Raw, Vegan Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

by Gena on September 9, 2013

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A few glances around the blogosphere suggest that people are gearing up for autumn. Pumpkin is starting to appear on Instagram, honeycrisp apples are being spoken of with glee, and I can practically smell the cinnamon wafting from certain granolas. It’s all incredibly delicious, but as much as I love fall flavors, I’m not ready. I’m still busy saying goodbye to the last of heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, arugula, cucumbers, and plump berries. While a lot of the veggies I just mentioned may last another few weeks (or in the case of corn, another few months), berries are just about to slip away for a while. So this weekend, I decided to create a little ode to summer 2013 with these raw, vegan blackberry cheesecake bars.

As beautiful and vibrant as these bars look, they’re quite easy to make. I suggest making the bottom layer a day in advance, and then simply blending up the top layer on the day you want to cut and serve these. You’ll need to let them set in the fridge for a few hours, but thanks to the magic of coconut oil, they won’t need too long. When they emerge, they’ll be sweet, firm, and ready to eat.

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Raw, Vegan Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided in half
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least two hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Instructions

  1. 1. To make the bottom layer, place the walnuts, dates, and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt in a food processor and pulse to break the ingredients down, till they're crumbled. Run the motor and process till the mixture is ground up and sticking together when you squeeze a little in your hand.
  2. 2. Press the bottom layer into a small casserole or baking pan that has been lightly greased with olive or coconut oil (I used 11" by 7.5"). Set aside while you make the top layer, or chill overnight.
  3. 3. To make the top layer, blend the cashews, blackberries, oil, remaining 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, and syrup in a high speed blender or food processor till they're as smooth as possible. Pour the top layer over the bottom layer in the pan. Use a spatula or inverted knife to smooth the top layer over very evenly.
  4. 4. Transfer the dish to your fridge and chill for at least three hours. Cut into bar shapes and serve.
  5. Yields 15-20 bars, depending on how big you'd like them.
http://www.choosingraw.com/raw-vegan-blackberry-cheesecake-bars/

These bars are sweet, a little tart, full of delicious fat from walnuts and coconut, and deliver all the joy of raw cheesecake with a little more portability.

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I’d say more about this recipe, but there’s just really not much to say that photos don’t say a lot better.

 

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If you’re so inclined, clasp the last golden days of summer with this wonderful dessert. Enjoy.

xo

 

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison M. Dickson September 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm

These look amazing! One little quibble though (I think it’s a typo?), you say for the crust to put the blackberries, dates, and salt into the food processor. You mean the walnuts, right?

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Gena September 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Oh my gosh, Allison, you rock for catching that. Thank you! Fixed :-)

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Allison M. Dickson September 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

No problem. I’ve been there many a time!

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Diane October 7, 2013 at 11:22 am

Could you give the nutritional information for these-carbs especially? Thanks!

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Shayna September 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Lol, I was going to give the head up on the typo in the email but Allison beat me to it! :) On the plus, it’ll make curious readers click through to check your blog that much faster. These look super-yum. Can’t wait to try them! Always love your creative recipes <3

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Gena September 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Gah, so not a plus. That’s a pain in the butt for my readers :-( So sorry, everyone who’s reading!

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Shayna September 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

You rock, Gena. Sorry if I was sounding flip about it, just meaning that I’m pretty sure everyone would understand. <3

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Alanna September 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

These sound (and look) absolutely delicious, Gena! Do you think they would freeze well?

Thanks! :)

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

Alanna, I think they’d freeze very well indeed.

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Anonymous September 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Thanks, Gena! Hoping to make them tomorrow, but instead of blackberries with some blueberries I have that need to be used up.

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Randi (laughfrodisiac) September 9, 2013 at 9:27 pm

They are beautiful! And they do seem quite simple. I’ll have to add it to the list!

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Jules September 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm

OMG…I’m drooling. These look divine. Thx Gena!

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lymieeatingcoconut September 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Looks delicious! I love blackberries. Wish I could get some locally.

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

I suspect this was my last batch for the year — but what a nice way to enjoy them. Any berry will work, though!

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Heather Williams September 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm

These are just lovely Gena! I love blackberries and must say they’re my favorite fruit of all. I’ve never thought to use them in a bar recipe:) Thanks for the inspiration!:)

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

Enjoy them, Heather!

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Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul September 9, 2013 at 9:39 pm

Wow Gena! These look so scrumptious. You never disappoint : )

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

You’re the best :-)

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Becky Beesley September 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Pinterest is telling me the picture is too small to pin. Can you help please? Would LOVE to pin this recipe :)

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

Strange, Becky! I have no problem pinning it. Did you try a couple of the shots?

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Lana M September 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Under instructions for bottom layer you have listed blackberries. Should it be walnuts?

Thanks!

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

Yes! I fixed that typo — sorry if it’s what you saw via email subscription.

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Chris September 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm

These look wonderful! I love anything vegan cheesecake-y. I would wonder how to adapt it to frozen berries so it can be made year-round.

The frozen berries I get at the farmers’ market (it’s late winter in New Zealand!) tend to have a lot of juice/liquid at the bottom after they defrost, and I wonder whether I should include that in the recipe or not. I might try it and let you all know!

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

Oh, Chris, that sounds like it would be a good addition. Let me know if it works!

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Emma September 10, 2013 at 4:07 am

Gosh these look so so good. I love blackberries and have been picking heaps recently. Love how simple this recipe is. I think I’ll make a small batch this week :)

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

Yay!

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jodye @ whole pure recipes September 10, 2013 at 4:47 am

I’m so torn between the summer and fall flavors right now, but these bars certainly have me wanting to scramble to the store for any blackberries I can find! I have never made a raw cheesecake, but it’s always been an alluring thought – all that rich creamy decadence. Obviously I can’t resist forever!

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gina September 10, 2013 at 5:27 am

I was wondering could I substitute the blackberries for another fruit? If so which one(s) see I am allergic to the blackberries

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

Sure! Blueberries or strawberries would work — do you have an allergy to all berries?

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Anonymous September 11, 2013 at 5:58 am

Thank you soo much for responding . No am only allergic to black berries all others are safe for me ! :-) ccan’t wait to try your recipe now

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Nabeela September 10, 2013 at 8:10 am

Ah, how beautiful these bars are…summer in every bite. Great job, Gena! :)

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the delicate place (@misathemeb) September 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

i’ve been waiting for this one! i’ve had some bluberries lurking in my freezer for just the occasion. as much as i love fall, i’ll embrace summer’s last gasp with this one ;)

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Stephanie September 10, 2013 at 8:52 am

These look too pretty to eat! A perfect end of summer treat for the HOT temps here in the Midwest this week…going to make these asap! :-)

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Suzanne @ hello, veggy! September 10, 2013 at 8:57 am

What a gorgeous colour! I can’t wait to give these a try; do you think blueberries would work instead?

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

Absolutely, blueberries will work.

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naomi September 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

Now I KNEW I should have picked up cashew nuts with the pumpkin seeds this morning *sigh* that looks so delicious and family has just gone on a blackberry hunt. Will have a bash tomorrow. Sometimes I think cashew nuts need a substitute for times like these

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 11:49 am

Naomi, you can always use macadamia or pine nuts for cashews, but I don’t usually opt for those because they’re quite a bit more expensive. If you happen to have them, though…

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naomi September 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Oh thanks Gena, I don’t have any of those either ( over did the baking last week) but I will get something tomorrow

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McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped September 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

I’m surprised there was no tofu in this! It looks so silky and creamy just like a cheesecake texture. Thumbs up!

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Catherine September 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

These look awesome–and I have some blackberries that I’ve been hoarding in the freezer, maybe time to use them.

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Liz September 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm

So, how much of the salt goes in the bottom layer versus the top layer? The ingredients list 1/8 teaspoon but then doesn’t specify how much goes into steps 1 vs. 3. Thanks! :)

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Gena September 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

It’s 1/8 tsp for each layer. I just edited the recipe to make it 1/4 teaspoon, divided and then specified for each step. Thanks, Liz! :-)

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Liz September 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm

That’s what I assumed, but since I don’t make many desserts, I wanted to verify ;) Thanks so much!

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Jon Lewis September 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Big fan of walnuts and cheese cake together! The color is like no other, had to do a double take and make sure they were real! Looks delicious.

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kimmythevegan September 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer produce yet either. I feel like we just got peaches and I feel like they will be out of season soon…

This dessert looks awesome Gena! I love how it has very few ingredients and can be thrown together fairly quickly, but is still a decadent dessert =)

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Mauigirlcooks September 10, 2013 at 5:02 pm

These look fantastic! Thnx for sharing!

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Christina @ The Beautiful Balance September 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm

These look incredibly delicious! I just purchased fresh blackberries and all other ingredients on hand so I may just have to make these!

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Romzzz September 11, 2013 at 7:52 am

Thanks for it. Will cook it for my diet.

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naomi September 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

I think I need a more powerful blender.Am currently attempting to smooth it all out but maybe I need to sieve the blackberries and soak the cashews for more then 3 hours? this is my first attempt at raw bars with more then one layer so fingers crossed

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Gena September 14, 2013 at 6:55 am

Oooh, sorry Naomi! This recipe works best for either a food processor or a high speed blender — regular blenders may not quite do the trick. Did you have any more luck?

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Alex @ Kenzie Life September 12, 2013 at 10:09 am

You always have the most inventive, pure, vegan recipes! And by pure I mean that you use these amazing whole food ingredients that I usually have on hand :) These look delicious! I wonder if they’d be good with cranberries instead of blackberries later on in the holiday season?

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Hannah September 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm

This is you asking me to marry you, right? Because yes I say yes I will yes.

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Catherine September 13, 2013 at 8:12 am

I agree – I am still hanging on to the delicious summer produce! But I feel the urge to make fall comfort food creeping in.

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Andrea @ Vibrant Wellness Journal September 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm

These look so so great! And your photography is so lovely! What a great dessert!

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Gena September 14, 2013 at 6:49 am

Thanks my dear!

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melissa @ my whole food life September 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Yum! These are right up my alley! Can’t wait to try them.

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Michele September 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

This look gorgeous! Definitely want to try them. Maybe a silly question, but do you melt the coconut oil? Thanks!

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Gena September 14, 2013 at 6:48 am

You do! Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

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Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset September 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm

These look super yum! But I gotta say… I am SO in the Fall camp, currently ;) Bye bye, summer! Leaves, pumpkin, soup, tea, lattes… <3

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Phil September 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I’ll definitely try this! I gave up cheesecake (a huge weak spot for me) when I started getting back in shape. But this recipe swaps out the cream cheese for healthy fats. Thanks!

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Kalina September 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm

This looks and sounds so yummy!! Sadly, I’m allergic to cashews — what would you recommend as a substitute?

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Pam September 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

These look DIVINE! I calorie count, so I’m trying to plug the recipe in and see how many calories it yields (approximately) but I’m struggling because I’ve never had pitted dates! So I’m not sure how many would fit in a cup? Help would be appreciated :) I’m so excited to make these, they look delicious as all get out!!

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Pam September 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

One more question! Can the dates be dried or do they need to be fresh? :) Thank you so much!

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Gena September 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

They should be dried, Pam.

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Gena September 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I’d guess a cup is about 8 medjool dates, packed?

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Pam September 17, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Thanks so much!

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Beth September 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

I am not Vegan but m sister is on a cleansing diet and eating mostly Vegan recipes. I pinned this for her but just out of naive curiosity what makes this cheese cake? I thought perhaps coconut milk would but I see it calls for coconut oil. Could you please enlighten me. I absolutely love your photos, the simplicity of this recipe, how healthy it is, and the color!!! Thank you so much for adding and making these!

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Beth September 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Ha never mind! I should have read Phil’s comment before posting my question! I get it! Ha!

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Gena September 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Beth, that’s simply a name I’ve given it because it *tastes* like cheesecake :-) It’s not literal by any means. The cashews are what create the creaminess.

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becci September 18, 2013 at 5:29 am

hey, I tried to make this last night and although it is delicious the top layer doesn’t seem to want to set any advice?

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Amy September 19, 2013 at 12:40 am

I just made these but they look nothing like your lovely pics! Ha… I have to laugh at myself for now reading through comments (perhaps I should have done that first). My coconut oil was soft but not melted down which made the top layer seem a little coagulated. My crust came out not so thick as yours looks and not as chunky looking (probably overprocessed them, oops)… Never-the-less I stuck it to chill over night and hope for the best :) And even if it looks funny, I’m sure it will taste good (I already nibbled on both layers along the way).

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Bromley September 21, 2013 at 10:39 pm

I made these today (had the link open on my computer all week thinking about them!). They are simply delicious. I have done tons of vegan cooking and baking, but not much raw, because it always seemed too complex. These were super easy though and have opened my eyes :). Thanks.

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Gena September 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I am thrilled that you loved them so much, Bromley!

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Rita September 23, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Sounds great! Do you think you could make this with blackberries which have already been frozen?

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Gena September 26, 2013 at 6:32 am

Yes, I think that would be fine.

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Naomi September 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Hi Gena, I made these bars for dessert last night. I used mulberries instead of blackberries, and the topping tasted delicious out of the blender… But something terrible happened while it chilled, and I think the coconut oil went rancid! The taste was terrible. Everyone says coconut oil does not go rancid easily, but I think it might have happened because I heated the coconut oil (maybe too hot?) and then blended it with the other ingredients straight away. Has this ever happened to you? Apparently oils can go rancid when they get “oxidised” which is likely when you heat it and then mix with oxygen.

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Gena September 26, 2013 at 6:31 am

Oh gosh! How awful. Actually, coconut oil is supposedly quite immune to going rancid; one of its main advantages is that it withstands heating very well. So it’s surprising that it went off. The nuts could have been rancid, too. In any case, I’m sorry it happened. Let me know if another batch works?

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Dave October 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Oh, man. Thank you for sharing. These were awesome. Really great crust, and so simple. I added a splash of rosewater to the topping. I’m trying your recipe sub wild blueberries next.

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Taryn October 5, 2013 at 3:42 am

I had all the ingredients for these except blackberries and walnuts, I love when I don’t have to buy a million ingredients for something! I made them today and I had to sneak a piece before it’s even set properly. The last time I made a cheesecake using nuts it didn’t set very well, and I’m not holding my breath for this one to set much either but its delicious anyway!

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Marfigs October 9, 2013 at 11:31 pm

These are just lovely, thanks for sharing the recipe! :D

I had to change mine about a bit due to what was available, but I’m definitely going to make these again (in even more flavours). I also have to try and get a smaller pan to make them chunkier, since mine came out rather flattish and wispy, but nom nom!

http://marfigs.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/upside-down-strawberry-bites-and-trepidation-about-rawness/

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Rachel Waters November 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Gena – I made these last night for book club tonight…I had to taste a sample for quality control of course and they are AMAZING. Totally reminiscent of cheesecake but far better! Can’t wait to serve them; no one else eats vegan and I am excited to show off some great vegan recipes! I also made your food52 polenta square recipe and am topping w/some vegan kale pesto. THANKS for all you do! Inspiration.

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Karmen November 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I made these today and subbed the coconut oil with walnut oil due to a coconut allergy. The topping came out a little soft but I put the whole tray in the freezer and then cut and re-packed them into a Tupperware and put back in the freezer. They’re like delicious blackberry cheesecake ice cream bars. Amazing recipe and I just can’t get over how beautiful the color is!

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Gena November 18, 2013 at 7:21 am

So glad you liked them!

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Catherine November 24, 2013 at 10:51 am

These are delicious!!! Love how simple and basically healthy this is! I’ve been trying a lot of other things, and I recently tried a pumpkin one. I use about 3/4 c of pumpkin puree, with pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Tastes just like pumpkin pie except really creamy and not nearly as much sugar in the pie!

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Gena November 26, 2013 at 6:54 am

Yum!

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Stephanie April 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm

These looks so delicious but I’m not seeing the actual recipe anywhere! Am I missing something? Lol.

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Brandi April 19, 2014 at 10:36 am

I am unable to view the recipe either. And i really wanted to make this for Easter at my inlaws today. :(

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