Woke up to sub 50-degree temps and the wonderfully crisp scent of fall. That means it's definitely time for pumpkin season! To be more specific, it's time for pumpkin cheesecake season (with salted caramel crust, of course).
Back when we ate dairy, pumpkin cheesecake was my all-time favorite Thanksgiving dessert. It's usually much sweeter and less vegetal than a traditional pumpkin pie. My personal favorite pumpkin cheesecake recipe starts with a buttery graham cracker crust. Let's be honest, the crust is the best part of any cheesecake.
Since going dairy free, we've tried a few different recipes for vegan pumpkin cheesecake. Unfortunately, we found that nearly every recipe calls for a crust made with nuts and dates. That kind of chewy soft crust just doesn't live up to my expectations for a decadent pumpkin cheesecake. Since most vegan cheesecake fillings call for cashews or other nuts, I find that a nut-heavy crust is a bit overkill. I often feel uncomfortably full after just a few bites of most dairy-free cheesecakes.
Although this Pumpkin Cheesecake crust does contain pecans, the real star is a bit unexpected: crunchy chickpeas.Saffron Road Salted Caramel Crunchy Chickpeas, to be exact! They provide that satisfyingly salty/sweet crunch that's missing in many traditional vegan cheesecake crust recipes. Plus, anything salted caramel flavored is a win in our books.
Give Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecakes a try this fall and let people guess the secret ingredient. We always love to see the shocked look on our family's face when we tell them they've been scarfing down chickpeas in a dessert!
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Salted caramel crunchy chickpeas make for the perfect base for this creamy vegan pumpkin cheesecake!
Salted Caramel Chickpea Crust:
- 2/3 cup Saffron Road Salted Caramel Crunchy Chickpeas
- 2/3 cup pecans
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tsp agave
- 2 1/2 tbsp cashew butter
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling:
- 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked 2 hours in room temp water
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- Add pecans and crunchy chickpeas to food processor. Pulse until you have a crumbly mixture.
- Add in cinnamon, agave, and cashew butter and process until mixture sticks together when pressed between fingers.
- Press crust into bottom and sides of 4 1/2 inch tart pan and put in freezer while making filling.
- Blend cashews, pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, pumpkin pie spice and sea salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Slowly drizzle melted coconut oil in and blend until it is well incorporated.
- Pour filling into crust and smooth with spatula. Freeze for 1-2 hours or until filling is solidified.
- Soften at room temp for 10 min before serving. Serve with coconut whipped cream, vegan caramel and more Saffron Road Salted Caramel Crunchy Chickpeas!