Are you ready to hear something awesome?
This year, for the first time in the 11 years that I’ve been vegan, I’m going to be attending an ALL-VEGAN Thanksgiving.
Over the past decade, I’ve been to all kinds of Thanksgivings. Thanksgiving at the in-laws (when I was married), ones at my parents’ house, some meals in my friend’s houses, and even one in the airport while traveling abroad. In all those years, in all those homes, I have always had to celebrate the holiday of gratitude and thanksgiving while in grief over the beautiful creatures that had to die for the inconsequential holiday experience.
This year, that’s all going to change.
This year, as I celebrate the harvest of the season, my dear friends and family, and immense gratitude for life’s good adventures, I get to do it in a way that aligns with some of my deepest values of how we should live and eat.
And because I’m the vegan expert in the family, my mom has asked me to plan the menu that we will all contribute to this year’s Thanksgiving.
- Kale Pomegranate Harvest Salad with Tofu Feta
- Portobello Mushroom Gravy
- Sage and Garlic Cream Biscuits
- Apple and Hazelnut Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
- Garlicky Mashed Potatoes
- Wild Rice & Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash
And of course, this classic vegan pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.
How to make Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
This vegan pumpkin cheesecake is a variation of the cheesecake I’ve been bringing the last few years to my Thanksgiving gatherings.
What makes this cheesecake so incredible (besides the creamy pumpkin cheesecake filling that is spiced to perfection and baked into the smoothest, silkiest custard) is the gingersnap crust.
Step one – Vegan Gingersnap Crust
For the crust I use just two simple ingredients:
- vegan gingersnaps
- vegan butter
You can find vegan gingersnaps at your local grocery stores. Most gingersnaps happen to be vegan but it’s a good idea to always check. If you want to make a gluten-free crust, I love these vegan and gluten-free gingersnaps.
For this crust, it is also important that we use the highest quality vegan butter. For that reason, I suggest using Miyoko’s cultured vegan butter. This award-winning vegan butter is truly the best vegan butter on the market. Its taste and texture are identical to dairy-based butter and will give you the complete melt-in-your-mouth feel for this vegan pie crust.
If you can’t find Miyoko’s butter at your local grocery stores, I would suggest Earth Balance as the next best alternative. Or you could just pick up a copy of her cookbook, and make your own incredible vegan butter.
Step two – Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
You’re going to love how easy this vegan cheesecake filling is. The ingredients for the filling ar:
- vegan cream cheese
- granulated sugar
- pumpkin purée
- silken tofu
- vegan sour cream
- all-purpose flour,
- vanilla extract
Let’s talk about a few of these ingredients.
Best vegan “dairy”
Wait, is sugar vegan?
This is one of the most common questions I am asked as a vegan baker. The answer is yes, sometimes. To make sure you are using vegan sugar look for beet sugar, organic sugar, or unrefined sugar. For more detailed information about how sugar is made and how to ensure you find vegan sugar, check out this article.
What is silken tofu?
Every once in a while I get a reader who is unfamiliar with silken tofu. Unlike regular tofu, silken tofu has a creamy texture making it the perfect egg replacer for creamy pies such as Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Cream Pie as well as custard-based desserts such as Lemon Bars.
When blended, it incorporates completely with the other ingredients giving the recipes a thick and creamy (pudding-like) consistency without adding any strang tastes.
Do I have to use silken tofu?
Yes, for recipes that call for silken tofu, you do. Unfortunately, regular tofu just won’t work. With regular tofu, you will end up with a grainy base with tofu chunks that just never break down. It’s not good. Believe me, I’ve made this mistake.
Where to find silken tofu
Regular tofu is in the refrigerated section at your local grocery stores, but don’t be fooled! Vacuum-packed silken tofu is shelf-stable so it is typically found on the shelf, often in the International aisle near the Asian foods. Look for a box that looks like this.
Make sure to buy firm or extra firm; this is important for getting the correct pudding-like texture. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, you can always pick some up online.
Step three – Bake the Cheesecake
Bake the cheesecake for 60-75 minutes, checking for doneness after 60. The cheesecake should still have a little wobble, but start pulling away from the sides and cracking a little on the top when it’s done.
Remove it from the oven and let cool for 60 minutes before putting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours. Letting it cool first at room temperature prevents the cheesecake from cracking.
Serving and Storing Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Serve chilled with pecans or coconut whipped cream.
- This cheesecake can be made in advance. Once it is completely cool, tightly wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, pull it out and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
More Vegan Pumpkin Dessert Recipes
- Classic Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie
- Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars
But before you go, let’s take a look at this vegan pumpkin cheesecake below.
Rich and creamy vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake made with a gingersnap crust and topped with toasted pecans for the perfect vegan Thanksgiving dessert.
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 399 kcal
Author: Sarah McMinn
- 2 cups vegan gingersnaps
- 6 tbsp vegan butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9" springform cake pan with parchment paper and spray the bottoms and sides thoroughly. Set aside.
To make the crust, pulse the gingersnap cookies in a food processor to a uniform crumb. Once cookies are broken down, slowly add melted butter and process until well combined. The crust should stick together when pressed between your fingers. Transfer crust onto the prepared cake pan, evenly pressing the crust down around the bottom of the pan with your fingers, and set aside.
Clean out your food processor and then combine cream cheese and granulated sugar, blending until smooth and well combined.
Add pumpkin, tofu, and sour cream and blend again, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add flour, spices, and vanilla and blend until combined.
Pour cheesecake batter into prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet in the lower rack of your oven. Add 1/2" of water to the baking sheet to give it steam. This will allow the cheesecake to bake uniformly.
Bake for 60-75 minutes. Check for doneness after 60. The cheesecake will be wobbly, but start pulling away from the sides and cracking a little on the top when it's done. Remove from oven and let cool for 60 minutes before putting in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Serve chilled with pecans or coconut whipped cream.