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Chicago Diner Vegan Cheesecake with Granola or Chocolate Cookie Crust

This image courtesy of Del Nakamura

Editor's Note: If you're avoiding dairy but still want to indulge in a rich and creamy dessert, then this vegan cheesecake recipe is for you! This make-ahead recipe for Chicago Diner Vegan Cheesecake with Granola or Chocolate Cookie Crust will be an impressive addition to just about any dinner party you have planned, so consider baking it for your next book club meeting or holiday dinner with the family. This easy vegan recipe includes two variations on the crust that you will want to try! You will also want to make time to bake the two variations on this vegan cheesecake recipe, which are included following the instructions. 

To many skeptics, the idea of a vegan cheesecake sounds like an oxymoron. Our talented vegan bakers have devised a miraculously satisfying cheesecake recipe that's absolutely perfect in texture. This recipe proves that you can actually have your vegan cheesecake and eat it too!

Baker's Note: If you like, you can make either crust and partially bake it for later use in a pie. To do so, bake the crust only at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes.

Serves1 (6-inch [15-cm]) cheesecake

Cooking MethodBaking

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get Together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseDessert

Dietary ConsiderationVegan, Vegetarian

EquipmentSpringform Pan

Taste and TextureCreamy, Sweet

Type of DishCake, Cheesecake, Dessert

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray, for greasing
  • 1 1/4 cups (113 g) quick-cooking oats
  • 6 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup (59 mL) melted vegan margarine
  • 2/3 cup (66 g) vegan chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons organic granulated cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sifted cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon melted vegan margarine
  • 1 teaspoon soy milk
  • 1 pound (454 g) vegan cream cheese (Tofutti)
  • 1 (12-ounce [341-g]) package silken tofu, drained for about 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup (178 mL) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt (depending on the saltiness of your brand of cream cheese)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Fresh berries or Chocolate Ganache

Instructions

To Make the Granola Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 × 9-inch (22.5 × 22.5-cm) baking dish and a 6-inch springform pan with the cooking spray.

  2. Make the granola by stirring together the oats, 2 teaspoons of the maple syrup, and the brown rice syrup. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

  4. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal "S" blade, pulse the granola until it becomes very fine and no large chunks remain.

  5. Add the melted margarine and remaining maple syrup to the bowl of the food processor and process until just combined.

  6. Using clean hands, press the crust mixture into the prepared springform pan. Spread the crust mixture evenly and very firmly across the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes and then set aside until the filling is ready.

To Make the Chocolate Cookie Crust

  1. Lightly spray a 6-inch (15-cm) springform pan with the cooking spray.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs, sugar, and cocoa powder.

  3. Add the melted margarine and soy milk to the mixing bowl and stir until fully combined.

  4. Using clean hands, press the crust mixture into the prepared springform pan. Spread the crust mixture evenly and very firmly across the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes and then set aside until the filling is ready.

To Make the Filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal "S" blade or a blender, combine all of the ingredients except the fresh berries or chocolate ganache and process until smooth. Pour the filling over the prepared crust.

  3. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Raise the temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the top becomes lightly golden. Remove from the oven.

  4. Let the cheesecake cool at room temperature until it is cool to the touch and has partially set up. Refrigerate overnight so it can set up completely. Serve topped with fresh berries or chocolate ganache.

Variations

To make a chocolate chip cheesecake, fold 1/4 cup (75 g) dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips into the filling after it has been processed.

To make a fruit coulis cheesecake, combine 1/2 cup (75 g) of any chopped fresh fruit, a splash of agave nectar or maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract, 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and a bit of citrus zest in a saucepan over medium heat and reduce the mixture for 10 minutes, until a thick syrup forms. (The fruit coulis will be ready when it thoroughly coats the back of a spoon dipped into the pan.) Allow the coulis to cool completely and swirl it into the cheesecake filling after you transfer it into the prepared crust.

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Made it! Love it! Thank you Jo for the great recipe! Want pix? ~ Shelley

Can hardly wait to get started! Buying the ingredients today! :D Thank you Chicago Diner!

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