Thursday, June 25, 2015

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin in June?

As far as I'm concerned, there's never a bad time for pumpkin.  I literally look forward to it being in stores all year! Not to mention I love to sweeten things and top my squashes with pumpkin pie spice. It is heavenly.

Pumpkin is so nutritious.  So much so that it's a shame not to use it year round.  First of all, it is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food, helping to promote joint, organ, and soft tissue health.  Plus, it is rich in Vitamin A and C, so it protects the eyes and boosts your immunity.  In addition, pumpkin is rich in fiber, zinc, and potassium- all important nutrients your body needs daily to function.  I love this article from the Huffington Post entitled "8 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkin" that discusses just how much pumpkin can help your workout, boost your mood, and even protect your skin!  Pumpkin is easy to put in many dishes, and one that many children enjoy too.

Pumpkin is naturally sweet, and while it has a glycemic index value of 75 (still much lower than bread, grains and other starchy vegetables!), it has a glycemic load of only 3, making it a safe option for those watching their blood sugar.  The low glycemic load makes pumpkin low in carbohydrates and a great aid for weight loss.

Would you believe that this recipe I'm sharing has no added sugar, is vegan, whole 30, paleo and autoimmune protocol compliant?  Seriously!  This is a no bake recipe with only a few ingredients.  The more time-consuming part will be making the nut cheese.

If you haven't heard of or made nut cheese before, you're in for a treat.  This is a great dairy substitute with a lot of flavor.  If you have been to any vegan restaurants before, then you know this is a main component used on desserts and with main dishes.  What's great about nut cheese is that it incorporates nuts after they have been soaked, so it is gentler on the digestion system.

Enjoy and can't wait to hear what you think!

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars (whole 30, paleo, AIP, GF, DF, soy free, and vegan)

Filling
1 can (BPA free) organic pumpkin, unsweetened
1 cup nut cheese (organic almonds and water)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tspn pumpkin pie spice

Crust
Dozen organic dates (I use Made in Nature brand)
1 heaping tbsp maca-cocoa powder
3 tbsp full fat coconut milk (I use Arroy-D brand)

First, prepare the nut cheese.  Soak 1 cup raw organic almonds for 8 hours or overnight.  Then drain and peel off the skin and discard; I like to let mine set for almost a full day to make it easier to peel off the skin. Add the nuts to a blender with 3/4 cup water.  May add a tbsp of coconut oil here if you like that coconut taste and creamy consistency.  Blend on high for a couple minutes until mixture is smooth.  Place nut mixture in nut milk bag or with cheesecloth in coriander.  Give light squeeze and place in refrigerator overnight.  The next day, puree your nut cheese with organic pumpkin, adding in the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

While your nut cheese is in the fridge, it's a good idea to start on your crust.  Using a food processor, add your dates, maca powder and coconut milk and pulse.  Will get a thick ball mix that you can spread flat on a pie dish or 8 x 8 pan.  You can let this set in the fridge or use right away. Just add your cheesecake filling on top and set in freezer for 3 hours and your done! You can serve this at that time or at a later occasion.  It's delicious!


Blessings,

Lindsay

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