May 26, 2014
By Coach Maria – Salus Nutritionist & Food Expert
This idea is not unique and I certainly did not come up with such a brilliant one.  I don’t even know what took me so long to try it – except maybe I thought it would take the same amount of time and effort as a regular “cheesecake” takes (I was wrong – entirely too wrong!).
We’re talking no-bake, dairy-free, sugar-free cheesecake, with a surprising ingredient that makes up the bulk of the filling.
Speaking of the filling – exquisitely creamy and even velvety soft. It’s astonishing that it originated from well…..cashews!
I would have been a Doubting Thomas and never believed it myself had I not made it.  I am a true believer. 
Healthy for you?
I can’t say I would sit down to eat a big slice for breakfast each morning, but to replace the sugar-laden, digestion-disrupting, insulin-spiking regular cheesecake?
You bet!
The versatility of this recipe is perfect – with the minimal ingredients, you can switch the top layer to suit your palate.  I used strawberries, but you can use any berry or fruit your heart desires. 
Don’t want fruit and prefer chocolate?  Add a couple of tablespoons of raw cacao into the mix instead of the fruit (this may be my next version).
Don’t be afraid to tinker with this recipe.  It’s truly difficult to mess this up. 
The longest part of this recipe?
Soaking the raw cashews.  I wouldn’t recommend skipping this part.  Soaking increases your body’s absorption of the vitamins and minerals and neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors that are a part of nuts.
IMG 3352 800x533 thumb Spicy Cashew Sauce Recipe
I suggest soaking overnight (it’s convenient to let nuts soak overnight and ready to go the following day), but you can let them soak for as little as 4 hours if you are rushed.
Serves 24

1/2 cup raw almonds (pecan, macadamia or walnuts will also work)
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked – overnight is best, but minimum 4 hours
juice of 2 lemons
the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract)
1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup raw honey 
1 cup strawberries (thaw completely if using frozen)
Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are the consistency you want your crust.  I liked mine a bit coarse.

Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well.
Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
In your food processor, place all filling ingredients (except strawberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient).
Pour about 2/3 of the mixture (no need to measure, just eyeball it – can’t go wrong here!) out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula.
Add the strawberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling and spread evenly to edges of pan.
Place in freezer until solid.
To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer (what leftovers?).
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
1 slice per serving
Protein:  3g
Carbs:    9g
Fat:      10g
Sugar:   5g
Nutritional information are estimates and will vary.

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