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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. EmbraceYourSkin says:

    I got my boyfriend to eat his first vegetables (maybe ever?) by making green smoothies! He loves them!

  2. melissa @ the delicate place says:

    ha sneaky veg! i don’t hide mine at all, i love them! i kinda get upset about the chef boyardee commercials because i feel like that stuff is made of the devil haha BUT at least they are *trying* to get something healthy in there!

  3. Yum, looks delic, thanks for sharing :0)

  4. I think you can both ‘hide’ veggies and serve them. I occasionally add pureed veggies into a dish, but more so to up the nutritional value than to trick my kids. I think it is very important for your kids to be exposed to lots of vegetables in their natural form from the start and also important for them to see you eating them too. I see some moms who eat no veggies, wondering why their kids won’t try them. Kids learn so much by watching their parents. It’s scary and humbling, but true.

    It’s also very important to respect your kid’s tastes and not force too many things. My daughter loves raw red bell peppers and eats them whole. My son despises them. I see no reason to force either of them to eat things they truly don’t like. They must try a good size bite of everything on their plate and then they can choose what to eat.

    I could talk forever about feeding kids, as it is something I am very passionate about and in the midst of, so I’ll bow out now….

    1. Oh Michelle, terrific insight! I always cringe when I hear parents say, “You HAVE to finish everything on your plate.” Give kids a choice and let them know that having an opinion is ok! My parents never forced me to eat any particular food, either (aside from a “no thank you” taste if I’d never before tried it). When I was little, I hated mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, etc. But now I love them all. Perhaps if they’d forced the foods on me, I would’ve always HATED these foods simply out of resentment (not to mention how much I might’ve resented my parents for making me eat them).

  5. Mary @ Bites and Bliss says:

    I love raw desserts/bars but I agree..most of them are way too high in calories for just a snack. I prefer to have big, bulky veggie filled meals over a small bar anyday. Even though they’re about the same nutrient-wise..big meals are just way more fun to eat!

  6. Eleanor says:

    I love the using vegetables for puddings etc thing – I’ve made cakes with potato, courgette, aubergine, beetroot, butternut…! Not just to get them, in because I love veg anyway, but they give the food amazing texture and add to the taste without making things taste vegetable-y, if that makes sense!
    Courgette/zucchini is brilliant for that; I’m experimenting with bread made from it at the moment and it’s great (although turning out as verrry small loaves!) 🙂

  7. Justine says:

    Oh this looks/souonds divine! I love everything in here- and any excuse to buy some cashew butter…..not that you really NEED an excuse, right? 🙂

  8. Tanya says:

    That cheesecake looks great! I’m all for raw desserts, but yes, one thing I’ve noticed from a lot of raw food bloggers (& a lot of vegan ones too) is the use of very high calorie foods, which I have to limit. I’ve worked really hard at losing a ton of weight and don’t want to mess it up. I do eat nuts and avocados, etc….but I limit them….just can’t eat as much of them as everyone else.

    About the “hiding veggies” thing….I’ve seen a lot of tv commercials lately about this very thing. Certain companies are trying to hide the amount of vegetables in their foods and I don’t really like it. Maybe the first time they try it….but when they like it…you should tell them it’s good for you too! Don’t keep it a secret…then they’ll grow up still thinking that vegetables taste bad. We don’t want that, do we??

    T.

    1. Hi Tanya- you really can eat more healthy fats than what your’e eating. I too lost a lot of weight after having my daughter and guess what one of my big focuses was: I ate nut butters throughout the day. It actually makes you feel fuller than eating a smaller amount, and they help you melt the fat right off. The ones that worked the best for me are coconut (oil) and peanut butter. Make sure you are eating only natural/ raw, organic (if the budget allows) and virgin c.o. I put the c.o. on everything!

  9. Melissa says:

    http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1255121

    Raw apple pie! Cobbled together a bunch of recipes.
    Not too high calorie and DELICIOUS!

    1. Mmm it’s the perfect season for raw apple pie too!

  10. Chelsea says:

    I personally don’t care if there are vegetables in my desserts or anything else, but I don’t like the idea of “hiding veggies” when it comes to kids. This just puts in their minds that vegetables aren’t something worth enjoying on their own and they’re unlikely to ever come around to like veggies once they realize they’ve been hidden in their favorite dishes.

  11. Kiersten says:

    I don’t feel like we should try to hide veggies all the time, especially in regards to kids. I “hide” veggies in baked goods and in other things I cook, but that’s because I like veggies, not because I am trying to trick anyone into eating them. When I was younger my mom used to make dinner and that was it. If you didn’t like it, then you didn’t have to eat it, but she wasn’t going to make anything else for you. The veggies were there, so I ate them. I learned how much I loved veggies because I simply tried them. Personally, I don’t think parents should try so hard to hide veggies in things. I think it’s a better idea to try different ways of preparing things so that kids can figure out what they actually do/don’t like. I think a lot of kids claim to not like veggies because of the “kids won’t eat veggies” theory our society seems to have adopted.

  12. BroccoliHut says:

    I’m not a fan of the whole veggie deception either. If you act like veggies are supposed to taste bad and need “hiding” then your kids are going to think that way. Why not let the kids try veggies early and let them decide for yourself? Besides, adding black beans to brownies sounds like a good way to ruin a perfectly tasty dessert.

  13. Jen 'Fresh' says:

    This looks amaaaaazering.
    I think I might just have to make it … Maybe stick a date/cinna/nut crust on it. =X
    You inspire great things, m’lady <3

    Also I realize cashew butter has continuously evaded my palate …
    I must change this.

  14. OH GOODNESS! that looks like an amazing hockey puck! jk, it looks really good! i love cheesecake even though i am not lookin to lose weight i don’t like to use sooo many calories on dessert i want my real food! im definitely gonna have to try that plus your carrot cake!
    your so cute Katie!

  15. Sarah says:

    Okay, maybe my kids are just weird, but they love veggies! I usually end up fighting with them to get some type of protein on their plate in addition to salad, or any veggies. You’ll love this–when I make broccoli, there are times it doesn’t even make it to the steamer,cause they eat it raw! I find feeding them the veggies just steamed or as ‘naked’ as possible helps them appreciate their great flavor without too much seasoning or sauce etc. I also agree with others about setting the example, let them come to the store or farmer’s market and let them pick out something they think looks interesting or crazy and try it out! We do this lots, sometimes with success, sometimes with a big ‘YUCK’! But it makes eating an adventure–veggies rock!

    1. Your kids sound ADORABLE!! And they also sound like quite the little geniuses. Can I come babysit sometime? Wait, that might be a bad idea. There might not be enough broccoli to go around ;).

  16. Kids are funny…even if you tell them there’s NOT any vegetables in something, they could smell it (or the lie) a mile away! Once they get past the age of 2, anyway. I agree with you, Katie! It’s not right to be deceptive to them. I had one kids who would only eat canned veggies. I was like, “where did I go wrong”? LOL It’s all about each individual child. As long as they live in my house, they have to eat them. Hopefully that will reach into their adult lives as well, the need to be healthy!

  17. Alanna says:

    I love being the wet blanket (NOT) But I am trying to lose weight, and I entered this recipe into a calorie counter. With 4 ( servings) of cashew butter for 1 person, this one cheese cake hsa nearly 800 calories, which is alot to me. The zucchini is a good idea, but this is not a low-calorie recipe 🙁

    1. No, you’re right that it’s not a low-calorie recipe. But it is lowER in calories than other raw desserts the same size but with JUST cashews (no veggies).
      And I definitely don’t recommend eating an entire cheesecake in one sitting. As with all raw desserts, a small slice is rich enough to satisfy.

      1. cait says:

        but you said this was an individual snack size?

        1. No. I said it makes a mini cheesecake. That doesn’t mean it’s single-serving.

    2. Melissa says:

      Oh sweet.
      I was thinking this guy would be 4 servings (since Katie said she made it in a empty Tofutti container I had a pretty good idea on the size, definitely not a single serving!)… at only about 200 a pop, that’s a VERY doable amount of calories for such a rich dessert! 🙂 Thanks for doing the math, I’ll stil plug into sparkpeople so I can track but this makes me more apt to make the PB version soon. 🙂

      Oh, and a traditional SLICE of cheesecake can have 400-600 calories in just one small slice! Ditto frosted cakes. Desserts are freaking calorific. I make some with just stevia and no oil and have perfected a delicious BIG brownie for around 100 calories but it took some doing!

  18. Ann Claire says:

    I totally agree with you on the whold hiding veggies thing. Those Chef Boyardee commericals where the lady doesn’t want her son to know there’s veggies really bothers me. It’s saying that most kids automotically don’t like something just because they know it is has veggies in it, regardless of taste…where did kids learn to dislike veggies? Clearly, they weren’t born disliking them, somewhere they learned that veggies = bad. Why does society have such a thing aganist vegetables?? They are so awesome! If only more people knew of awesome veggie recipes like the ones you so kindly share with all of us….

    1. I haven’t seen those commercials, but so many people have mentioned them that now I’m really curious.
      Society needs to stop the veggie hate and close-mindedness. I thought we were supposed to encourage free thought and expression!

  19. i agree with everything averie said, haha.

  20. MoniMeals says:

    Great points all around! One thing I can tell you is when you tell a kid something is Healthy or Organic- they seem to crindge and freak out.
    For exapmle, I use to nanny some amazing kids and when I bought Ketchup that had the “organic” label, they were done with their meal and repulsed, Same thing when I bought “organic” chocoalte-chip cookies, they spit them out…geesh! You have never seen someone turn their back on something so fast!
    I say it is very important to keep introducing food to picky eaters and not lie. 🙂

    1. I hope you picked them up and ate them! 😉
      Can’t waste perfectly-good chocolate, now can we?

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