Friday, June 13, 2014

No-Bake Mint Chocolate Cheesecake

I don't know about you, but I love the combination of chocolate and mint. I'll take it in any form...especially in the form of a cheesecake. :)  This recipe is for one mini 4-inch cheesecake (...since I probably shouldn't be left alone with a full-sized one).  If you'd like to make an 8-inch round or square version, you can double or triple the ingredients.  The spinach is only used for color-- you won't be able to taste it at all.  I also made a version using only mint leaves for both color and flavor, but it tasted a little funky. I'm not sure if my mint was bad or if I maybe used too much or too little, but in the end, I went with spinach and peppermint extract.  I never knew cheesecakes could taste so refreshing until now. (and not in a toothpaste kind of way)

Makes one 4-inch cheesecake (like one of these)

1/2 cup raw walnuts (or almonds or pecans)
4 soft pitted Medjool dates
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon water, if needed
Pinch of salt

1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for a few hours or overnight; drained and rinsed)
1 banana
A handful of baby spinach (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons coconut palm nectar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Pinch of salt
A handful of vegan chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Blend the crust ingredients in a food processor until a sticky mixture forms. (If your dates are dry, add the water to help the mixture blend)
  2. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of your mini cheesecake pan.  Set aside.
  3. Blend the filling ingredients together in a blender until smooth. (Depending on your blender's size and power, it may take a while to get the spinach leaves fully blended)
  4. Pour the filling mixture over the crust.  Sprinkle some chocolate ships over the top of the cheesecake, if using.
  5. Cover with foil and place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight until completely set.
  6. Let the cheesecake thaw for 15-20 minutes before slicing.  Serve chilled. 
Pretty simple, huh?  I really loved the flavors here.  And the miniature size was great, as it didn't take up too much space in my crowded little freezer. One slice/wedge was also the perfect size for a sweet treat after (or before!) dinner.  I will note that the vibrant green color diminished somewhat in the freezer.  This is likely due to the absence of lemon juice, which would have helped to prevent browning.  In any case, it was still green and tasted good, so who cares!  

This mini-sized recipe would work well with a powerful personal blender (e.g., NutriBullet) since the small amount of filling ingredients may not blend as easily in a full-sized blender (I used a Blendtec Twister jar).  It'll still work, but it might just take some extra scraping to get the spinach fully incorporated. But even if there are a few visible specks of spinach in your cheesecake, it'll still taste great. (think rustic!)

Enjoy! :)