There are an enormous number of recipes online for raw, vegan desserts that look very appetizing. While these desserts are nutrient dense and are made without refined carbohydrates, they are also EXTREMELY calorie dense, filled with cups and cups of raw cashews, walnuts, coconut oil, maple syrup, agave nectar and dates. If you are trying to lose weight keep in mind that even though these raw desserts are healthier than traditional store bought desserts, which are loaded with sugar and butter (the worst combination for fat loss), you cannot go and eat the whole the dessert!
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy desserts, but when I create a dessert I try to make the dessert nutritious without the excessive amount of calories. I try to reduce the carbohydrates, focus more on using protein sources for the filling and still try to make it taste good. This low carb, high protein Chocolate orange cheesecake is an example.
Rather than using cups of raw cashews and coconut oil for the filling I have used ricotta cheese, Greek yoghurt, whey protein powder and gelatin. This dessert is by no means raw or vegan, in fact with the gelatin, it is not even vegetarian, but it is low in carbohydrates, rich in high-quality protein, including collagen from the gelatin, contains a small amount of unsaturated fatty acids and medium chain saturated fatty acids from the hazelnuts and coconut oil, respectively, and is full of micronutrients, such as vitamin E from the hazelnuts (although this is reduced upon roasting (1)) and calcium and vitamin D from the ricotta cheese and yoghurt (2).
If you are trying to lose weight, I suggest you limit yourself to one slice of this cheesecake, as it is practically a meal in itself. But if you do happen to have a more than one slice (as I did!), don’t feel like you have totally thrown your weight loss plan out the window. Just consider it as an extra serve of protein that happens to be quite tasty.
½ cup hazelnuts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 drops liquid stevia
1 tablespoon cocoa, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon orange zest
250 grams light ricotta cheese
1 cup Greek yoghurt
3 tablespoon cocoa
2 scoops of a good quality vanilla whey protein powder (I like Glyco-Whey by SynTec)
Juice of 1 orange
Zest from 1 orange (finely grated orange rind)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons gelatin dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water
- Add the hazelnuts and coconut oil to a food processor and process until the hazelnuts resemble the texture of crumbs.
- Tip the processed hazelnuts into a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until well combined.
- Tip the base mixture into a 20cm x 20cm square baking tray (or a round baking tray if you prefer) lined with baking paper.
- Press the base down firmly with wet hands. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes. Take the base out and allow it to cool while you prepare the filling.
- Rinse the food processor then add the ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt and process until combined.
- Add the cocoa, whey protein powder, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract. Continue processing until well combined.
- In a separate small bowl, pour the boiling water over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the dissolved gelatin to the food processor and process until combined.
- Pour the filling over the cooled base and allow the cheesecake to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
- Schlörmann, W., Birringer, M., Böhmc, V., Löber, K., Jahreis, G., Lorkowski, S., Müller, A. K., Schöne, F. and Glei, M. (2015). Influence of roasting conditions on health-related compounds in different nuts. Food Chem. 180: 77-85.
- Agostoni, C. and Turck, D. Is Cow’s Milk Harmful to a Child’s Health? J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 53: 594-600.