Blueberry Cheesecake Bars // vegan + gluten-free
by Allison Rasche, contributor Paula Sturm, RDN, FMN, CFSP
For our final installment of our rainbow series, we are talking about purple foods, specifically blueberries. Blueberries, even though they have the word “blue” in the word, are actually purple colored, and are a beautiful addition to a delicious vegan cheesecake. This cheesecake is soft and tart, and can fool nearly anyone into believing this is a classic cheesecake made with your classic cream and sugar.
Blueberries, in addition to all the other nutritious ingredients in this recipe, are packed with plentiful amounts of phytonutrients. Blueberries contain reservatol and pterostilbene, which are part of a larger anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial group called stilbenoids. Pterostilbene specifically has been shown to have antidiabetic, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, and chemoprotective. In addition, psterostilbene has been shown to remain in the body five times longer than average before being metabolized, thereby increasing the potential of their health benefits. These fantastic compounds are known for their youth-promoting impact on our body’s and mind by stimulating the SIRT1 gene. If you are looking for the fountain of youth, blueberries (especially their wild form, usually found frozen) are the closest thing to it. Furthering, blueberries have been shown to reduce elevated blood pressure and reduce the risk of atheroscleorsis. Blueberries have also been shown to decrease insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve blood sugar levels in animal studies. A true hero in the food world, I practically eat a serving daily.
Now onto the recipe!
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp cornstarch
¾ cup – 1 cup lemon juice (depending on how tart your lemons are)
1 ½ tbsp lemon zest
1 pinch salt
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup frozen blueberries
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
Add oats, almonds, and coconut sugar to a high speed blender, and blend till a coarse flour like consistency is reached.
Add maple syrup and coconut oil till a slight crumb begins to form, and the dough begins to stick together.
Transfer your crust to your baking dish and press down until one even layer is achieved.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350, then increase your temperature to 375. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Reduce heat of oven bake to 350 degrees F.
Add all filling ingredients to a clean high speed blender and blend till smooth. Taste the filling mixture and adjust sweetness or tartness to your taste preferences.
Pour filling over crust, and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges look slightly dry and the middle just slightly jiggles.
Allow to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
** based on Minimalist Baker’s recipe for Vegan Lemon Bars**