Peanut Butter No-Bake Cheesecake (with PB and J Option)

February 23, 2012 at 6:34 am 29 comments

Until the past few years I haven’t been a fan of cheesecake. I think the aversion began when I was afraid of anything containing dairy, due to the fact I was told I was lactose intolerant and I would have major stomach issues. Turns out, I can eat dairy within reason and gluten was the culprit.

I thought I would give cheesecake another shot but with my twist on it. Since I eat a large majority of the things I create/make, it’s gotta be healthy or the waistline would suffer much more. I had great results with agar agar powder when making my coconut milk panna cotta so I thought I would give it a try with a no-bake cheesecake. This worked beautifully!!!

I made a no-cream cheese cheesecake with peanut butter, cottage cheese, almond milk and a no-bake chocolate crust and it has a rich and creamy texture and no fuss with a cracked top either! I’ve attempted a baked cottage cheesecake a couple times in the past with okay results – but it was nothing to write home about, this however is!

I served this cheesecake “plain” with chopped peanuts and another slice with a sour cherry compote – oh boy, this contrast is lovely! It’s the old-time favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich all dressed up in dessert form. The sweetness of the cheesecake, the saltiness of the peanut butter and the tartness of the cherry compote made me giggle with excitement. Strawberry or raspberries could also be subbed in place of the cherries for a yummy combo too.

Peanut Butter No-Bake Cheesecake

Ingredients

For chocolate crust (makes one 6 inch crust, can be doubled)
1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup raw almonds, peanuts
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal (or your favorite GF flour)
2 Tbsp cocoa or cacao powder (or carob powder for caffeine free)
4 medjool dates (soaked if really dry)
dash of sea salt

For filling
1/4 cup of powdered coconut/palm sugar (I pulsed mine in my magic bullet)
1 cup of non-dairy milk, divided (I used unsweetened almond)
1 1/4 tsp agar agar powder (not flakes, will need 3x as much)
2 cups of 2% cottage cheese (if really watery, strain for 15 minutes – mine was really thick)
1/3 to 1/2 cup unsalted, natural creamy peanut butter (I used 1/2 cup) – can substitute sunbutter for peanut free
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of stevia extract or liquid stevia to taste

For garnish
chopped raw or roasted unsalted peanuts

For sour cherry compote (inspired by my orange scented cranberry sauce)
1 1/4 cup frozen tart red cherries, chopped (could use fresh pitted cherries)
1 1/4 cup  fresh cranberries (you could use frozen too)
3-5 Tbsp coconut palm sugar, honey, agave OR 7-110 medjool dates OR a combo (adjust sweetness to taste)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup apple juice

Directions

For the crust:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, add all ingredients and pulse until combined. A ball should form and stick together. If too wet, add more oats, nuts or flaxseed meal and if too dry add a tiny drizzle of oil, milk or water and pulse again.
2. Press into a 6 inch springform pan (no need to grease) and set aside while you prepare the filling.

For the filling**: 
1. In a small saucepan, combine agar powder, 3/4 cup of milk and powdered palm sugar and stir. Let side for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a blender or Vitamix, combine cottage cheese, peanut butter,  vanilla, pinch of stevia and remaining 1/4 cup of milk. Blend until smooth and well incorporated (1-2 minutes)
3. Heat the agar, milk and palm sugar over medium heat until simmering and bubbles start to form. Stir constantly for one to two minutes until sugar is mostly dissolved and the mixture starts to thicken.
4. Remove from heat and add to blender. Blend immediately for one minute or until well combined.
5. Pour over prepared crust and let chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours up to overnight (or until set). Remove sides from spring form pan carefully, garnish with chopped nuts and serve with compote if desired. Enjoy!

For cherry compote (you will have extra after using for cheesecake, could use as a sauce for pancakes, breads, garnish etc):

1. In a medium saucepan, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to bring to a simmer  on medium-low and let cook for about 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Halfway through cooking (5-6 minutes) use a fork or a spoon to mash berries and cherries and release more of their juices. Let cook for another 5 minutes, occassionally stirring and mashing until thick. (sauce will thicken more as it cools)
3. Serve immediately warm or refrigerate until ready to serve for a chilled sauce. Heat on low to reheat if preferred warm and enjoy!

*If using dates for your sweetener for the compote, soak them until soft and puree them along with the juice before cooking

**Recipe Notes: I used one 6 in springform pan for the peanut butter cheesecake with the crust and poured the remaining filling into two glass serving dishes for a crustless cheesecake for kicks. This is an easy alternative if you don’t want to make the crust! You could pour it into cocktail glasses and serve with a compote or crushed gluten free graham crackers :) You could even make individual cheesecakes and divide and press the crust to the bottom of individual ramekins or glasses for easy serving.

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Entry filed under: Dessert, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegetarian. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erin @ Texanerin Baking  |  February 23, 2012 at 6:50 am

    No no no no! You’re posting way too many yummy dessert recipes that I want to make. Can’t you please post some more vegetable recipes? :)

    I love that this is a 6″ cheesecake. That’s how I make mine too since I end up eating it all by myself. I can’t wait to make this!

    Reply
  • 2. Jessy (squeezetheday)  |  February 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Looks wondeful. I assume there’s no sub ingredient for agar agar?

    Reply
    • 3. naturalnoshing  |  February 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Jessy! I hear you can substitute unflavored gelatin for the agar if you would like but I haven’t tried this – agar is the vegetarian version of gelatin. It will take longer to set and will require refrigeration – I would use 1 1/2 tablespoons of gelatin instead if you want! Hope this helps :)

      Reply
  • 4. Heidi @ Food Doodles  |  February 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Oooh, this looks so fancy!! I love that you made it nice and small. And the cherry cranberry combo in your compote sounds awesome and looks beautiful over top the cheesecake. Plus, pb+j is such an awesome combo to begin with :D

    Reply
    • 5. naturalnoshing  |  February 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      I like making smaller desserts since I am usually the only one that eats them :) The crustless ones were delicious too! It was a nice light dessert! I must say that compote was a great compliment to the PB cheesecake, it really rounded out the flavors well and had a bit of tartness mmmmmm. Thank you for your sweet comments as always!

      Reply
  • 6. Genevieve  |  February 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I love peanut butter desserts, and I love how you used it to create a healthier no-bake cheesecake – it turned out beautifully! I definitely wouldn’t leave out that fruity topping, sounds like the perfect pairing for that cheesecake!

    Reply
    • 7. naturalnoshing  |  February 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Thank you Genevieve! I am with you – peanut butter in dessert is fabulous! I think I actually preferred the cheesecake with the topping too, just like I like my PB & J better than peanut butter only :)

      Reply
  • 8. Cara  |  February 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Nora, this dessert just blew me away. I cannot believe that you managed to find a way to skirt around cream cheese and used cottage cheese and agar! WOW. You are definitely in your element when you are in the kitchen. xo

    Reply
  • 9. Kathy  |  February 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Ooh, yum.
    I found out a month or so ago that my family actually does buy agar agar (I was always afraid that if I bought it, I’d only use it once and it would just sit there and collect dust) so when I want cheesecake, this seems like a lovely recipe! Best part is is that it has peanut butter!!

    Reply
  • 10. Chicken Nuggets and Elmo  |  February 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    This looks amazing and I want to try it! I actually just got back from the health food store in town… and all they had were agar agar flakes. Can I pulverize those to use, and if so, should I still use 1 1/4 tsp?

    Reply
    • 11. naturalnoshing  |  February 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Thanks! I love your blog’s name, pretty cute :) Regarding the agar powder vs agar flakes, I would use the agar flakes since that is what you bought and I am not sure what the conversion is with pulverized agar flakes….but I do know that 1 Tbsp. of agar -agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar so I would use 1 Tbsp + 3/4 tsp of agar flakes in this recipe, I hope this helps! If you give it a try I would love to know what you think!

      Reply
      • 12. Chicken Nuggets and Elmo  |  February 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

        thanks for the tip… I don’t think I will have time to make it this weekend… as the hours of free time are slipping by… but maybe next weekend!

        PS: and thanks, I’m glad you like my blog’s name. It’s just kinda where I am in life right now!

  • 13. Sonia The Healthy Foodie  |  February 25, 2012 at 7:05 am

    OMG!!! How did I ever miss this???

    Looks so yummy! Hang on, got to go read the actual post, just looked at the pictures (not sure I should’ve… please tell me that this thing is Lent friendly, I am dying to have a piece NOW!)

    Be right back…

    Reply
    • 14. naturalnoshing  |  February 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      HAHAHAHA oh how I love you Sonia – I can just hear the excitement in your voice :) Lent friendly it is! This is your kind of dessert – healthy, packed with protein and delicious! I have already made two other flavor variations on it too! Just waiting a bit before I bombard everyone with cheesecake recipes hehe :)

      Reply
  • 15. Sonia The Healthy Foodie  |  February 25, 2012 at 7:10 am

    YES!!!

    I could very easily make a few substitutions and still enjoy this gorgeous cheesecake during this time of “abstinence”…

    Oh wow… seriously… peanut butter AND cheesecake all rolled into one? I’ll die!

    This is getting made, I can guarantee it! Looks way too decadent to pass!

    Say, Nora, how did you end up finding out that gluten was causing you problems? Did you have to run a whole bunch of allergy tests?

    Reply
    • 16. naturalnoshing  |  February 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      I can’t wait to see what you come up with Sonia!
      Regarding gluten, it was a bit of trial and error – no one had ever mentioned anything to me about gluten before…I always thought it was the dairy that got me. My reactions aren’t immediate, more like two days after so it was a little tricky. I hear that a good cleanse that eliminate some people’s issues because it could be due to the overconsumption of wheat products but a cleanse never eliminated my issues…I was off gluten for four months before deciding I wanted to get tested, but by then the doctor said it would probably show up as a false negative because it had already been out of my system for a long time. I would get tested soon if you think gluten is the culprit!

      Reply
  • 17. Erin @ Texanerin Baking  |  February 28, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Some reasons why this cheesecake is great.

    1. I can eat 1/4 of it and it’s only 1 tablespoon of sugar! That’s crazy.
    2. I can eat 3/4 of it and not feel guilty and feel really full and satisfied. :)
    3. It doesn’t taste that healthy and it’s delicious!

    I’m in a weird list mood. Now for the questions. :)

    1. Why does yours have those little holes?
    2. Mine stayed the texture of a peanut butter pie. The way I poured it into the pan was the way it stayed. Any idea what could have caused that? Maybe my cottage cheese was too watery? I don’t know anything about cottage cheese but there was no water to drain when I opened the containers. I followed directions exactly and was super careful with the agar. I really liked it and it was really creamy, but I want to be able to cut it so I can take pictures. :)
    3. How did it come out of the pan so cleanly? Is it really supposed to get cheesecake-texture-like?

    I made a fake Nutella cheesecake (with Sonia’s hazelnut spread recipe) and wanted a healthier version and this will be perfect. I’m going to make it again with fake Nutella and post it. I need a good healthy cheesecake. :)

    Thanks a ton for this recipe! I can’t wait to try the Nutella version.

    Reply
    • 18. naturalnoshing  |  February 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      I love the stats on the cheesecake – totally guilt free!! AND I am loving your lists btw :)
      1. I am not sure why mine has holes, I wonder if it has something to do with the cottage cheese I am using OR the face that I am not tapping the pan on the counter to remove the air bubbles?
      2. Hmmm peanut butter pie is good but that’s not what we were aiming for :( I wonder if the differences in cottage cheese brands play a part – you may need to add more agar powder — you could increase it to 1 3/4 tsp and I am guessing this should firm it up!
      3. Yep, I could cut right through it without any issues – I’ve made a strawberry version and a blueberry version with the same ratios and they all came out well…I am thinking it’s the cottage cheese. You could strain it over cheese cloth for a couple hours since the brand I use (Nordica) is really thick and creamy. It might also have something to do with the agar I used – I bought it from a bulk jar at the health food store so increasing the agar would also help to thicken it up and you wouldn’t have to strain the cottage cheese.

      I can’t wait for your Nutella version!!! That sounds divine!

      Reply
      • 19. Erin @ Texanerin Baking  |  March 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        Oh wow. My second stat was totally wrong. I did not eat 3/4 at one time! I “only” ate 1/4 at a time.

        I don’t think it has to do with tapping the pan to get rid of the air bubbles. I think that’s way too many bubbles for that to be the cause (although I could be totally wrong). Have all your versions come out that way? I guess it doesn’t matter. I was just wondering.

        I will strain the cottage cheese (I wish I knew how it’s supposed to be!) AND use more agar powder next time. I can’t wait for your berry versions! In the future I’m just going to make the filling. Filling is always more fun than crust.

        I made the Nutella today so the next cheesecake will be coming soon. :)

      • 20. naturalnoshing  |  March 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        Yep, all my versions have had air bubbles – my strawberry one has the same amount of bubble whereas my blueberry version has less. I wonder if it was the cottage cheese I used since I tend to buy different varieties based on what store I go to…the strawberry and PB versions used the same cottage cheese brand since I made those very close together…
        I think increasing the agar is the key but I think straining the cottage cheese would help too! I can’t wait for your Nutella version — eeeeee! I love hazelnut and chocolate!

  • 21. Erin @ Texanerin Baking  |  February 28, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Oh and I forgot:

    Alex, eating some cheesecake – Mhmm. I like it. But what is it?
    Me – Peanut butter cheesecake.
    Alex – Aaah. Aha. I like it.

    Just now:

    Me – Want some cheesecake?
    Alex – I liked it, but as you know, coffee isn’t my thing.
    Me – What?! It’s peanut butter!
    Alex – Oh. I thought you said it was coffee.

    I just don’t get people like this. Them and their horrible dessert memory. Crazy.

    Reply
    • 22. naturalnoshing  |  February 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      This sounds exactly like my husband too, how funny is that?!? and sad in it’s own regard…I am forgetful in many ways but when it comes to food then my memory is usually dead on hahahha :) Glad Alex enjoyed the COFFEE cheesecake…I bet that flavor would be delish, I am thinking mocha with hazelnut!

      Reply
      • 23. Erin @ Texanerin Baking  |  March 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

        Haha. That’s me. Exactly me. He asks me why I can’t ever remember anything other than past meals and desserts. He says that all my memory is reserved for food related things, but I think he just has a horrible food memory. He can’t even remember the chicken dish from 4 days ago that he called “the best chicken ever” while eating. But yeah, okay, I guess it would be nice to remember other stuff too. :)

  • [...] I have just been craving dessert. So I found this recipe and I am going to make it tonight: Peanut Butter No-Bake Cheesecake. It looks amazing and I am hoping it will satisfy my hankering for… something. Just another [...]

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  • 25. Cheesecake that is healthy | Yep!  |  July 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    [...] Healthy Cheesecake:  Peanut Butter No-Bake Cheesecake (with PB and J Option) [...]

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    [...] making my Apple Pie Cheesecake Smoothie as well as my no-bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake, this easy recipe can be whipped up for a quick dessert, breakfast or snack. Plus, the flavor [...]

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  • 27. Angela W  |  February 14, 2013 at 4:28 am

    This looks AMAZING! I am new to healthier dessert…is powdered coconut/palm sugar just coconut flakes & palm sugar mixed in food processor? Or can you find this combo in stores?

    Reply
    • 28. naturalnoshing  |  February 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Good question! This granulated sweetener is either called coconut sugar or palm sugar but they are actually the same thing. It looks a lot like a dry brown sugar, since it’s the sap from the coconut palms :) I hope this helps! If you ask for it at a health food store, they will definitely know what you are talking about, happy baking! Feel free to substitute another granulated sweetener if you prefer :)

      Reply
  • 29. Cheesecake that is healthy | Yep! | Morning by Morning  |  January 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    […] Healthy Cheesecake:  Peanut Butter No-Bake Cheesecake (with PB and J Option) […]

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