18 May 2017

Recipe: Vegan Cheesecake Pops

I grew up in a neighborhood where the ice cream truck was a staple visitor in the summer months. If I could find an ice cream truck that served this delicious treat, the kid in me would go running for the truck today.

Makes 9 ice pops

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews 
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted 
  • 1 cup strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, fresh or frozen 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Put the cashews and dates in a bowl, cover with water, and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. 
  2. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid. Transfer the cashews and dates to a blender, along with the berries and lemon juice. Puree until smooth and creamy, adding enough of the soaking liquid to make a creamy consistency. 
  3. Spoon the puree into freezer pop molds, cover, and place craft sticks in the molds. Freeze until firm, about 3 hours. 
  4. To remove the pops from the molds, rinse the molds under cool water for 30 seconds, remove the lid, and gently pull the pops from the molds. Serve immediately, or store frozen in zip-top bags.

To make vanilla cheesecake pops, leave out the berries and add 2 tablespoons more cashews, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract to the blender.

Removing the pops from the molds can take a little effort and a little patience. The first time I made freezer pops I thought that hot water was the best way to get the pops out of the mold. Instead, it made a mess. Practice patience in the kitchen and teach your kids the same. You will be rewarded with a better treat for your efforts.

Sugar-free desserts may not taste sweet enough for those first starting to eat a healthier diet. It can take several weeks for your taste buds to down-regulate. If your kids, or you, are not enjoying sugar-free choices like this one, start by replacing half of the dates with an equal amount of maple syrup and then slowly reducing the amount of maple syrup while increasing the amount of dates in subsequent batches.

Recipe courtesy of The China Study Family Cookbook.
Chef Del Sroufe is co-owner and Executive Chef of Wellness Forum Foods. He is the author of Forks Over Knives-The Cookbook, The China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook, The China Study Family Cookbook, and Better Than Vegan, the story of his struggle with weight loss and gain, and how he managed to lose over 200 pounds on a low fat, plant based diet. Del teaches cooking classes and helps people transition to a plant-based diet. Learn more at chefdelsroufe.com.