Vegan Pumpkin CheesecakeLuscious pumpkin cheesecake topped with candied pumpkin seeds with a light chipotle kick.

I have been inspired this holiday season by all the amazing recipes other food bloggers are sharing. I was also inspired to try my first-ever cheesecake because I finally bought a springform pan at the Great News Cooking School’s huge summer clearance sale. (You can also make this dessert in a 9″ pie pan, follow the same steps below.)

I was bringing dessert to a Christmas Eve party and one of the hosts is allergic to nuts, so a nut crust was out. Graham crackers are out because of the gluten. Lo and behold, my trusty Joy of Cooking to the rescue with an option for a cereal crust. I had just enough of Barbara’s whole grain crispy rice cereal to work. I made the candied pumpkin seeds from a neighbor’s Halloween pumpkin. (I cut the pumpkin up and cook it for my dog Buddy Girl.)

This dessert competed with a traditional blueberry cheesecake and a gluten-free chocolate birthday cake at the party. Guess what? Even the life-long baker liked my dessert the best. Not bragging here… it was fun to see people so surprised at how much they liked a vegan dessert. The texture is light, a bit more mousse-y than a full cheesecake. It’s also not too sweet, and the pumpkin taste comes through beautifully. The crust was light and crispy, a good alternative to a rich nut crust.

You’ll find the original recipe, including the recipe for candied cranberries (which sound amazing), on Alicia Silverstone’s blog here. And some great tips from the Gluten-Free Goddess on baking and cooling another version of a pumpkin cheesecake here.

Suitable for:
vegan, gluten-free, reduced-sugar diets

Not for:
low-sodium or migraine diets

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecake with candied pepitas

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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

Cheesecake

  • 1-1/2 cups puffed cereal crushed, nut meal (120 g)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt divided
  • 4-6 tbsp Earth Balance (60-90 g) butter
  • 12 ounces tofu silken or soft
  • 8 ounces cream cheese vegan
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch organic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (dried)

Candied pepitas

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds pepitas, raw
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Earth Balance

Instructions
 

Cheesecake

  • Preheat oven to 350F/160C/gas mark 4. Process cereal or nuts and half the salt into fine crumbs in food processor or blender. Add melted margarine, and pulse to combine. If using a blender, put the mixture in a bowl, then add margarine and stir until well-mixed. It should hold together and not be too dry.
  • Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and halfway up the sides of 9" springform pan. Use a piece of waxed paper to help you press it evenly. Bake 10 minutes, then set on a cooling rack. Leave the oven on.
  • Purée all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or with a mixer for 3 to 5 minutes until very smooth.
  • Pour into crust, and bake 70-75 minutes, or until filling is set and the top cracks slightly. Cool on a wire rack, then chill completely in refrigerator, at least 3 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the inside of the cheesecake before releasing the pan. Slice and garnish each serving with candied pumpkin seeds (recipe follows) or candied cranberries.

Candied pumpkin seeds

  • If using whole seeds from a pumpkin, rinse them well and remove all the strings, then cover with well-salted water and boil for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain.
  • If using shelled seeds, skip the first step. Mix the other ingredients together and bring to a boil in a saucepan for one minute. Stir in the pumpkin seeds.
  • Pour the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper. Bake 20-30 minutes at 325F/140C/gas mark 3, stirring every 10 minutes and keeping the seeds spread apart so the syrup can thicken. These can burn easily, so pay attention.
  • Remove when golden brown and set the tray on a cooling rack. When they are cool, they will harden into a brittle. Break up into pieces and serve as a garnish with the cheesecake or eat as a snack.

Notes

Per slice:
  • 281 calories
  • 18 g fat
  • 4 g saturated fat
  • 1 g monounsaturated fat
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat
  • 0 g trans fat
  • 0 g cholesterol
  • 329 mg sodium (142 mg sodium with salt omitted, use unsalted butter or margarine to further reduce sodium)
  • 17 mg potassium
  • 22 g carbohydrate
  • 2 g fiber
  • 16 g sugars
  • 9 g protein
  • 8 Weight Watchers Points Plus