In light of events over the past few weeks, I am finding myself pulled more and more towards the season of thanks and gratitude. As recent news has reminded us, life is short, and I’m more thankful than ever for things I often take for granted: friends and family, a loving partner and security.
We’re heading for Wisconsin early tomorrow morning and I am looking forward to unplugging for a few days to connect with loved ones, eat, drink and be merry. For me, Thanksgiving is a gentle reminder to become more present, putting down my phone and laptop, and spending quality time around the dinner table with people I hold most dear. Food is definitely my love language, it’s how I bond and connect with others and I know this is true for so many of us. When we meet a new neighbor, we welcome with food. When a baby is born, we celebrate with food. When something tragic happens to someone we love, we console with food. It’s an offering of care and consideration that can serve as a reinforcement or replacement for words. Food forges bonds and community.
To showcase my gratitude to you, I want to share one of my favorite recipes of late, these no-bake pecan pie cheesecake bars. They are a slight riff on my pumpkin pie pecan bars that I shared last year, this time with a rich, creamy, dairy-free filling.
While these bars are definitely cleaner than most cheesecake bars, they are still an indulgent treat. I’m OK with that though. I care less about calories and fat grams than I do about what goes into my food. I’d much rather enjoy a dessert made from nuts and natural sweeteners then one laden with overly processed fare.
The pecan pie base is so decadent, I don’t blame you if you decide to forgo the cheesecake filling all together! I swear I eat about half of the filling before I get around to pressing it into the baking pan. It’s sweet, salty, and buttery- just like I know pecan pie to be. The filling is a vegan cheesecake layer made entirely out of coconut, cashews, and maple syrup, a triple threat combination that won’t have anyone missing the dairy. Even though it tastes very similar to traditional cheesecake, I prefer this combination as it doesn’t come with that heavy cheese aftertaste.
I tested this recipe the same day I made a quick-caramel sauce for my Everyday Chef column and decided to drizzle the leftovers on these bars after they cooled. Naturally sweetened caramel sauce on top of pecan cheesecake bars? I don’t know how it gets any better than this. It’s optional, but if you have time, I highly suggest you make it. To save valuable oven space, make these a day or two ahead of time. They are best stored in the freezer and then pulled out to room temperature 15 minutes before serving.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! ❤️
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!Print
Vegan Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars Recipe Type : pecan, cheesecake, desserts, sweet treats, glutenfree, vegan Author: Alex Caspero Prep time: 20 mins Total time: 20 mins Serves: 16 bars Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars! Vegan and Gluten-Free! You are going to love these clean eating bars! Pecan Pie crust with dairy-free, no bake cheesecake filling. Topped with toasted pecans and maple-caramel syrup. A must make for Thanksgiving, Christmas or the Holidays!
- Pecan Pie Crust
- 3 cups raw pecans, divided
- 5 tbsp. light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 6 tbsp. non-dairy butter, cubed (I like Earth Balance brand)
- Vegan Cheesecake Filling
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2-3 hours
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (in the can, not in the carton. You need full-fat so it sets up correctly)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- Maple Caramel topping, optional
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon almond butter (peanut or other nut butter will work too)
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Place 2½ cups pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Add butter and pulse until mixture is finely ground and resembles wet sand. Press the pecan mixture into a well-greased or parchment lined 8 X 8 pan. Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly colored and fragrant. Set aside until cool.
- Place the drained and rinsed cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, and maple syrup in a high powered blender and puree until creamy and smooth. This process may take up to 5 minutes, depending on the power of your blender. Pour cheesecake filling on top of crust.
- Chop the remaining 1/2 cup pecans and sprinkle on the cheescake.
- If using maple syrup topping, combine the maple syrup and almond butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until thick, about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla extract and sea salt and let cool slightly. Drizzle over the cheesecake topping.
- Place in the fridge/freezer for at least 4-6 hours until firm. These will set up better in the freezer, but will need to thaw at room temperature for 10 minutes until ready to cut.