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Cashew-Macadamia Vegan Cheesecake With Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Two hours north of NYC is the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a refuge for more than 4,000 farm animals since 2001! The Sanctuary also hosts an education center that teaches visitors why and how to lead a compassionate vegan lifestyle – from cooking classes to summer camps to educational lectures. In an effort to share their wisdom and tasty recipes with the world, staff Chefs Linda Soper-Kolton and Sara Boan have interwoven more than 100 recipes with stories about the farm’s resident chickens, pigs, cows, and horses in their 2019 cookbook Compassionate Cuisine. This book aims to share delicious, healthy, comfort food with a compassionate outlook that will make a difference in our lives, the lives of animals, and the planet!

Here is an excerpt from the cookbook! If you make this drool-worthy cheesecake please fill me in on the comments below!

Cashew-Macadamia Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce

by Linda Soper-Kolton and Sara Boan

Makes 1 (9-inch) cheesecake, or 12 to 14 servings

No one should have to do without cheesecake—ever! Smooth and rich, this cheesecake boasts compassion and nutrition as two of its main ingredients, something regular cheesecake can’t do. Macadamia and cashews blend beautifully to create a creamy base. And is there anything a chickpea can’t do? In this recipe, chickpeas create a dense texture and a complex taste that you wouldn’t get with nuts alone. A simple graham cracker crust works beautifully (Nabisco’s regular graham crackers are accidentally vegan), as does the gluten-free version that uses ground almonds and a little granulated sugar. The light, crumbly crust takes only minutes to make. The filling needs only a blender to create. And the salted caramel is optional, but more than worth it.

Allergens: Contains nuts and ingredients that may contain soy

Special Equipment: Blender, 9-inch springform pan


Graham Cracker Crust

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs, from about 9–13 crackers, depending on the brand

6 Tbsps vegan butter, melted (or 6 Tbsps

melted coconut oil and ⅛ tsp salt), plus more

for the pan)

Gluten-Free Almond Crust

1½ cups almond flour or almond meal

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsps vegan butter, melted, plus more for the pan


1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2–3 hours in water, drained

1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts, soaked for 2–3 hours in water, drained

1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (15.5-ounce) can regular coconut milk

1 cup maple syrup

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsps apple cider vinegar

2 ½ Tbsps cornstarch

1 Tbsp tahini

2 tsps vanilla extract

¾ tsp salt

Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup brown sugar, packed

6 Tbsps vegan butter, cut into chunks

½ cup canned coconut milk

2 tsps vanilla extract

¼ tsp coarse salt

To Serve

Flaked salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 325°F. Trace the bottom of the springform pan onto parchment and cut it out. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment circle and lightly oil the sides with butter. Line a baking tray with parchment and place the pan on top; this will make clean up easier.

To make the crust, break the graham crackers into a food processor and blend until finely ground. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Empty the crumbs into the springform pan and firmly press them evenly into the bottom and up the sides.

To make the filling, place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend, while scraping down sides occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until completely smooth and creamy. There should be no gritty texture in the mixture.

To assemble the cake, pour the filling into the springform pan. Set the oven rack in the bottom position. Place the pan on a baking tray lined with parchment and put in the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes. If you notice the top is browning too much, place a piece of foil over the top of the pan without touching the filling.

To make the salted caramel sauce, place the sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over medium-­high heat, while stirring occasionally. As the sugar heats, it will begin to melt and darken. When that starts to happen, you’ll need to stir it more frequently. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pot from heat and stir in the butter. When the butter is melted, place the pot back on the heat and stir in the milk. Cook, while stirring, until the mixture just starts to bubble. Keep cooking for about 1 minute after the initial boil, then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt and set aside to cool.

The cake is done when it is mostly firm to the touch around the outer perimeter with a slightly less done center. It will firm up further when cooled completely. Remove the cake from oven and let cool on the counter before putting it into the refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight.

To serve, cut slices and place on plates. Drizzle with salted caramel sauce and sprinkle with flaked salt. Extra caramel sauce can be stored in a sealed container for up to one month.

Excerpted from Compassionate Cuisine: 125 Plant-Based Recipes from Our Vegan Kitchen by Linda Soper-Kolton and Sara Boan, with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Copyright 2019 by Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Photographs by Alexandra Shytsman.

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