These Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecakes are vividly colourful, perfectly sweet and surprisingly healthy!
I absolutely love purple sweet potatoes, and have previously used them for lots of different desserts, including ice cream, mochi, milkshakes, and sticky rice cakes. I really like their natural sweetness, almost perfumey flavour, and of course their beautiful colour! They’re also really, really healthy. The Japanese island of Okinawa is home to some of the healthiest and longest-living people on the planet, and it’s no coincidence that purple sweet potatoes are a big staple of their diet.
What’s more, these are pretty easy to make too, and unlike a lot of other vegan cheesecake recipes you’ll see around, there’s no freezer required.
Another way in which they’re slightly different to more traditional vegan cheesecake recipes is that I use agar to make them set rather than coconut oil. I personally think this makes the texture softer and more conventional cheesecake-like and makes them taste better as well, because the flavour doesn’t become overpowered by the coconut oil.
The agar also happens to make them much healthier, too! Agar is a great vegan (and healthier) substitute for gelatine – it’s a natural jelly-like substance that comes from algae that grows in the sea. It was first discovered in Japan in the 17th century, where it is known as kanten. It’s very healthy as it’s around 80% fibre.
You will be able to find agar flakes in most local health stores or Asian supermarkets, if not your local supermarket. I use this one by Clearspring, which you can buy in supermarkets and health stores in the UK.
These cheesecakes are pretty easy to make too – all you need is one food processor, a muffin tin and muffin cases! You will need to cook your purple sweet potatoes first, but what I like to do is cook a big batch of them, mash, divide into smaller portions and freeze them. Spare frozen purple sweet potato is useful for making things like ice cream, mochi and milkshakes!
Although these cheesecakes are vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free, I promise you won’t be able to notice it at all. There’s a great combination of a salty-sweet, crunchy base paired with the soft, melt-in-your-mouth topping.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 75g pecan nuts/walnuts
- 85g dates
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 purple sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 100g cashew nuts, soaked and drained
- 1 cup any kind of milk (I like unsweetened almond milk)
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon agar powder dissolved in a splash of hot water in a separate bowl (check instructions on packet as it can sometimes vary between brands, or sub equivalent amount of gelatine if not vegetarian)
- Soak the cashew nuts either overnight in cold water or in hot water for 30 minutes
- Boil or steam the purple sweet potato until soft enough to pierce with a fork (should take about 15 minutes)
- Line a muffin tin with muffin cases
- Start by making the crust - add all the ingredients listed to a food processor and blitz until you get a crust that easily sticks together but that still has some texture
- Divide the crust mixture between the muffin cases, pressing down with your fingers or the back of a spoon to make it as compact as possible
- Place these in the fridge while you make the rest
- In the same food processor (no need to wash it out), add all the ingredients for the cheesecake and whizz until completely smooth
- Divide the cheesecake mixture between the cases and place back in fridge until completely set (will take up to a few hours)