 1 can chickpeas (15.5 ounces), drained and rinsed
 1 can (15.5 ounces) regular coconut milk
 1 cup maple syrup
 ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or other light flavored vinegar)
 2 ½ tbsp corn starch
 1 tbsp tahini
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 ¾ tsp salt
Salted Caramel Sauce
 1 cup brown sugar, packed
 6 tbsp vegan butter
 ½ cup canned regular coconut milk
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 ¼ tsp flaked or coarse salt, to sprinkle

Directions

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Trace the bottom of the springform pan onto parchment paper and cut it out. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment circle and lightly oil the sides of the pan with a little bit of the butter. Line a baking tray with parchment and place the pan on top: This will make clean up easier.

To make the crust, break the graham crackers into a food processor and blend until finely ground. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Empty the crumbs into the springform pan and firmly press them evenly into the bottom and up the sides.

To make the filling, place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend, while scraping down sides occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy. There should be no gritty texture in the mixture.

To assemble the cake, pour the filling into the springform pan. Set the oven rack in the bottom position. Place springform pan on a baking tray lined with parchment and place in the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes. If you notice the top is browning too much, place a piece of foil over the top of the pan without touching the filling.

To make the salted caramel sauce, place the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over medium-high heat, while stirring occasionally. As the sugar heats, it will begin to melt and darken. When that starts to happen, you'll need to stir it more frequently. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pot from heat and stir in the butter. When the butter is melted, place the pot back on the heat and stir in the milk. Cook, while stirring, until the mixture just starts to bubble. Keep cooking for about a minute after the initial boil then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt and set aside to cool.

The cake is done when it is mostly firm to the touch around the outer perimeter with a slightly less done center. The edges should be light golden brown. It will firm up further when cooled completely. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on the counter before putting it into the refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight.

To serve, cut slices and place on plates. Drizzle with salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with flaked salt. Extra caramel sauce can be stored in a sealed container for up to a month.

Cashew-Macadamia Cheesecake

Cashew-Macadamia Cheesecake

DifficultyModerateCook Time50 mins
YIELDS
Makes 1 (9-inch) cheesecake, or 12 to 14 servings

Cashew-Macadamia Cheesecake
INGREDIENTS

Crust
 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
 6 tbsp vegan butter
Filling
 1 cup raw cashews
 1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts
 1 can chickpeas (15.5 ounces), drained and rinsed
 1 can (15.5 ounces) regular coconut milk
 1 cup maple syrup
 ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or other light flavored vinegar)
 2 ½ tbsp corn starch
 1 tbsp tahini
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 ¾ tsp salt
Salted Caramel Sauce
 1 cup brown sugar, packed
 6 tbsp vegan butter
 ½ cup canned regular coconut milk
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 ¼ tsp flaked or coarse salt, to sprinkle

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Trace the bottom of the springform pan onto parchment paper and cut it out. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment circle and lightly oil the sides of the pan with a little bit of the butter. Line a baking tray with parchment and place the pan on top: This will make clean up easier.

To make the crust, break the graham crackers into a food processor and blend until finely ground. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Empty the crumbs into the springform pan and firmly press them evenly into the bottom and up the sides.

To make the filling, place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend, while scraping down sides occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy. There should be no gritty texture in the mixture.

To assemble the cake, pour the filling into the springform pan. Set the oven rack in the bottom position. Place springform pan on a baking tray lined with parchment and place in the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes. If you notice the top is browning too much, place a piece of foil over the top of the pan without touching the filling.

To make the salted caramel sauce, place the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over medium-high heat, while stirring occasionally. As the sugar heats, it will begin to melt and darken. When that starts to happen, you'll need to stir it more frequently. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pot from heat and stir in the butter. When the butter is melted, place the pot back on the heat and stir in the milk. Cook, while stirring, until the mixture just starts to bubble. Keep cooking for about a minute after the initial boil then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt and set aside to cool.

The cake is done when it is mostly firm to the touch around the outer perimeter with a slightly less done center. The edges should be light golden brown. It will firm up further when cooled completely. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on the counter before putting it into the refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight.

To serve, cut slices and place on plates. Drizzle with salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with flaked salt. Extra caramel sauce can be stored in a sealed container for up to a month.

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