Cherry Cheesecake Protein Power Smoothie

May 5, 2014

in Breakfast, Drinks

Cherry Cheesecake Protein Power Smoothie (Vegan) | picklesnhoney.com

I have a special place in my heart for cherry cheesecake. As a kid, my mom’s go-to dessert was a low-fat version that used reduced fat cream cheese and a graham cracker crust, always topped with those syrupy, bright red, sort of gloppy canned cherries that I of course would eat straight out of the can if there were any leftovers (I am a toppings girl at heart). Low-sugar it was not, but this was the era of Snackwells fat-free sandwich cookies, and we thought we were doing dessert the healthier way.

I’ve never enjoyed traditional, dense cheesecake, but I loved my mom’s lighter variation chilled straight out of the fridge. Like most things, it always tasted better when eaten by the forkful while standing in the refrigerator with the door open. My mom and I would pick at the cherry topping and creamy filling, and my dad would happily eat the leftover graham cracker crust, while my brother was more likely to be downing Cinnamon Toast Crunch by the boxful. I get my sweet tooth from my mom for sure, and my (charming) habit of picking at food instead of eating it like a ‘normal’ person.

We’ve since moved away from dairy and sugary canned cherries in favor of more whole foods, but every once in a while that cherry cheesecake craving still surfaces, and I recently decided it was time to figure out a more nourishing way to get my fix.

Cherry Cheesecake Protein Power Smoothie (Vegan) | picklesnhoney.com

Enter: Cherry Cheesecake Protein Power Smoothie.

This smoothie takes all of the flavors and textures my mom and I loved about that cheesecake – the smooth, creamy, tangy filling, the sweet, juicy red cherries, the buttery, rich crust – and quite literally blends it all together in a lower glycemic, high protein, healthy omega-3-rich, thick shake.

This is the type of cheesecake you can enjoy for breakfast and it will keep you satisfied and energized until lunch. And really, isn’t that the best kind?

Cherry Cheesecake Protein Power Smoothie (Vegan) | picklesnhoney.comCherry Cheesecake Protein Power Smoothie (Vegan) | picklesnhoney.com

Cherry Cheesecake Protein Power Smoothie (Vegan)
Author: 
Recipe type: Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen organic cherries
  • 1 cup organic, non-gmo silken tofu, drained
  • 1 cup organic tart cherry juice
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk (I used homemade almond milk)
  • 2½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • 2 scoops plant-based vanilla protein powder (optional, I used Plant Fusion)
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender on high speed until smooth.
  2. Pour into two glasses and enjoy!
Notes
If you can find and afford organic cherries, definitely choose them over conventional. Cherries tend to be very high in chemical pesticides. Same goes for the silken tofu. Unless soy is organic, it's probably genetically modified (and not applicable to this recipe, but it's the same for corn, FYI).

Photography by Aaron Scott.

xo
Amanda

P.S. Mom, this one’s for you. <3

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie P. May 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

What would be a good substitute for the tofu to still keep the same consistency? I was thinking maybe cashews? Or something else? Or omit?

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Omitting the tofu will create a thinner consistency – which is still delicious, but totally up to you! I’d probably replace it with 1/2 cup nut milk. A thicker cashew milk would work well. Let me know if you play around with the recipe and how it turns out!

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Debbie P. May 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm

While waiting for your reply, I had another idea… I wonder if 1/2 of an avocado would do the trick? I might try that unless you think of a good reason not to. The avocado and/or some coconut milk… Thoughts?

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I think that sounds good! Some people are sensitive to avocado in smoothies (Aaron is not a fan), but I love it for the creamy texture. Frozen banana would be another option. Really though, it’s hard to go wrong.

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Abby @ The Frosted Vegan May 5, 2014 at 10:59 am

Ohh you are making me absolutley crave cheesecake, but this looks like a perfect stand-in!
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan recently posted…Simple Olive Bread

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Cadry May 5, 2014 at 11:20 am

Oh, this sounds fabulous! I used to love cherry cheesecake too. I’m jealous you were able to find fresh cherries already! We definitely won’t have access for a couple more months still. Cherries are one of my very favorite fruits; it’s such a bummer that they’re only available a small window of time. Anyway, I can’t wait to try your smoothie!
Cadry recently posted…Vegan Dining in Davenport: Mantra Indian Cuisine & Spirits

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

The cherries were stupid expensive ($10/lb?!) but sometimes you just gotta do it. Someday I will have a cherry tree and go. to. town.

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Emma May 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

Crazy! I was just thinking about a cherry milkshake yesterday! Do you think it would be ok to use more non-dairy milk instead of the cherry juice? The real stuff is super expensive here.
Emma recently posted…Vegan on Tour: Geneva

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 2:46 pm

You’ll lose a bit of the cherry flavor without the juice, but I think it will still be very delicious.

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health May 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm

well i love the crust for some reason. this smoothie with tofu sounds very interesting…
dixya@food, pleasure, and health recently posted…Grocery Budgeting + Tips to Save Money on Groceries

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Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent May 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm

A cheesecake smoothie?! Hells yeah! Do you think strawberries would work as well as cherries?
Meredith @ Unexpectedly Magnificent recently posted…Quinoa Tabouli with Roasted Tomatoes

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Definitely! I tried it with frozen strawberries last night.

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Debbie P. May 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm

So, if you tried with strawberries, did you still use tart cherry juice? Or something else? Organic strawberries are much easier to come by than cherries, so I could actually try this one alot sooner than cherry… :-)

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Yep! I tried with frozen cherries + tart cherry juice, and when the cherries were gone, frozen strawberries + tart cherry juice (I bought a decent-sized bottle). Both were great!

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Ashley May 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Wow! This sounds great, and the photos are gorgeous! I think cherries are really pretty haha :)
Ashley recently posted…Weekend Wishes

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm

I will tell Aaron you like the photos! He was being really hard on himself and kept saying he wasn’t happy with them. And I agree about the cherries – I think most produce is really beautiful all on its own.

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Debbie P. May 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm

One last question and then I’ll hush.. I work out at 5am and on my weight lifting days, I follow with vegan protein powder (from Hammer Nutrition) and it’s real grainy when I mix with my water after my workout and is kinda hard on my throat. So, how far in advance can I make it? Or I might get everything ready and in the blender and try to make it before I leave for the gym and have it wait for me? I really would prefer not to make in the morning as my time is already stretched while getting ready to get out the door. Any advice will be welcome! (I shower and get ready at the gym, so there is no kitchen option for me after my workout…)

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Good questions, Debbie! You’re in luck because I made this shake last night and saved half for this morning after the gym (we also get up at 5…not my favorite, but I am committed to making it work!). The smoothie was still very tasty! As for the protein powder – have you tried Plant Fusion? I was a Vega-only person for a while because it’s not grainy, but Plant Fusion is even smoother and I may actually prefer the flavor too. We’ve been using the vanilla bean and cookies & cream recently.

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Debbie P. May 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Did you store leftover in fridge or freezer? I thought I might do freezer and then let it thaw while I work out.

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Amanda May 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I kept mine in the fridge.

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Kait May 5, 2014 at 10:49 pm

On one hand, I wish I had seen this prior to going shopping.

On the other…I’m so very happy I didn’t b/c we wouldn’t have eaten for half the week while I splurged on cherries. haha

In other words, I need to find cherries and make this ASAP. <3

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Amanda May 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

haha Those cherries are super pricey! Frozen is the way to go, though I did buy fresh for the photos and then happily devoured them.

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Heidi Kokborg May 6, 2014 at 7:12 am

It looks devine! I have never had cherries in my smoothie before so I am excited to try it.

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Amanda May 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

You are in for a treat, Heidi!

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Dylan May 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Mmmmm Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

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Amanda May 8, 2014 at 9:48 am

That stuff is addictive!

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Debbie P. May 8, 2014 at 8:23 am

YUM!!! First of all, thank you for answering several of my questions a few days ago. I’ve now made this twice and I LOVE it!!! I didn’t use tofu and 1st time I used 1 frozen banana and last night, I didn’t feel like hunted for another frozen banana in my packed freezer, so I threw a fresh one in. Also, I thought I had hemp seeds, but nope – I had hemp protein powder, so I threw 2 T of it in in lieu of the seeds. And then last night I threw one more goodie in there – well, a goodie for me, but may raise eyebrows for others, but we’ll all trying to be healthier, right?! I tossed in a heaping T of food grade Diatomaceous Earth. AWESOME!!!! This is now my go to smoothie after a weight training workout!!!!

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Debbie P. May 8, 2014 at 8:57 am

Alright, alright, one last question… Do you know how long this would “keep”? I’ve made the night before my weight-lifting workouts this week, but wonder if I could make Monday night for both Tues and Thur mornings…

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Amanda May 8, 2014 at 9:51 am

I’m so happy to hear that this is your new go-to smoothie after weight training! I haven’t tried making it more than a day in advance, so I’m not sure how well it would hold up between Monday and Thursday. I’m thinking it should be okay though because the lemon juice will act as a natural preservative. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

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Debbie P. May 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Hi Amanda, ok, I tried this out. I made the full recipe Monday evening and used 1/2 for my Tuesday weight-based workout with the intention of using the other half Thursday morning. However, I took Thursday off and used the other half this morning (Friday) and I couldn’t tell any difference at all and it tasted the same this morning as it did 3 mornings ago. I’m a foodsaver freak, so I also vacuum sealed the leftover serving in a container and then dumped it into my shaker last night.

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Amanda May 23, 2014 at 2:28 pm

That’s awesome, Debbie! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. :)

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Ev Sharp May 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

Love this idea but you might want to reconsider which protein powder you use based on this laboratory’s data: http://labs.naturalnews.com/heavy-metals-chart-Proteins-pea.html

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Amanda May 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Thanks for the link! Plant Fusion scored an A+ according to the research though, and that’s what I’m currently using.

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Brian Heess May 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I am happy/lucky there is an organic cherry farm down the road. Way inexpensive to go pick your own in about a week. There is also another no-pesticides cherry farm down the road from them. My problem is the time to pit them so I can freeze them.

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Amanda May 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Oh, I am so jealous! Finding the time to pit all those cherries is not a bad problem to have!

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Shonalika May 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Wow, this looks SO delicious! I’ve never had a cherry cheesecake before, but it sounds heavenly. Going to try it with strawberries for now since that’s what I’ve got to hand, (and I’ll have to omit the cherry juice as that stuff would be crazy expensive over here xD) any possible sub for the hemp seeds? If not though I could get some, have been meaning to try them for a while anyway :D
Shonalika recently posted…Mango Lassi

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Amanda May 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Strawberries will be awesome! You could leave out the hemp seeds, or try another mild-flavored seed in its place. I bet un-roasted flax seeds would be great.

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Debbie P. May 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Just FYI for those reading this and wondering. I was able to try this last time with frozen cherries, but have to say I can’t really taste a difference between using strawberries or cherries.

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Debbie P. June 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Wow, I got 2 gallons of free organic (home based tree and not sprayed) cherries this morning from a coworker!! The oddity is they are sour cherries (we’re in AL), so I’m thinking of tweaking this recipe and possibly omitting the tart cherry juice or cutting it in half. I’m going to play around with it some, but so thank God I got FREE cherries, even if they are sour!!!! They are still super healthy!

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Amanda June 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Wow, that is amazing!!! You have one seriously awesome coworker! I’m excited to hear what you do with the smoothie recipe using sour cherries…maybe some medjool dates if it needs sweetener? So many possibilities… :)

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