Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe (Vegan)

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 our 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)!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serve this wholesome, gluten-free dessert at your Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration. Warm up a fresh cranberry sauce just before serving for guests to spoon over their slices. Be sure to keep the cheesecake covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This recipe can be made up to a day ahead of time.

1 cup superfine sorghum flour
½ cup arrowroot powder
½ cup pecans, finely ground
1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil (room temp)
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ cup millet
2 cups water
1 cup cooked, mashed sugar pie pumpkin
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup maple syrup or coconut nectar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Start by cooking the millet. Rinse millet in a fine mesh strainer under running water for a minute. Then place millet and the 2 cups of water into a small pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

To make the crust, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your spring form pan with parchment paper. (Trace the bottom of the pan onto the paper to form the size circle you need, then cut with a scissors).

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the sorghum flour, arrowroot, ground pecans, cinnamon, and sea salt. Add coconut oil and cut in with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Then add water and maple syrup. Quickly mix dough with a fork. Form into a ball. Press dough evenly into bottom of spring form pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

To make the filling, place the pumpkin, cashews, maple syrup, lemon juice, and spices into a high powered blender. I use my Vitamix. Blend until smooth and creamy. Then add the cooked millet and blend again, scraping sides down as needed. Blend until very smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust. Spread the top if needed.

Let cheesecake set at room temp for about an hour then cover and transfer to the fridge until completely set, at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove cheesecake from spring form pan and slide off onto a platter for serving. Source:

Serve with a cranberry sauce.

Other holiday recipes you might enjoy:
Pear and Hazelnut Salad with a Creamy Cranberry Dressing
Wild Rice Stuffing
Moroccan Quinoa Pilaf
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Coconut Sugar Apple Crisp

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Subscribe to this blog via Email
Follow me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, 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, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. 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. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


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

  2. What is mashed sugar pie pumpkin?

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

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

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

  7. 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!

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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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. :)

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

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


  15. 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. :)

  16. 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!

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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 ;)

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

  21. 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. :)

  22. 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!

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

  24. 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

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

  26. 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!!

  27. 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!

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

  29. 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??

  30. 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 :)

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. 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!

  34. 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 :)

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

    I am looking forward to making this pie this Thanksgiving!

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. 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.


Join the Conversation!

I'd love to hear your feedback with my recipes. If you make any changes or substitutions then please share what you did so others can learn.

If you have a question about a recipe, please leave it here. I will do my best to answer it when I have time.

Comment moderation is in place. Your comment will be only be visible here once I publish it.

Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)