Cool, creamy and delicious, these mini vegan cheesecakes will have you start singing the song (see recipe title if you aren't sure which song that is) when you mix, twirl and scoop the batter around. This dessert is so stinking easy to make and the mini version ensures that your cheesecake sets up properly, but also, that you can enjoy with friends as the summer heat wanes post-dinner.
This dessert comes together in about 15 total minutes (including measuring and pulsing / blending along with bake time - note, I have a Vitamix blender and while it's still recommended that you soak the cashews, you don't actually have to with the power of this branded blender) and doesn't require a whole lot of extra energy - perfect for lazy summer days, or busy summer months. They scream flavor and have all the great texture of a dreamy classic cheesecake; definitely on your "must make" list!
Sustainability Spotlight: Alright, so speaking of lazy and busy, summer months can become a time (at least I know it is for us) where you are running to and fro enjoying all the benefits of the weather, or activities, and also, a time where you might just not "feel" like doing all the additional efforts. Those efforts can include cooking at home, pre-planning or packing reusable materials, or simply remembering to avoid additional water use (sprinkling), limit energy use (air conditioning), or limit transportation (driving / flying to vacations).
Summer requires extra or additional support and review of resource uses and how we interact with those resources. This is where simplicity shines; kind of like the summer sun! My Sustainability Spotlights can be quite complex, but this one is just this: go back to basics. Yep, that's right - turn back the clock on your mentality to the '90s (a current trend, which I'm totally here for) and remember the goals of resource use then, when sustainability was in its early days. All of which still apply today as follows:
Reduce - be judicious with your watering (be sure to do so only in dawn or dusk hours), aid your air conditioning by closing your window blinds against the mid-day sun, and limit the amount of travel you do by car (bike, walk, skate!)
Reuse - don't forget to pack that reusable water bottle; I keep one on the table in easy slight line to ensure I grab when I go. Go to thrift stores if you are looking for some new threads; especially for the kids who grow out of their clothes so fast over the summer months! How about reusing sports equipment or lawn games? Pass it over to your neighbors or friends and have a swap meet on your street!
Recycle - be sure to use local recycling programs; even when out and about. If they don't have recycling, save it - put it in your bag and make sure you can recycle it at home. Save boiled water from pasta, corn on the cob or steaming veggies and recycle that water for your indoor plants. If your local community supports, invest in a rain barrel and water your lawns with the saved water during weeks of drought.
There are so many ways to support sustainability even when you want to be lazy or if you are incredibly busy. All it takes is just a small thought, inkling, or remembrance to reduce, reuse, and recycle. And, if you want to take it up a notch, make your family and friends these mini cheesecakes and relax into the coming dusk knowing that just by making a dessert, you helped the planet today.
1.5 cups vegan graham crackers (broken into pieces)
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp vegan butter (melted)
(1) 14 oz can coconut milk (shaken well)
(1) 11 oz can pineapple juice
1/2 cup fresh pineapple (chunks)
zest of 1 lime
3 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight or at least 2 hours); drained
3 tbsp arrowroot powder
Optional Garnish: Lime slices
Add graham crackers and sugar to food processor and pulse till incorporated. Pour in melted vegan butter through top of the food processor chute while the processor is on. Crust should look "wet."
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a muffin tin coated with cooking spray, press ~2-3 tbsp of crust evenly into the bottoms of each muffin well. Tip: Use the bottom of a glass to do this easily. Crust should just coat the bottom; not up the sides. Evenly distribute any remaining graham crust crumbs as needed and press again.
Bake for ~8-10 minutes or until crust is firm and slightly browned. Let cool completely.
Add all Tropical Filling ingredients to a high powered blender and blend on high until smooth (~1 minute for Vitamix).
Pour filling into prepared and cooled crusts evenly; place covered in the fridge overnight to fully set. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Garnish with lime slices (for the photo, I cut a lime slice, made a slit from the center to the outer edge of the circle, twisted and placed on top of the cheesecake).
With love and hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie