Can you believe we’re almost halfway through May already?! Holy smokes.
That means my first wedding anniversary is in a week-ish (double holy smokes), summer is practically here, and summer produce is coming back into season! So many good things to be excited about.
Summer produce is what we’re going to be excited about today. STRAWBERRIES to be exact! Berries are just soooo summertime to me, and I love incorporating them into desserts. Their fresh, bright taste is perfect for celebrating the segue of spring to summer! And they make things turn pink (insert heart eyes emoji).
So let’s get on with the celebrating…
Hello cheesecake bars!
These strawberries & cream cheesecake bars only require nine ingredients total (one of those is optional) and can be whipped together in under an hour. You will have to wait more than that hour for the bars to chill and set in the fridge…but I promise it’s worth the wait.
Totally worth the wait.
The crust is made with graham crackers + coconut oil, and requires ten minutes of baking to give a nice crunchy, crumbly base to the bars. You could probably do a nut-date base if you prefer to keep everything raw and no-bake. However, I haven’t tested it that way, and I honestly just prefer graham cracker crusts for my cheesecake desserts! And so does my husband, so there’s that too.
It might not be the healthier choice, but graham cracker crusts win in this household! Choose your battles. I choose to let the grahams win.
Graham cracker crust wins by a landslide
I recently took a few of these cheesecake bars to my husband’s fire station (shoutout to any of you guys reading this!) and they were 100% approved. Creamy, dreamy, fruity goodness transported to your mouth on a slightly crisp, slightly crumbly graham cracker crust.
Like seriously, what’s not to approve of?
These vegan strawberries & cream cheesecake bars would be the perfect dessert at a spring-summertime get-together, or as a special treat for a Mother’s Day brunch! You do know that holiday is coming up this weekend, right?…
Whatever reason you have to make these, it’s a good reason.
- 1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (~1 sleeve of 9 graham cracker sheets)
- 5 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
- ¾ cup coconut cream*
- ½ cup almond milk
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 cup chopped strawberries, divided
- ½ tsp red beet powder (optional)*
- First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and coconut oil until fully combined and all the crumbs are coated. Transfer to prepared baking dish and press evenly into bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
- Next, make the filling. In a high speed blender, add the cashews, coconut cream, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend for a few moments until only small cashew bits remain, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Add the coconut oil and continue to blend for several minutes until completely silky smooth and no chunks remain.
- Scoop out ½ cup of the filling and set aside (this will be the white swirl!).
- Add ½ cup chopped strawberries and red beet powder (if using) to remaining filling in blender. Blend for a few seconds until no large strawberry pieces remain.
- Evenly pour pink filling onto the crust, and then drizzle on the reserved white filling. Sprinkle on remaining ½ cup chopped strawberries (they will sink a little).
- Cover and place in fridge overnight (24 hours is best) to set. Cut into 9 squares and serve. You can alternatively place bars in freezer if you like a more firmly set cheesecake consistency.
*The red beet powder is not absolutely necessary. It just adds a little extra color to make the filling more pink.
Want more spring/summer dessert recipes?
Collaborating with other foodies is fun, and that’s what’s happening here! I made these Vegan Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake Bars as part of a spring-summer dessert extravaganza with some of my food blog friends to help you celebrate the seasons! Time to get your baking on for real with even more yumminess! Here are the links to their fab recipes: