This Vegan Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake is perfect creamy, salty, and sweet! A dairy-free “cheesecake” filling made from coconut and cashews is swirled with bright strawberry jam and then poured into a crispy pretzel crust. Easily no-bake and gluten-free!
What is Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake?
Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake is a soft and creamy dessert made from coconut, cashews, and strawberries with a salty pretzel crust. It tastes very similar to traditional cheesecake but it made entirely without dairy. To prepare, we add ingredients to a blender, pour them inside the pretzel crust shell, and chill to serve. It’s inspired by the Midwestern classic recipe Strawberry Pretzel Salad.
What is Strawberry Pretzel Salad?
According to Farmer’s Almanac, this recipe is described as “not a salad at all, but a light dessert that resembles a cheesecake with a sweet-salty pretzel crust made with pretzels, butter, and brown sugar, and a fruit topping.”
It is said to have originated in a 1960’s cookbook entitled “The Joys of Jello.” Since then it has become an American tradition (most notably in the South), where it is often served at potlucks and cookouts. You likely already gathered that this dish is not traditionally vegan (or even vegetarian, thanks to the presence of gelatin/Jello).
This recipe follows a similar layered approach, with a baked pretzel crust made with just three ingredients. Using fresh strawberries and jams yields a much lighter but nevertheless decadent dessert.
Ingredients Needed for this Recipe + Possible Substitutions
For the pretzel crust:
- 2 cups crushed pretzels (This can be from a few cups of whatever kinds of pretzels you have on hand. I used minis. You want the texture to not be incredibly find, but rather “crushed” with a bit of texture)
- 8 TBS melted vegan butter
- Maple syrup as needed to further bind the crust (optional, if you need more binding power)
For the cheesecake base:
- 1 cup cashew pieces, raw or roasted, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to soften
- 1 cup coconut cream (This is the hard substance on the top of a can of chilled coconut milk, NOT coconut milk itself)
- 3 TBS lemon juice, from about 1/2 of a large lemon
- 2 TBS cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup strawberry preserves, or whatever jam you prefer
- 2 TBS maple syrup
- Extra strawberry jam to swirl on top, along with pretzels and fresh berries to garnish
How To Make This Recipe Gluten-Free and No-Bake
Use gluten-free pretzels in the crust base and this recipe is automatically gluten-free. The crust will hold up just as well!
There are a few ways to make this “no-bake.” First, feel free to use a store-bought pretzel crust to save time, and then just blend + pour the filling to chill. Secondly, instead of baking the pretzel crust as outlined below, you can freeze it in the baking dish before pouring in the cheesecake base to set.
Love cheesecake? Check out this recipe for Vegan Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Bars next!