Cheesecake for breakfast, you say?

pumpkin cheesecake decorated with whipped cream

While at the grocery store the other day, the clerk looked at my sweet potato pile and remarked “Wow, I haven’t had a sweet potato in years. I really should start cooking again.” While my household burns through a sack of sweet potatoes every week, I wasn’t surprised by the lack of that beautiful root vegetable in his life.  I was, however, perplexed by this idea of not cooking. How are people eating? I can’t imagine every meal is picked- up on the go.  Is it all microwaved meals? I simple can’t wrap my mind around this concept. Keep in mind, I also can’t understand how people “forget to eat” while they’re busy, or skip breakfast regularly.

The more I pondered this idea of being able to survive without cooking, I considered reasons behind this madness. I often hear lack of time being a factor in not preparing even simple meals. I remember the college days of eating hard boiled eggs and Grapenuts for breakfast before class, so yes, I can appreciate the extra time gained for not having to cook each morning (and the lack of dishes).

Which brings me to my most important message I bring for those time-starved humans out there who want a something quick, easy, delicious and nutrient dense for brekkie: cheesecake, made from cashews, no cooking required (insert mike drop here).  Did I mention it offers a healthy load of protein, fiber, and quality fats while being reasonably low in sugar?

While I’m more of a savory breakfast eater, I think this cheesecake can satisfy the sweet and savory breakfast people alike. Just pair a slice with a warm cup of tea and there’s breakfast. The old adage says ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, while Chinese medicine says ‘eat like a King in the morning’. Either way, having a hearty breakfast will serve you well, and you’ll use that energy throughout your day, leaving you feeling better than a post-meal cheesecake at 9pm ever did.

This recipe is pretty forgiving for substitutions in the realm of flavors. You can sub fresh or frozen fruit for the pumpkin (be sure the frozen fruit is defrosted before blending). I always encourage experimentation in the realm of non-cooking! I recently made a modified rendition of this mint chocolate one, and it was a home run.

For the crust:

1 cup of almonds (hazelnuts are also a lovely choice here). Alternatively you can use almond flour to make it super easy.

2 TBSP liquid sweetener (I prefer maple syrup, or you could use granulated sweetener, whisking it into the melted coconut oil).

1 T vanilla extract

1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted

1/4 tsp. sea salt

For the filling:

3 cups raw cashews (soaked 4-6 hours, or overnight)

1 cup unrefined coconut oil, gently melted

1/2 cup liquid sweetener (100% maple syrup is a solid choice here)

Juice of 3-4 lemons, depending on size. 4 lemons will give your cheesecake a nice pop: if you’re sensitive to the sour flavor, stick with the juice of 3 lemons.

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. powdered ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

Optional: dash of ground cardamom

Make the crust first. Process the almonds in a food processor or high quality blender (like a Vitamix), until they are ground. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and process until the dough starts to come together. Press the dough into a pie pan, or for easy portioning, muffin tins. Dough should be about 1/4″ thick.

For the filling: Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until mixture is smooth and creamy (it should be very smooth).

Pour filling into over crust to desired thickness. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some leftover, that you can pop in the fridge for 30 minutes and then eat like a pudding-cup! But I digress. After pouring in filling, put muffin tin or pie plate into the freezer. Freeze for 30-60 minutes for ideal consistency. If you’ve used a pie plate, when your cheesecake has formed enough to be sliceable and hold up, portion out your beautiful creation as desired. Using parchment or waxed paper to separate pieces, you can store any cheesecake you don’t foresee eating in the week in the freezer (when you go for these in the future, take them out about 2 hours before you want to eat them for the most creamy consistency). Leave the other pieces in the fridge, for easy grabbing in the morning for your King-ly breakfast! Pairs amazing with tea or coffee.

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Amanda Johnson (AJ) practices at Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. She loves to show patients how Chinese medicine is fantastic at relieving body pain, aiding recovery and enhancing vitality. When not in the clinic, she will be out hiking, cycling, or playing in the water. 




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