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There’s A Veggie In My Cheesecake

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Raw desserts are delicious, and raw desserts are healthy.

But if there’s one thing raw desserts aren’t, it’s lower in calories…

Until now.

zucchini cheesecake

I’m not a raw foodist, but I do enjoy eating raw desserts. One of the things I like most about raw treats is that they’re high in calories without also being high in bulk. That can be a true blessing for people like me, who require a lot of calories but who don’t wish to give up so-called “bulky” foods such as salads, huge helpings of veggies, and other extremely filling dishes. I rely on calorie-dense foods to supplement my high-bulk diet so I can take in enough fuel without ending up with a stomachache.

However, not everyone needs a high-calorie diet, about which Healthy Tiffany reminded me a few weeks ago. In her comment, she asked if I could create a raw dessert that everyone can enjoy. If you’ve been reading my blog and have only learned one thing about me, I hope it’s that I genuinely care about people and want everyone to be happy. Most of my recipes are easily adaptable for different lifestyles: depending on a recipe, you can sub water or applesauce for oil, use a gluten-free flour, or even pick and choose which sweeteners to use.

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Please ignore the fact that it looks like a hockey puck. It’s delicious, I swear!
Thanks to Tiffany for the challenge.

Raw “Secret Veggie” Cheesecake

  • 1/2 cup cashew butter, such as Artisana (about 110g)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup raw zucchini (80g)
  • Heaping 1/8 tsp salt
  • Scant 2 tbsp lemon juice (20g)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil OR water (8g)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Stevia or sugar of choice, as desired – If you use a liquid sweetener, omit the water/oil.

Add all the ingredients together and blend very well. If you’re using a Magic Bullet, you might want to blend the zucchini a little first, so it doesn’t stay chunky. Transfer your mixture to a pie-crust or cheesecake mold (I actually use an empty soy cream cheese container) and freeze. Thaw before eating. This makes a mini cheesecake. For a true-sized cheesecake, double or triple the recipe.

Variations:

  • Raw Cookie Dough Pie: add chocolate chips to the batter!
  • Piña Colada Pie: omit the lemon, and blend in crushed pineapple
  • Coconut Cream Pie: omit lemon, use coconut butter for cashew butter
  • Cashew Freezer Fudge: freeze in a shallow pan and cut into squares
  • Cheesecake Popsicles: freeze in popsicle molds
  • Peanut Butter Pie: omit the lemon and use peanut butter for the cashew butter. Top with chocolate! (I did this! Photos coming soon!)

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Still in cheesecake mode? Check out my Raw Banana Split Cheesecake recipe.

If, like me, you’re not watching your weight, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this recipe too. Just be sure to cut yourself a big slice. So easy, so good, so healthy! Don’t tell your kids there’s a veggie inside. Or do. I’ve never been a proponent of lying to kids to get them to eat there veggies. ‘Cause someday you’re not going to be there to feed them, and if they haven’t learned to love veggies, they’ll make non-veggieful choices when out on their own. Sorry Mrs. Seinfeld, but I don’t subscribe to your “Deception.” Tell kids the truth!

What do you think of the “hiding veggies” movement made popular by books such as Deceptively Delicious?

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Jennifer - jcd says:

    Just like anything in life, the sooner kids learn the peoper way to do things, such as eating and loving vegetables, the better off they will be. Most kids I know LOVE their veggies; even broccoli disappears off their plates. When in doubt, add a sauce or dip of some kind. The simple action of dipping something (veggies, crackers, fingers) into a sauce/dip is too fun and yummy to resist. Other ways to get kids to eat their veggies: set a good example and eat them yourself, make exciting nicknames for them (x-ray vision salad, souper power soup, raninbow kebabs), or arrange the veggies in a fun pattern on the plate. A red bell pepper, some raisins, and a medjool date make a really cute ladybird snack. Disguising them only makes the problem worse when kids are faced with actual veggies on their plate. Sorry, Seinfield, I disagree with you too!

    On the other hand, I completely agree with Miss Katie!! High calorie, high nutrient density raw desserts are super yummy and very important for an active girl like myself. I may have to pass on this recipe though, I like your original raw cheesecake too much.

    1. My mom used to call cauliflower “Mongo Pongo.” Must’ve worked, because it ended up being my sister’s favorite veggie! (I love it too, but my heart belongs to broccoli.)

      1. Jennifer - jcd says:

        We called cauliflower ‘winter trees’, and broccoli ‘summer trees’.

  2. Angela says:

    This looks delicious. I love that you used cashew butter and zucchini, such an interesting mix.

    I’m okay with the hidden veggies thing, but I’m fine eating veggies raw as well. Maybe if I weren’t into veggies it would bother me more. I’ve never known children who refuse to eat veggies (seriously) so it does seem extreme that they won’t eat them unless there hidden, but to me that begs the question where did they develop this behavior or distaste? I feel like its learned. As a kid my brother loved broccoli, mostly because my mom told him he was eating green trees. It didn’t take much to get him to try them so I feel like there might be better ways to going about it.

  3. Uhhhmazing! I love cashew butter and I love veggies, and therefore I must make this. Thanks Katie

  4. eatandrun says:

    I’m going with the “chocolate chip cookie dough pie” variation!

  5. susan says:

    I think I actually have all the ingredients for this one! Question: could I use powdered stevia instead of liquid? And how much?

    1. I don’t see why not. But I’m always hesitant to give amounts for sweetener, because I have absolutely no sweet tooth, so the amount of sweetener I usually add is nowhere near what others find palatable. I’m guessing that maybe a packet would work for normal taste buds? It’s always a good idea to start with less and add more if needed. You can’t take any away once you add it!

  6. Eric says:

    Ohh im going to have to try this one out. Always looking for new desserts

  7. VEGirl says:

    Holy Moly! I am SO making the coconut cream pie variation. I just have to wait until my free samples come…

    Thanks for the recipe for all the people who need higher-cal foods– though most of your recipes can be adapted to do that (obv.- since you do it!). Your explanation was very eloquent and I just loved it 🙂 Gosh I love you!!!!! By the way, the 1st photo of the cheesecake is absolutely beautiful– I could tell you didn’t use flash 😉

    Lotsa love,
    VEGirl

    1. Oh VeGirl, I’m so glad you noticed! I’ve been practicing a LOT without the flash, as per your suggestion :).

  8. Raychel says:

    I DEFINTELY agree with the no-hiding-veggies from kids. Otherwise, they wont grow up to like them. That being said, I have some friends (TEENAGERS- seriously 14 and 19, two different families) who refuse to eat vegetables of ANY kind! Now in those cases, I think these recipes might be (pathetically) appropriate.

    1. I know a guy who only likes raw onions. That’s it; no other veggies. Ewwww, right? LOL

  9. People think that kids won’t like lots of foods so they don’t even give the kids a chance to try them without saying, “Oh, they won’t like that.” If parents are enthusiastic about vegetables and don’t see them as some nutritional obligation serving as a roadblock on the way to dessert, kids will be, too.

  10. Oh Katie, this looks yummy!!!! I wanna make! That’ll be on the list for next raw day, for sure! I’m not a big fan of limiting fats either (I do count calories, but I like to get my calories from plenty of healthy fats), but this just means that I can eat two cheezecakes instead of one. 🙂

  11. (M.S.)^2 says:

    Hmm…this is a really hard one, because if your kid thinks it’s good and you tell them it has veggies in it, they would either be grossed out or they can say “Wow! Veggies are good!” It totally depends on how your kid responds. I’d like to tell them the truth, but if I actually have my own kids, I might not tell them.

    And really really cute cheesecake, btw!! It looks really small though…Is the plate small, or is the actual cake small??

    1. It’s small. As I say in the actual recipe post, it makes a mini cheesecake, but you can EASILY double the recipe.

  12. Namaste Gurl says:

    Awwwh, Katie this recipe is amazing…. i’m not suprised though, all your creations turn out spectacular 🙂

    I have ALL these ingredients on hand, so maybe when I’m feeling indulgent I’ll give this one a try. Do you use grated zucchini in the recipe? You just put zucchini, so i’m wondering if it should be grated to just cut julienne- style 🙂

    Love what you said about fats not being “bad or scary”. They SOOOO aren’t– I depend on them, like you, to supplement much of my diet when I eat lots of veggies, grains, legumes, etc. I’m glad I have others who relate with my of eating high- calorie foods to stay healthy 🙂

    xoxo

    1. I usually chop it into a few pieces, just so it’ll blend better.

  13. Sonya says:

    I used to believe my kids should at least try something before they decided they didn’t like it – so I never thought about being sneaky… That is, until my now 3yr old came along. He has autism and is an extremely picky eater. I sneak in veggies and other good for him things in everything that I can – otherwise he would live on chips and cheese 🙁 I bought a Vitamix just so I could hide stuff better 😉 Thanks for the great recipes!!!

  14. Britta says:

    Oh, lovely, fabulous, wonderful, yummy! Thank you darling!

  15. Amy says:

    I am not a proponent of hiding veggies. I agree with you when you say children will make unwise decisisons when left alone if they have not learned to make healthy choices and like vegetables.

    The adult should be an example by eating a variety of veggies and other healthy foods, and then the child will follow their example. Monkey see, money do.

    What you said here — “I rely on calorie-dense foods to supplement my high-bulk diet so I can take in enough fuel without ending up with a tummy ache!” — really resonated with me. I had to learn that that was my style of diet by trail and error (aka getting many tummy aches), but now I am feeling much better by eating less, but eating foods that are higher in calories.

  16. I don’t really like the “hidden veggies” thing — I think with time (and lots of trying and different ways of preparation) most people will learn to love veggies. I remember not liking veggies as a kid, but guess what veggies my parents wanted us to eat: canned peas and corn. Ugh. There are so many delicious vegetables and ways of preparing, why stick with those?

    I do like to put veggies in stuff: shredded zucchini in baked goods, lots of veggies on pizza and on pasta, but I wouldn’t consider them “hidden”.

  17. Kiki says:

    I totally agree with you about hiding veggies. When I grow up and have kids, I plan on leading by example and showing them that veggies are delicious! I think parents should let their children try each veggie once, in recipes where you can actually see them, and if the kids doesn’t like a certain type, it’s okay. Probably in a few years their tastebuds will change anyway, so why spend all that time and effort trying to put veggies where they’re not supposed to be?

  18. I guess I can understand why people try to hide veggies in kids’ food, but if they’d been raised with a love of different food and vegetables there would be no need for it. Take Skylar, Averie’s daughter. She eats raw vegetables all the time and loves them, because that’s how she’s been raised. I hope I can raise my kids the same way. 🙂

    2 questions for ya:

    1. Can this be made with regular raw cashews? How could I substitute that? I have some cashew butter packets… but I’m not sure if I want to use them all up quite yet. 😛
    2. Does the zucchini do anything in particular, like add texture or fluff? Or is it just there to prove that you can’t taste it? Just curious. 🙂

    Your pictures in this post are beautiful! Love them.

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment about the pictures! I’ve been asking for help from other bloggers, and I’ve been practicing hehehe :).

      Yes, definitely you can use raw cashews. Soak em first :).
      I’m not exactly sure what the zucchini does… I got a comment from Bethany (linked at the top of the recipe post) and her suggestion was just too interesting to not try! 🙂

      1. Woah, I just realized that’s a lot of smileys!

  19. spoonfulofsugarfree says:

    Ha! My gosh, I’ve been waiting for this recipe 🙂 I’ve been telling everyone, “Katie is making a cheesecake with veggies!” Hehe..

    But what I do with my little brother is give him the food, and tell him before he eats it that it doesn’t have any of the foods he has never tried before or doesn’t like. He has this mind-block where he refuses to eat it if he has never tried it before. Then, after he tries it and says he likes it, I tell him what is in it.

    Kids can be tricky 🙂

    1. Hahahahaha I do that with my MOM!! She has a thing against tofu (and against anything that is “healthy”).

      1. spoonfulofsugarfree says:

        Katie! I just tried this! I don’t know if I used the exact measurements, but I did 1/2 zucchini, small handful of cashews, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and some dried coconut in the magic bullet! It looks like an alien-green color, but it tastes so good! It’s in the freezer now, and it will be officially ready for me tonight for dessert 🙂

        1. Oh Alex, thanks for telling me!! I’m SO SO excited you made it… and even more excited you liked it! 🙂

  20. Lyza says:

    I definitely think we should CELEBRATE veggies with children 🙂 Hiding them brings such a negative connotation!! Veggies are wonderful and make you feel good, I don’t understand the weirdness in our culture that is attached with veggies! If we get them excited for veggies and health from the start, there’s no reason to hide them! And there’s so many kinds to choose from, there’s bound to be some your child will like. I guess if there are children in the world who can’t stand ANY kind of veggie, maybe hiding them would be effective, but I doubt that’s the case if you are endorsing them and getting excited about them from the start. It’s easy to make them fun, they’re so colorful and there are so many textures! I can think of a million more veggie or fruit fun activities to make than I could meat or sweets.

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