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Healthy Vegan Cherry Cheesecake Squares

These vegan cheesecake bars are made with a walnut-date crust covered in creamy cashew cheesecake filling and topped off with a layer of sweet cherry chia jam.

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 ½ cups chopped dates, soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch salt

For the Vegan Cherry Cheesecake Layer

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 4-8 hours
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Cherry Chia Jam Topping

  • 3 cups fresh pitted cherries
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients for the crust into a food processor bowl and pulse until very finely chopped and well blended. Scoop the mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Press into an even layer.
  • Wipe the food processor bowl clean with a damp cloth (it doesn’t have to be perfect), and then add all of the ingredients for the cherry cheesecake layer. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the mixture over the crust and smooth out the top with a spatula. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill until fully set, at least 2 hours.
  • While the cheesecake chills, make the chia jam topping. Place the cherries and maple syrup into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Lower heat and continue to simmer and stir, until the cherries begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Mash the cherries lightly with a fork and stir in the chia seeds. Continue to simmer for about 8 minutes, until the cherries are very soft and falling apart. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • When the bars are set, take them out of the fridge and spread the cherry chia jam on top. Cut into squares and serve.

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