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Raw Pineapple Coconut Vegan Cheesecake Nut-Free: Part 2

Substitutions Part 2:  Raw Pineapple Vegan Cheesecake Nut-Free

Please read to the end for the recipe.

A funny thing happened while working on this post. It involves jello, pineapple and my mother, Cora. A little more on that later.

In my quest to help people with substitutions, I decided to write a three part series on substituting cashews in desserts. The first substitution, pine nuts, worked like a charm. You can see part one and the recipe here: Raw Lemon Thyme Pine Nut “Cheesecake”. It’s worth a read to get a better understanding why substitutions aren’t always straight forward.


Raw Pineapple "Cheesecake"


This is a series on finding substitutions for cashews, especially in desserts. But because so many people can’t have nuts at all,  I decided to make the this recipe completely nut free. I turned to coconut as the base ingredient and set out to see how it would all come together.

Opening 5 young thai coconuts, even for someone who is used to doing it (see how here: Young Thai Coconuts) is a bit labor intensive. But if you can get past that, the flesh of the young thai coconut makes a refreshing base for this “cheesecake”. I honestly would call it more of a soufflé cake, due to the texture


Raw Coconut Pineapple "Cheesecake"


Once again, I wanted the flavors to love each other and what loves coconut more than pineapple? Plus, the addition of fresh pineapple lightens up the coconut is a beautiful way. Think acidity cutting fat. So, in went one cup of fresh pineapple that got pureéd into the mixture and one cup of chopped pineapple to round things out.

I did everything else as I normally would and popped the little beauty into the refrigerator, thinking that I would photograph it the next morning. Imagine how surprised I was when I un-molded the “cheesecake” and it started to gently spread. It had not completely set up, even with an entire cup of coconut oil in the base. I was a bit astounded.

Knowing that adding more coconut oil or coconut butter would really start to affect the mouth feel and taste in a negative way, I instead tossed it in the freezer. A few hours later, voilá! A beautiful frozen dessert that tastes divine. But what about that setting up problem?

In comes Mom. I have to tell you something about my mother (who will not let me tell you how old she is, even though I want to so you can see how amazing women can be at all ages), she is a store house of little known facts. If you could have a partner at Trivial Pursuit, you would want my mom. When ever a question about almost anything comes up between my daughters and I, “Call Grandma” is the first thing that comes out of our mouths.

So, I am talking to my mom she asked me about the second dessert. “I had a little trouble with it setting up,” I say. “You know,” Mom says,  “You can’t use fresh pineapple in jello. It prevents it from setting-up.”

I jump on the computer and look up pineapple and jello. Now, jello or gelatin is a far, far cry from coconut. It is made from cow’s hooves and apparently the bromelain in fresh pineapple contains two enzymes that break down collagen which prevents the jello from setting up. Ok, I know. Coconut flesh is a far cry from gelatin but it did get me thinking enough to inspire me to try the same “cheesecake” with strawberries. Even though I don’t expect it to make a difference, maybe something interesting can be learned here.

For now, enjoy this refreshing raw Pineapple Coconut “Cheesecake” frozen. Make sure you let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving to soften a bit. And I will post the strawberry version next!

*Please note: Because this recipe is a substitution recipe, I don’t have a substitution for the substitution. So, if you don’t like, or can’t have coconut, I would suggest trying one of the many other dessert recipes on the site.


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  1. Rachel wrote on June 30, 2015

    Which book is this recipe in?

    • Susan wrote on June 30, 2015

      Hi, Rachel, This recipe is on the site, here. It isn’t in any of the books. Cheers!

  2. Deanna wrote on March 19, 2015

    This cake looks amazing. You have some of the most beautiful food I’ve seen! I wish young coconuts weren’t so expensive….

  3. Alifemoment wrote on February 24, 2015

    Wow I love this blog, love the recipes and your photography! 🙂

    • Susan wrote on February 24, 2015

      Thank you!

  4. Coconut lover wrote on August 20, 2014

    Thank you SO much for this recipe and all the others on your site!! I am so pumped to have found your site and am interested in recipes for healthier eating. Used to eat the traditional American Diet and was just delighted to run across so many educational, informative, and delicious recipes on the internet. Thank you for your time!!! We tried this today and it is just so very yummy!! I happen to live in the tropics and used coconuts straight off of our trees, but for any of you up North, I have been able to find them at farmers markets and places like Trader Joes, Whole foods, or any international markets. Good luck and it is worth a try!… Oh yeah, for the person that asked about the coconut milk. It would probably work with the milk, but the milk is different from the water (and not raw, if you want a fully raw dessert). Most people believe the liquid inside the coconut is milk, but it is actually water. The milk is produced by boiling the water and the meat together. The milk may just change the flavor a bit and is a tad bit thicker than the water, but not enough to make a difference in consistency.

    • Susan wrote on August 21, 2014

      When you open the young Thai coconut, the liquid that comes out is the “coconut water”. Just use that. It is fresh, full of nutrients, raw and unprocessed. 🙂

  5. kate wrote on July 29, 2014

    Well, for all of you interested in the agave debate, i just read a great article. go to and read it. I seems very well researched. Probably just type in ‘agave: is it good, or is it bad’… k.

  6. kate wrote on July 29, 2014

    about the agave conversation…..most all of them say ‘raw’….I just keep hearing things about agave that are not that great…i think it is a pretty high heated product. and same with coconut oil. Most all of them are made from dried meat that is dried at a pretty high temperature. Then pressed, or whatever. There are maybe one or two out there that are actually raw….one that i know is ‘Dua Dua’ coconut oil. It is more expensive, but boy, is it worth it. You can really tell the difference. I bought a case of it, from Hummingbird distributors in Eugene, OR. Got it through my local grocer. So… to cap it off, I myself, tend to steer clear of agave. It’s too readily available, and syrupy, and I just don’t trust it. k.


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