Rich, creamy and decadent-tasting pumpkin cheesecake, made with hemp hearts! It is nut-free (no cashews), vegan, and requires no baking! It is also high in protein and loaded with healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
This beautiful dessert merges three of my favorite foods into one: cheesecake, pumpkin, and (a surprise contender) hemp hearts!
Say Hello to Pumpkin-Hemp Cheesecake.
It is a guaranteed winner at holiday gatherings, with eaters of all kinds, and boasts the following attributes:
*No-Bake and No-Cook
*High Protein (10.5 grams per serving)
*Loaded with Healthy Fats (Omega-3 and OMega-6 Fatty Acids)
*An Excellent Source of Vitamins & Minerals such as Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc & Magnesium
Think Thanksgiving dessert at a deluxe spa.
With the exception of hemp hearts (which I will get to in a moment), the ingredients for this cheesecake are familiar: canned coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar (or the granulated sweetener of your choice), canned pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and both lemon juice and salt to get the faint tang and saltiness that typically comes from cream cheese.
The hemp hearts–shelled hemp seeds–are the real stars here. If you have heard of, made, or simply tried any creamy confection or savory sauce made with soaked cashews, I am happy to relate that hemp hearts can do the job as well!
Using hemp hearts is especially important for several dear friends who are deathly allergic to peanuts and cashews, but I also love their unique nutrition offerings: super high in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, high protein (11 grams per 3 tablespoon) and wealth of micronutrients. Hemp is a highly sustainable crop, too, and hemp hearts tend to be less expensive than raw cashews. Super win!
So, onward to cheesecake! Start by covering the hemp hearts in boiling water, enough to cover by about an inch. Let the hearts soak for 2 hours until they are very plump. You can also soak the seeds in cold water for 24 hours.
Because the hemp hearts are tiny, you will need to drain them through double layers of cheesecloth or a very fine mesh sieve. If using the latter, do not squeeze the liquid out of the hearts; just use the cheesecloth to drain off the excess liquid.
After draining, the 1-1/2 cups of seeds should measure a heaping 2 cups-full.
That’s it for the hard part. Now it’s nothing more than blend, pour and freeze.
At this point you may be wondering, “what about the crust?” To which I can reply, there isn’t one. It’s partly preference, but mostly a matter of simplicity. You are welcome to add your favorite crust, though!
Place the drained hemp hearts and all of the remaining ingredients into a blender, and process for several minutes until very smooth and creamy. Stop and adjust the flavoring as much as you like (sweetness, lemon juice, salt, spices, vanilla). I added a pinch of turmeric to bolster the orange color, but it is completely optional.
Pour into a 6-inch or 7-inch springform pan (I used a 7-inch) or any of the other options I mention in the instructions. Smooth the top, and into the freezer it goes for several hours until firm.
One to two hours before serving time, transfer the pan to the refrigerator to thaw slighty. Then remove the pan and transfer to a serving plate.
Serve the cake plain, or consider gussying it up with some whipped coconut cream!
Yes, it is as luscious as it looks :). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
- 1-1/2 cups hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
- ⅔ cup unsweetened canned pumpkin puree
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar (see notes for options)
- ½ cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (for added color)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional: Coconut Whipped Cream
- Place the hemp hearts in a medium, heatproof bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover by at least ½ inch. Let soak for 2 hours. Drain the hemp hearts through double layers of cheesecloth or a very fine mesh sieve.
- In a blender, place the drained hemp hearts, pumpkin, coconut sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, (optional) turmeric, and salt. Blend on HIGH speed for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on strength of blender) until completely blended and silky smooth.
- Pour batter into a 6- or 7-inch springform pan (7-inch used in photos; see notes for options).
- Freeze, loosely covered, until firm.
- Transfer cheesecake to refrigerator 2 hours before serving.(to soften). Run a knife, dipped in hot water, around edge of pan to loosen. Remove sides of pan. If desired slide a knife or spatula between cheesecake and pan bottom to loosen. Use a spatula to transfer/slide cheesecake onto a serving plate.
- Serve plain or top with coconut whipped cream.
Springform pan alternatives: The cheesecake batter can be poured into 8 large ramekins (or 10-12 small ramekins) or a 9-inch pie pan. The batter can also be poured into 9-inch baking pan (line the pan with parchment); use the parchment to remove the frozen cheesecake and cut into big, small or tiny squares.
Sugar Options: Feel free to sub n equal amount of the sugar option of your choice (e.g., light brown sugar, cane sugar) for the coconut sugar.