Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ali Segersten Oct 29, 2009 38 comments
Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

If you are looking for a great alternative to traditional cheesecake for your Holiday celebrations, I’ve got one for you. A dairy-free, egg-free cheesecake with a gluten-free pastry crust….and the filling? Well, fresh baked sugar pie pumpkin to start, then cashews, and maple syrup….but what else? Hint: it is also soy-free!

I got the idea for this "cheesecake" from the Lemon Teascake recipe in my cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. Though that original recipe came from the vegan, gourmet Café Ambrosia restaurant in Seattle. It was such a lovely restaurant but is no longer in business. Tom and I dined there only a few times as it was a little pricey for our student budget back then, but their amazing food was worth every penny!

Recently on our Facebook Page, Nichole E. left me a little note on our wall asking for a gluten-free pie crust recipe. Well, today I am going to share one of my pastry crusts. Interestingly, I didn’t realize until last week that our Facebook Page had a wall where people were leaving notes and questions for us. I clicked on something and then they all popped up! I am not technical at all, I haven’t even figured out how to use Twitter yet!

You’ll need a 9-inch spring form pan for this recipe, which can be found at most kitchen stores. Here is one from if you are interested. I don’t use non-stick bakeware but this one on Amazon is.This lovely dessert has more steps than most of my recipes but is really very easy to accomplish. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. (All of the little indents in the photo below are from my twins poking their fingers into it while it was setting)!


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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i am allergic to nuts and dairy, but i'm not vegan so i used one egg to make a nut-free crust & filling......i made it yesterday, and this is how i substituted....

Crust: 1/4 cup chia seeds + 1/4 cup coconut flakes + 1 egg.

Filling: 1/2 cup soft coconut meat + 1/4 cup whole coconut milk and I only used 1/4 cup + 1 Tb. maple syrup. I doubled the spices too.

It turned out fabulous! Though likely not as 'cheese-cakey' as your original.

This comment has been removed by the author.

I was wondering if I can use Tapioca flour instead of arrowroot?

I am looking forward to making this pie this Thanksgiving!

So I made this last night, and its been in the fridge all night after I let it sit out at room temp for an hour, but it didn't set up. What could I have done wrong so I can fix it in the future? It tastes AMAZING though :)

This looks delicious! Do you have any other vegan "cheesecake" recipes? I would like to make a plain one or maybe with chocolate or fruit. Thanks!

i finally made this two days ago, but mine came out more like a custard and had a bit of a bitter taste. any advice? thanks!

Hi there, first I must say that I was given your cookbook by my husband's stepmom. She knew that I has but out refined sugar and gluten and new that your book was the one for me! The cookbook is already well-thumbed.I love that your recipes are full of delicious things found easily in the pacific northwest (I'm just north from you on Vancouver Island!)
Thank you for sharing all these other recipes online. I'm wondering if I can substitute the pecans in the crust with another nut (but not walnut) -- any suggestions?
Thank you

Julia - Gosh I really don't know what would work other than millet. If you do end up trying another grain, I'd be very curious to know how the cheesecake comes out. Merry Christmas! -Ali :)

I was going to make this recipe tonight or tomorrow morning for christmas eve. I went out and bought all ingredients but can't find millet at any store within an hour of me. Can someone PLEASE give me a suggestion of a substitution to try out??

I made this for thanksgiving! What a treat! It was so good!!

This recipe was great. I made this pie for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it--even those who usually snub my gf/df/soy free baking. The only thing I changed was substituting veg. shortening in the crust instead of coconut oil and leave out the cinnamon (both of which my husband has reactions to) so I used nutmeg, allspice and ginger--it turned out delicately spicy, which was great. AND we used 'Rice Whip' by Soyatoo (they just started carrying this at our Whole Foods), which was also great (altho it requires special treatment--read the can before you want to use it!).

When I read this recipe, I admit I had misgivings about the millet and ground up nuts, it didn't sound like it could become pumpkin pie to me. But it worked! Although I have been researching some other cheesecake recipes and wonder if the addition of agar agar would help it become a little more firm. It may be able to be mixed into the maple syrup before it is added to the pumpkin and nuts. I am going to experiment with that.

I love pumpkin pie and whipped topping and missed it greatly and now I can have it again. Thanks for the recipe!

This is absolutely delicious! Thank you, thank you! I made a trial run of three different pies/cheesecakes to see which was the best for Thanksgiving. This is my first attempt at trying to show my family that I can eat good things, since they pretty much think I eat vegetables and air. (I just recently found that I am allergic to so many things). This cheesecake was the best by far of all the recipes!!! I think you are pure magic!!! I have my pie chilling in the fridge to wow my family for tomorrow's thanksgiving! Thank you again!!

Just two words: MILLET?!!! NICE!!

Ali, This is great! It will be on our T-Day table. I went to buy superfine sorghum flour, but recoiled at the price. So, I threw my regular sorghum flour in the coffee grinder, and ran it until it became fine enough to work very well. I'm going to try this method out for the pastry crust from the pecan pie recipe we got in class the other night. Fabulous, as usual! (a pox on convection ovens.) Barb

i'm really looking forward to trying this! i love the cashews for the creamy/cheesy flavor that i've been missing ;)

That looks really good! And, not Twittering yet, you have to give it a try! It's tons of fun!
Thanks for joining in the fun at the Holiday Food Fest!

Anne - Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Have a happy Thanksgiving. :)

Kim - I like how you used stevia in your pie, that is a great idea. This is one of the few crusts I have been able to make w/o xanthan. It works well. :)

And yes, I did see no xanthan in the crust, woo hoo indeed! THe crust looks great!!!!

I need to get your cookbook - funny that the pumpkin pie recipe i just posted is so similar to yours! The Voluptuous Vegan is a great book, great minds must think alike ;)

Thank you! And we enjoyed the cheesecake very much. A must for our family Thanksgiving. It had a great creamy texture with none of the guilt or tummy upset that comes with "real" cheesecake.

Anne - I hope you enjoyed the cheesecake! We use a Vita-Mix 5000, but I hear the 5200 series is nice too. :)

I made this up this morning - currently it is chilling in the fridge and I'm staring at the clock! But making this made me realize I really need a new blender. Is there a specific Vitamix that you recommend? Thanks!

Stephanie - Thanks! :)

Shirley - I hope people can find benefit with this recipe. Now I just need to modify it to be cashew-free as well. :)

Your cheesecake is a beauty! You are helping so many folks by coming up with this recipe! :-)


This looks absolutely divine! Can't wait to try it.

Lauren - Thanks! :)

Rachel - Mashed sugar pie pumpkin is made by cutting in half (and scooping out the seeds) a pie pumpkin - then baking it in the oven. Once baked, simply scoop out the pumpkin and mash into a measuring cup. Pie pumpkins are smaller and sweeter than carving pumpkins. You should be able to find them at most grocery stores and pumpkin patches t his time of year. Canned pumpkin would also work in this recipe. :)

Living and Loving in L.A. - Buckwheat and rice would be hard for me to take out of my diet. We eat a lot of quinoa; it looks like you can do that one right? Hope you find lots of good things to this cheesecake! :)

Kim - Can't wait to see your recipe! I have a vegan, soy and sugar free pumpkin pie recipe in our cookbook too. Hope you enjoy this cheesecake...did you see no xanthan in the crust, wohoo! :)

GF Gidget - Hmm, I have had a few requests now for a cashew-free cheesecake. I have some ideas using coconut milk and lessening the water to cook the millet. I'll try it soon and add and option under the recipe here. :)

Kelly - Too funny, um yes! :)

Hallie - Yes, I think canned pumpkin would work just fine, though I haven't tried it that way. I think the filling would be a little thicker, which would be fine. Enjoy! :)

Pam - Thanks! :)

Micco - Thanks, yes rich and delicious but totally nutritious. I mean this could also be a snack. :)

Lisa - Hmmm, you could give the regular sorghum a try, though the crust may be a bit crumbly and/or gritty. You may need to add a touch of xanthan gum. Please let me know how it turns out. :)

SG - Thanks for your sweet comment. :)

Heather - WOW - there are a lot of entries. :)

Thanks for participating Ali. Your pie looks amazing. Be sure to check my blog to see the round-up, we had over 20 participants!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't know about the wall in Facebook. Your lifestyle seems like a dream I have never been able to have. Bless you for sharing.

Hi Ali!

I am going to a pumpkin carving party tomorrow and would love to make this. It would be a dessert I can eat! However, I don't have the superfine flour, would regular sorghum flour work?

Thanks so much for the yummy dessert recipes!

I love the idea of a nut-based cheesecake. Yours looks amazingly rich and delicious. Very clever!

That looks SO good!

Do you think 1 cup of canned pure pumpkin could be substituted for the sugar pie pumpkin?

This is so going to be part of my Thanksgiving!

Were we separated at birth or something? lol I wish you lived closer :-) Kelly

I'm allergic to cashews. Do you have any suggestions for a substitution?

Ali, this looks amazing! So funny, I'm just getting ready to post my vegan, soy free, gf pumpkin pie tomorrow. 'Tis the season! I love the idea of using cooked millet with the pumpkin and cashews - I bet this texture is amazing. I'll have to try this recipe ASAP, maybe this weekend. And your crust recipe looks great too - I'm always up for trying a new GF crust. THanks for sharing, as always!

Oh my gosh! I can eat this!!! I try my best to eat as close to vegan as possible, and just found out I have a plethora of food allergies, so now I have to stay away from wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, corn and rice too. It's very challenging eating vegan when you can't have grains. SO I'm super excited to see this!!! Thanks for the great post!

What is mashed sugar pie pumpkin?

Oh my goodness. This looks fabulous! I love the flavours and ingredients you used - Yum!

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