Vegan Key Lime & Avocado Cheesecake Bites

What better way to kick off the summer than with a delicious vegan cheesecake. Wait a minute. A vegan cheesecake? Yes, you read that right! It’s now easier than ever to prepare a rich and decadent cheesecake that’s completely vegan, gluten and dairy-free thanks to a new plant-based cream cheese from Kite Hill made from artisian almond milk. I scooped mine up at our local Whole Foods, but you can check their store locater to see where they’re available at a store near you.

These scrumptious little cheesecakes feature an easy homemade graham cracker crust topped with a smooth and creamy key lime and avocado filling. They make the perfect summertime treat for yourself and the little ones – especially when topped with homemade coconut milk whipped cream! 
For the crust:
6 full sheets of graham crackers (or 3/4 cup crumbs)
3 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the key lime and avocado cheesecake filling:
12 ounces Kite Hill cream cheese alternative
1/2 avocado, mashed 
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon key lime zest 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon blue green algae (or green food dye)*
1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp water (or 1 large egg at room temperature)*
For the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray mini cheesecake pan well with cooking spray (I used organic coconut oil spray). I used a mini muffin pan for these since we don’t actually have a mini cheesecake pan and it works just fine! If you go this route, feel free to add cupcake liners for easier removal. 
2. Add graham crackers to a blender or food processor and process until you have fine crumbs. Scoop the crumbs into a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and sugar, then mix until well combined. Evenly distribute the mixture between all 12 cavities in the mini cheesecake (or muffin) pan, making sure to press each one down firmly into an even layer. Bake at 325º for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Keep oven temperature at 325º. 
For the key lime and avocado cheesecake filling:
1. Prepare your flax egg by mixing the flaxseed meal and water in a small container. Place in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to thicken up. 
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the Kite Hill cream cheese until smooth. Add in the avocado and granulated sugar and mix until well combined. Add in the key lime juice, key lime zest, vanilla extract and blue-green algae and mix until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then, add in the flax egg and mix on low speed until just combined.  
3. Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling between all 12 cavities of the pan and return to the oven. Bake at 325º for 15-18 minutes or until the tops of the cheesecake are set. 
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 3-4 hours or overnight. Once the cheesecakes are chilled, remove them from the pan, serve and enjoy! 
*I’m not a big fan food dye but I did want to find a way to give these bites a green hue so I tossed in some blue-green algae. If you’ve seen blue-green algae, you know that it has a very vivid jade green color. It looked wonderful at first, but it transitioned into more of a yellow-green after the addition of vanilla extract. So, feel free to add in a drop of two of green food dye if you’d like to achieve a brighter green. 
*If you’re not concerned with making this a completely vegan recipe, don’t hesitate to use a regular large egg instead of a flax egg!
This post is sponsored by Kite Hill. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own! I honestly love this brand and am so thankful they’re creating products that help us truly nourish our bodies. 

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