Raw Paleo “Pumpkin” Cheezecake

I used to own a food company called Zaza Raw. I made raw-vegan-paleo desserts that I sold at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Safeway and other grocery stores across the country. I folded the company in  the summer of 2015 for various reasons. If you are curious about the story/journey, I’d be happy to share it with you over a glass of wine (or two or three!). I still have people talking to me about the treats I used to sell so I’m sharing a recipe today!

If you look at the ingredients you’ll notice that there’s no pumpkin. You might ask why is there no pumpkin? Well, raw pumpkin is gross and really hard to work with plus you can’t find it year around. When you bring a seasonal item to be on shelf in the fall you’ll need to produce during the summer so the distributor has it in August in their warehouses so I wasn’t able to buy fresh pumpkin in June.

I eventually learned that the FDA has rules and you are not allowed to use the word pumpkin in the name if there’s no pumpkin in the ingredients, which makes sense- I just wish I would have known before printing a few thousand labels! So I ended up using organic pumpkin from a can, technically it’s not raw but it was the only way I could use the name pumpkin, and I would use the tiniest amount possible. So if you want to add pumpkin to this recipe go ahead but be advised and start with the smallest amount.

This recipe needs to be made ahead of time, first the cashews need to soak for at least 1 hour but longer is better. Then you need to freeze the cake in order to set. It will require at least 5 to 6 hours minimum in the freezer. So keep that in mind when you make this cheezecake (you are also not allowed to use the word cheese if there’s no cheese). The nice thing is that if you make this for Thanksgiving or a party you can  make it ahead of time and leave it in the freezer until an hour before you need it.



Raw Paleo "Pumpkin" Cheezecake
Recipe type: Dessert
  • Crust
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 2 to 3 dates
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • Filling
  • 1¼ cup of raw cashews
  • ½ cup of frozen butternut squash, thawed
  • ½ cup of frozen sweet potato, thawed
  • 3 tablespoon of lemon juice room temperature
  • ⅓ cup of water room temperature
  • ⅓ cup of coconut nectar room temperature
  • ⅓ cup of coconut oil room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Pinch of celtic sea salt
  • Note: I use frozen organic sweet potato and butternut squash, it's just easier with this recipe since they will already be soft once thawed. Stahlbush Island Farms is great but there's also other brands.
  1. To make the Filling
  2. First, soak the cashews and set aside. The cashews need to soak for at least an hour, two is better. Once the cashews are soak drain and rinse. Discard of the water. While the cashews are soaking you can make the crust (see below).
  3. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
  4. Place the cashews, water, coconut oil, coconut nectar, sweet potato, butternut squash, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice in a vita mix (or high speed blender) blend until it's creamy and there's no more lump. Taste to make sure it's sweet enough, it will become more sweet when you cool it down so be careful
  5. Transfer to the spring form pan over the crust cover with saran wrap and place in the freezer.
  6. To make the Crust
  7. Place the almonds and the dates in the robot coupe, pulse a few times until it's broken down in small pieces.
  8. Then add the oil and pulse a few more times, make sure to scrap the side of the bowl.
  9. Add ½ a teaspoon of coconut oil in a spring form pan and spread around
  10. Dump the crust in and press it at the bottom. Set aside



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