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Raw Vegan Key Lime “Cheesecake”

June 25, 2012

Since going Paleo, I’ve been pinning amazing looking primal recipes like crazy, despite rarely having time or motivation to cook or bake more than once a week. This recipe comes from A Dash of Compassion, where it took the form of a “raspberry-lemon dreamcake.” Besides looking absolutely gorgeous, I was impressed how one could achieve such a convincing looking cheesecake with just the ingredients listed; I knew I had to try it out!

I decided to change the flavors up a bit to personalize it, and since key lime pie is easily one of my favorite desserts, the swap from lemon to lime seemed easy enough. Not only is this treat so simple to make, the 90+ degree weather lately made it perfect timing to make something that didn’t require me to turn on my oven. This cake turned out to be such a delicious and refreshing frosty treat for the summer weather; Its great just out of the freezer, but if you let it thaw out for 10-15 minutes, you’ll get a creamy consistency closer to that of regular cheesecake.

I’m so glad I made this recipe! I had no idea how awesome raw desserts could be, and how versatile nuts could be! Who knew that pureeingย macadamia nuts with almond milk and coconut oil could create such a creamy filling? I can’t wait to use this as a base recipe with other flavors: a mint-chocolate “cheesecake” is calling my name!ย And while it may sound hippie/crunchy to introduce your treats around the office with “Raw, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free…” I’m sold, my coworkers were sold, and I hope you will be too! …Cross over to the light side, you know you want to!

Raw Vegan Key Lime “Cheesecake” (adapted from A Dash of Compassion)

For the crust:
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup date paste (about 1/3 packed cup of whole pitted dates, run through the food processor first)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
For the key lime filling:
  • 3 cups raw macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup pure key lime juice
  • 3/4 cup raw agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
For the crust:
  1. Using a food processor, process the almonds and coconut to a coarse meal. Add the date paste, vanilla and salt and process until well combined.
  2. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. Set aside.
For the filling:
  1. Using a food processor, blend the macadamia nuts, almond milk, key lime juice, agave nectar and vanilla until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. If you’re too close to the “liquid max” on the bowl of your food processor then just do this in batches.
  2. Pour into the springform pan with the crust. Gently tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  3. Place the finished cheesecake in the freezer to set, about 2 hours, or until the middle of the cheesecake is firm to the touch. Decorate with chopped almonds and lime zest before serving, if desired.
67 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2012 12:04 pm

    Allie, your cheesecake looks AMAZING! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Your photos are beautiful. I will have to try the key lime flavour next time I make it ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. dlvanveelen permalink
    June 26, 2012 10:43 am

    That looks absolutely amazing!

  3. June 26, 2012 10:56 am

    what a truly incredible looking cheesecake. I adore cheesecake, so I really am drooling at the mere sight of this.

  4. makecraftsandeatmuffins permalink
    June 26, 2012 3:21 pm

    wow. i have to try that. i have not been able to eat much cream cheese for ages and tofu cheesecake always tastes funny to me! it looks delicious, i must try it as soon as i have macadamias!

  5. June 26, 2012 6:39 pm

    This looks absolutely divine. I’ve been craving key lime pie all summer. The cheesecake spin = bonus points.

  6. June 27, 2012 11:55 am

    This is awesome. Gorgeous too!

  7. June 27, 2012 2:42 pm

    Recipes with raw vegan in the title always seem a little intimidating to attempt but these ingredients lookpretty common and accessible! Anything with coconut is a win in my book too. Also your pictures are gorgeous too. Wonderfully styled

  8. June 29, 2012 3:47 pm

    Love raw cheesecakes! Have actually had people say they like it better than real cheesecake. Plus it is way healthier! Photos look great. Thanks!

  9. Lanny Landenberger permalink
    July 31, 2012 1:35 am

    Almond milk is great. The taste of it is quite yummy and there are also many health benefits that you can get from almond milk. :;`*;

    Warmest regards“>

  10. July 31, 2012 4:58 am

    Oh my, that looks really amazing! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  11. To Markt To Markt permalink
    August 22, 2012 3:38 pm

    I love the colors here. Where did you got the beautiful plates?

    • August 22, 2012 4:33 pm

      thank you! you know, those plates belong to my boyfriend and i just dug one out of a box in our basement, so i’m not sure where they’re from actually!

  12. Autumn permalink
    September 29, 2012 2:44 pm

    This looks amazing, but do you think you could replace the macadamia nuts with cashews? I was just wondering because macadamia nuts are so expensive.

    • September 29, 2012 7:16 pm

      Yes! Any nut would probably work. If you buy chopped macadamias it is cheaper than whole also. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. October 25, 2012 1:46 pm

    This looks delicious! Gotta try the recipe. I need a good excuse to fire up the Vitamix!

  14. Belinda permalink
    November 1, 2012 8:01 am

    Hi, just made this and hoping that the coconut oil was supposed to go in the food processor with the nuts, milk etc as it is not mentioned in the directions. It is in the freezer now & I am hoping for the best ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 1, 2012 8:56 am

      Ha yes! You did it correctly, and I noticed the original recipe made the same mistake so I must have been in your shoes too! Enjoy the cake!

      • Belinda permalink
        November 15, 2012 8:13 pm

        Turned out perfect – I was so stoked !! And everyone loved it, even the dairy/sugar addicts, so thanks for the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚
        Question – have you tried substituting coconut milk for the almond ??

      • November 15, 2012 8:30 pm

        I haven’t tried coconut milk here but I bet it would work! Glad it was a hit ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Alison permalink
    December 1, 2012 7:33 pm

    Just made this with cashews instead of macadamias because that’s what I had on hand. Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as yours but it is still super delicious! Can’t wait to make more flavors like raspberry, chocolate, etc.! Love the addition of almond milk and glad the coconut oil taste wasn’t overwhelming.

  16. December 4, 2012 9:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Diary of an Angry Fat Woman and commented:
    I’m so doing this. I really love raw foods. I am working on a sub for the agave nectar — too proccessed and too sweet for me. Any ideas?

    • December 4, 2012 10:04 pm

      Perhaps some date paste or coconut or palm sugar?

    • Haidee permalink
      December 5, 2012 6:02 am

      I’d try stevia drops ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots so yummy!

  17. December 17, 2012 4:21 pm

    I made this last night, and my boyfriend looked weak in the knees after he tasted it. We absolutely loved it, and it is now without a doubt our favourite dessert! I had to substitute cashews for the macadamias, as my local grocery store doesn’t carry them, but result was extremely tasty. I also don’t have a springform pan, so I just used an ordinary glass pie plate. Thanks again for the awesome recipe (which I stumbled on after a google search for vegan key lime), you have a new reader!

  18. Mel permalink
    December 25, 2012 6:50 am

    Just made this for tomorrow’s holiday lunch

  19. Lora permalink
    January 20, 2013 12:54 pm

    I am making this right now…..I see coconut oil, melted in the list of ingredients…..but, don’t see it in the directions….guessing I DO need it and it is added to the filling mixture?

    • January 20, 2013 1:57 pm

      Yes! Sorry bout that ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Lora permalink
        January 20, 2013 2:46 pm

        No worries! I “went for it” figuring the creaminess of the coconut oil would be important. Serving tonight to some vegan skeptics…… I am sure this will impress! Thanks.

  20. Mel permalink
    February 12, 2013 8:15 pm

    Do you think soy milk would work (instead of almond milk)?

  21. Jennifer McClean permalink
    March 31, 2013 3:57 pm

    AMAZINGLY GOOD!!! My daughter and I love cheesecake, and this was a perfect replacement…perhaps even better!

  22. KittenSoul permalink
    May 22, 2013 3:58 pm

    I assume the macadamia nuts are to be unsalted and the almond milk should be plain rather than vanilla flavored… But would either work just as well or would it noticeably change the taste?

    • May 22, 2013 4:04 pm

      Yes on the nuts- I would recommend unsalted, as you can never predict just how salty they are based on where you get them. For this you recipe I’d recommend starting with raw nuts anyway-which shouldn’t be salted. As for the milk- I used vanilla flavored unsweetened almond milk, because its the kind I keep in the house anyway. That works fine as the flavor is so subtle.

      • KittenSoul permalink
        May 22, 2013 4:14 pm

        Yay! Thanks so much for the quick response. I figured the salted macadamias would be much too different. 3 cups of nuts is a lot, and if they each have salt… yikes! I will try it with unflavored almond milk first and see how it comes out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. reg permalink
    July 21, 2013 8:53 pm

    Just made these in little cupcake cups and they looked and tasted great! Instead of using 1 full cup of lime juice, I used half a cup plus the skin and pulp of one whole lime and blitzed everything in the Vitamix. Worked a treat ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. July 28, 2013 1:16 pm

    This looks insane!! Gotta try it.

  25. August 26, 2013 3:03 pm

    Hi Allie! Wow I made this awesome recipe in under 30 minutes! It tasted great but I have one question for you. I don’t think I blended the filling long enough because when I poured it into the pie pan it was a bit grainy. Either way it tasted good but I was expecting more of a cream like texture with what you get with regular cheesecake. Any tips?

    • August 26, 2013 3:06 pm

      I believe when I made it, the filling wasn’t super-smooth. However, it would also depend on what kind of machine you’re using. A food processor will work better than a regular blender. I also think after setting up in the freezer the texture will have smoothed out, as the nuts have soaked and moistened.

  26. Linda permalink
    November 8, 2013 5:11 pm

    I just ate a slice! I can’t believe I made something raw and vegan! Yay! I used cashews instead of macadamias, because they are so expensive! I also substituted xylitol for the agave (very high fructose). I can’t wait for my husband to hurry up and get home to try it!
    Thank you for a terrific recipe.

  27. Leslie permalink
    January 5, 2014 10:58 pm

    Unfortunately, I am allergic to coconut. I can have the oil, but not the flakes. Would you just leave it out? OR substitute something else?

    • January 6, 2014 8:49 am

      You can replace the quantity of coconut flakes with more almond in the crust ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Leslie permalink
        January 6, 2014 11:49 am

        Thank you!

  28. Yoomo permalink
    February 10, 2014 4:38 am

    looks like it would cost about $30 for 1 pie

  29. August 12, 2014 3:54 am

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
    Regardless, I’m definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

  30. Christina permalink
    September 9, 2014 10:44 pm

    Your recipe calls for coconut oil, but the instructions don’t mention how or when to use the coconut oil. Can you help? Thanks!

    • September 9, 2014 10:58 pm

      Sorry bout that! Mix the coconut oil into the filling after you blend the other ingredients together.

  31. victoria permalink
    September 30, 2014 4:22 pm

    Hi ! can I use brown rice malt syrup instead of agave? if so, how much please? xx

    • September 30, 2014 4:25 pm

      I would think you can substitute any type of liquid/syrup sweetener for the agave (such as honey or maple syrup). i’ve never baked with brown rice malt syrup but i think its safe to assume you can just swap out for the same amount as the agave nectar.

  32. Hitier permalink
    October 3, 2014 3:59 am

    Hi! Could you convert your recipe with gram please.. It looks so good! T really want to try it!
    #key like cheesecake

    • October 3, 2014 5:46 am

      If you have an iphone or mac computer you can easily use the unit app to do this, or try googling for a unit converter.

  33. Rhonda permalink
    March 6, 2015 5:16 pm

    is this to be left in the freezer until served?

    • March 6, 2015 5:42 pm

      Yes! It needs to be kept frozen. The coconut oil that holds it together will melt at room temperature.

  34. Jan permalink
    April 5, 2015 9:47 pm

    Absolutely delicious! Calories are crazy high when I figured it out per piece. Any suggestions for slimming this recipe down?

    • April 5, 2015 10:21 pm

      To be honest, no- the basis of the recipe is nut which are just very calorie dense. This is just sadly a treat to be enjoyed in moderation! The key is that with a primal diet, we aren’t really counting calories so much as trying to eliminate empty ones (like ingredients in conventional desserts).

  35. December 18, 2015 12:23 am

    Just wondering if Key Limes are a special type of lime or can I use any type of limes from the supermarket?

    • December 18, 2015 9:10 am

      Key limes are different but if you can’t find the bottled key lime juice (which most people use because the actual limes are hard to find), I’m sure regular limes would be alright. Try looking in the baking aisle for the key lime juice.


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