There’s a reason why The Cheesecake Factory has a 45-minute wait during prime time dinner hours at every major mall across America. Who doesn’t love cheesecake? But when I called up a dietitian a few months ago to ask if there was a somewhat healthy dessert order at the beloved chain restaurant, all I heard were crickets on the other line of the phone.
Thankfully, cheesecake isn’t automatically off the (healthy) table. Leave it to chefs Mia Rigden and Jenny Dorsey, the hosts of Alt-Baking Bootcamp, to give the classic dessert a healthier twist as well as make it 100-percent vegan and high in fiber and protein.
For the crust, the chefs use raw walnuts, pitted medjool dates, sea salt, cinnamon, and cardamom—warming spices to round out the flavor. Dates are a great way to add sugar without using the refined stuff, and they also offer lots of other nutrients, says Rigden. “[Dates are] a wonderful source of fiber,” she says, key for a healthy digestive system, while also adding in some antioxidants and vitamins and minerals (like potassium).
Plus, with the walnuts in the crust and the cashews in the cashew cream base of the cheesecake, you’re getting lots of protein along with omega-3 fatty acids, copper (which is good for collagen production), and yes, more antioxidants. That means every slice of this dessert is both high-protein and high-fiber—a major nutritional win.
The absolute best part: You don’t even have to use the oven to make this dessert tonight. Sold yet? Watch the video to see exactly how it’s done, and let them eat cake!