Sunday, December 22, 2013

A final Christmas post - my main meal plans and a raw vegan mango cheesecake to say Happy Christmas

My Christmas food posts didn't stretch to main meal options this year. There is a reason for this, and it isn't just laziness (promise!): others have done a far better job on the topic than I could. Plus, many of the dishes I posted in round-up form last year, and the year before, still look appealing. I suspect you didn't want or need another round-up now.

This year, my own Christmas dishes will make use of Angela's brilliant Christmas-themed menu on Oh She Glows. I separately bookmarked her Best Shredded Kale Salad (with pecan parmesan and cranberries) and Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls (with a cranberry-pear sauce) as Christmas ideas, and when she included them in her Christmas menu planning post, it was reinforcement that they were meant to be. After Johanna's post on her experience with the lentil balls, I will be following the recipes exactly - I have even tracked down  the required sherry vinegar!

These vegan dishes will be complementing a traditional roast turkey dinner with roasted vegetables (for my family), and an assortment of desserts. My dessert contributions will be a layered twist on the (vegan) Christmas ice cream I shared in 2011, and some homemade chocolates.

With Christmas menu planning done and dusted, my main focus for today is saying happy Christmas to you. Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice (yesterday!), summer solstice (also yesterday!), or just plain season.

Much as I'd love to send you all some chocolates, cookies, flavoured nuts, or whatever you would most like...that's a little bit tricky to pull off. So instead, I'm sharing a recipe. I know you don't want to make another dish this week, and it seems a bit mean to make you create your own present. However, trust me when I say you do want to make this dish eventually, and it is super easy to make.

This mango cheesecake is adapted from the 'Fijian' cheesecake of my raw desserts workshop. It is raw, vegan, and takes about 10 minutes of active preparation time. It will keep in the freezer for 3 months, or in the fridge for 5 days. If you don't have fresh mango? Tinned would work within the cheesecake itself, and you could top with berries instead.

It might be the best raw vegan cheesecake I've had...and I am developing quite a repertoire of past experiences.

Mango cheesecake
This dessert has the creamy tartness of traditional cheesecake, but makes use of whole food ingredients
Raw and vegan
Food processor required
Makes 1 cheesecake to give 12 slices

For the crust 
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup dates

For the filling
2 cups cashews soaked in water for at least 8 hours, and drained
Flesh from 1 medium-large mango, roughly chopped (retain any juice too)
1 banana (probably optional but this lightens the filling slightly)
1/2 cup agave
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup coconut oil

To top
1 medium-large mango, sliced

Line a pie dish with baking paper, or make use of a cake pan/pie dish with removable edges.

To make the crust, process the almonds, coconut and dates in a food processor until finely ground and starting to clump together. Press firmly into the bottom of your dish/pan and set aside.

Rinse your food processor bowl and then add the soaked cashews, mango pulp and banana. Process until smooth, at least 1 minute. Add the agave and vanilla and then gradually add the lemon juice and then coconut oil while the food processor is running. Allow to blend for 30 - 60 seconds after all ingredients have been added.

Pour the cheesecake filling over your base. To facilitate setting, set in the freezer for 2 hours before transferring to the fridge for an additional 6-8 hours. Alternatively, allow to set in the fridge for closer to 12 hours before removing from the pan.

Top with additional sliced mango before serving.

A recap of my 2013 Christmas-themed posts...
Vegan pumpkin pie berry pancakes
Hazelnut and cherry carob cookies
Edible gift ideas
18 lower sugar Christmas cookies

This will be my last post before Wednesday - so Happy Christmas!


  1. Perfect! We have ripe bananas and about a hundred mangoes so I am totally making this. Ooh, and I have cashews soaking as we speak. Winning.

    1. I hope you enjoy it Theresa! It's certainly a dessert well matched to your tropical climate :-)

  2. Thanks so much for this recipe! It looks delicious, will try it for sure. I love mangoes. I wish I could magic one up right now! Hope you have a lovely Xmas x

    1. Thanks so much Kate! I hope you enjoy this if/when you get to it, and happy Christmas to your family too :)

  3. Wow that looks delicious - I am not such a mango lover but would like to try a strawberry version. Have a great christmas - hope you enjoy the stuffing balls - am impressed at your determination to follow the recipe- I just often use what is in my kitchen as I often don't organise myself to buy the right ingredients or (more likely) I have some that I need to use up.

    1. A strawberry version would be lovely - and so would most fruits I imagine. As for following recipes, I am usually exactly like you (not very good at it and use what I have to hand!), which is why I took particular heed from your experience with these balls ;) I figure for Christmas I should play it safe!

    2. Oooo strawberry sounds good! That would def be the way I would make this cheesecake

  4. One thing I've learned from the recipes you've shared is that if you want to go raw & vegan, you better not have a tree nut allergy. Another recipe that looks like something I'd love to try, but can't eat the almonds or the cashews. :-(

    1. Oh dear, I'm sorry :( Not much of a present for you! You're correct in that being raw and vegan usually involves nuts...but vegan alone definitely doesn't have to. I think you could make this using coconut cream in the filling instead of nuts + coconut oil too. I'll try to share some nut-free recipes over the coming months!

  5. Your Christmas menu sounds amazing. I do like the sound of that kale and pecan salad. And I love the look of your mango cheesecake and love how it's decorated with fresh mangos. I must buy some mangos today! Have a very Merry Christmas with best wishes for the New Year xx

    1. Thanks so much Charlie - I am really looking forward to the kale and pecan salad, and am also curious as to how my Dad (not someone I'd associate with kale!) will view it ;) I hope you get all the mangoes you can desire and a great Christmas on Wednesday.

  6. Merry Christmas to you too, dear Kari! Enjoy your final Aussie summer Christmas before you join us in the wintry northern hemisphere ;)

    1. Thank you, thank you! I'm pretty excited about that, although have realised I'll be having back-to-back summers over the next 9 months ;) I think I might just like English summer though. I hope you have a wonderful, not-too-cold, Christmas yourself xo

  7. Sounds lovely! Have a great Christmas Kari.

  8. Angela's lentil balls were on my ideal Christmas menu! I'm a little sad I don't get to do any cooking this year but one day I hope to host :)
    The mango cheesecake is exactly my kind of dessert. Merry Christmas to you and your family Kari!

    1. You'll definitely have to make them another time Emma! They were delicious :)

  9. I haven't made Angela's "meat" balls but have been dreaming of them since she posted them. I am not surprised to hear they were fantastic!

    That cheesecake sounds incredible. I haven't had cheesecake since going vegan and miss it terribly. Plus, mango is one of my favorite fruits! Yum.

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday with loved ones!

    1. I've found these types of raw vegan cheesecakes to be really close to the non-vegan type! There are some differences - because I like these but actually don't like the regular sort - but I think they relate to how they make me feel afterwards (not sick with these ones, a bit sick with the regular!) rather than taste per se :)

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    This means that you actually kill fat by eating coconut fat (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from large medicinal magazines are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world upside down!


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