No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Pie

by on August 20, 2012
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No-Bake Strawberry Pie

My mother’s strawberry pie is the one dish I remember from my childhood with so much love that I’ve never tried to veganize it for fear of messing it up. The recipe is simple–spread a layer of sweetened cream cheese in a pie crust and pour over it a layer of strawberries in a cornstarch glaze–and through the magic of Tofutti cream cheese, I know it could be easily made vegan. Still I resisted attempting it, in part because I don’t like the taste of raw Tofutti and in another part because I don’t like its main ingredients, soybean, palm, and olive oils. So it comes as a surprise to me that for the last two weeks I’ve become obsessed with not only making that cherished dessert but also making it without using vegan cream cheese, oil, or even sugar. You could say that I got over my fear of messing up my favorite childhood dessert by totally messing it up, recreating it from the pie crust up. The end result is similar to my mother’s pie but different enough to be a new creation, lighter and healthier but still a delicious summertime treat.

I tested this pie three times before arriving at the “final” version (as final as anything can be in cooking). Like Goldilocks’ experience with the Three Bears’ beds, the first pie was too soft, the second was two hard, but the third was just right. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the “just right” pie–the single slice you see below is the “too hard” version; you’ll just have to trust me that the final version is firm enough to hold together but still manages to have a airiness about it.

Finally, I know someone is going to ask about leaving out the cashews, and I apologize to those of you who are following a nut-free diet and can’t eat them. I used them because plain silken tofu has a chalky flavor by itself; lemon and vanilla can only go so far to mask it, so I used cashews to add depth of flavor and creaminess. The pie would be much lower in fat without them, but I haven’t made it that way and can’t recommend that you substitute anything for them. At least the fat comes from natural, whole ingredients, and 6.2 fat grams per slice is a pretty good deal for an occasional indulgence. If you’d like to lighten it up even further, try making it without the crust.

No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Pie

No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Pie (Crust-free)

This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products I actually use. When you buy something through them, I receive a commission that helps support this site. Thanks for your purchase!

Susan

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary August 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

I’m allergic to strawberries so I’ll have to try this with a different fruit, but it looks AMAZING!

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2 Renata August 20, 2012 at 10:11 am

Hi there! This looks so yummy…Would you happen to have any suggestions for someone who is allergic to cashews?

:)

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3 Susan Voisin August 20, 2012 at 10:15 am

Maybe sunflower seeds? But I’ve never tried it.

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4 Somer August 20, 2012 at 11:28 am

Or Macadamia nuts?

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5 Renata August 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Mmm…yummy, I could try that.

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6 Marta August 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Almonds w/o skins.

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7 chris August 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

First time posting but have appreciated all your recipes and have forwarded your site to many. Will definately try this recipe.
One tip regarding the chalky tofu taste. I find that if you put the tofu in a jelly bag with a weight on top and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, it will remove a lot of the beany taste. You may have to add more water to make up for the lost liquid depending on the recipe. The difference is quite noticeable when making spreads or dips where the flavor is more delicate.

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8 Andrea - Chocolate and Beyond August 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Thanks for that tip on removing the beany taste from tofu Chris – it’s a good one! :)

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9 Wendy@healthygirlskitchen August 20, 2012 at 11:58 am

Susan–this looks totally awesome. For sure the next dessert recipe I’m going to make!

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10 Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy August 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

holy cow! YUMMM! THis looks absolutely incredible! love the fresh strawberries!

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11 brad August 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm

thanks susan! i can’t wait to try this and remember dr greger says that the fat from nuts have not shown to cause weight gain. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/nuts-and-obesity-the-weight-of-evidence/

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12 Susan Voisin August 21, 2012 at 8:02 am

Oh how I wish that were true, but it doesn’t work that way for me! I definitely gain weight if I add nuts to my diet without restriction. Here’s an analysis by Jeff Nelson that says those studies on nuts required total calories to be adjusted so that the participants didn’t gain weight: http://www.vegsource.com/news/2012/08/nuts-weight-gain-its-worse-than-we-thought.html . In some of them, the people simply replaced high fat snacks with nuts and didn’t gain weight. To me, that’s definitely not the same as adding nuts to a low-fat diet and expecting not to gain weight.

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13 Faith @ HalfVeganRaw August 21, 2012 at 8:40 am

Brad,

Of course there is evidence to the opposite as well. See it here http://www.vegsource.com/news/2012/08/nuts-weight-gain-its-worse-than-we-thought.html

Regardless, this pie looks delish and is making me rethink my chocolate “mouse” pie as well. Thanks for the ideas and the eye candy (pie) Susan.

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14 Anne Gubbins August 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been mourning the strawberry pie you described. My entire family will also thank you when they eat this!

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15 Solveig Berg Vollan @ Gluten-free-vegan-girl August 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Ah, this looks so yummy! Definitly need to try it out :)

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16 Gwen August 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Ok- I am cool with the cashews, but do not have agar – any subs? I have Axanthum & Guar gum? This sounds so good!

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17 Tanya @ Playful and Hungry August 23, 2012 at 4:53 am

I don’t think guargum would lead to the same results…
You can get agar agar on amazon though!

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18 Monica Carten August 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm

This sounds yummy–I plan to try with the jar of tart cherries I have at home and sans chia seeds (the two of us can’t seem to get along!)

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19 newvegan55 August 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Susan, this looks great, but I must admit I’ve never had a strawberry pie with anything in it except strawberries with glaze. There was never anything under them except crust! I will give this a go, tho, thanks!

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20 Karen Faivre August 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Oh, that looks so delicious. My BFF is coming over this weekend for her birthday dinner and I think this will make a delicious dessert!

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21 Dreena Burton August 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Susan, this is sheer summer strawberry beauty! What a masterpiece. I love that you opted for a base other than tofutti – nutritional pitfall aside, it can mask more wholesome, natural flavors – like these strawberries. Really brilliant use of apple juice to sweeten – off to share. :)

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22 Delisa Renideo August 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Hi Susan,
This looks fabulous! I”ll definitely try it! I’m happy to have something healthier than Tofutti to use!

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23 Andrea - Chocolate and Beyond August 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Does this taste like a decadent dessert, or can you ‘tell’ that it is a low-fat, oil-free version? I don’t have dessert that often so when I do, I like to indulge. But I may give this a whirl sometime if the taste is good!

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24 Susan Voisin August 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm

My family liked it, but we all knew that it was meant as a light dessert, sort of “fancy fruit.” I wouldn’t serve it to people expecting a decadent dessert or to someone who was looking for a true indulgence. For that, I recommend my chocolate-cherry mousse pie. :)

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25 Andrea - Chocolate and Beyond August 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

Thanks Susan!

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26 luminousvegans August 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I love this! It looks amazing. Anything made with cashews, I’m all over. Thank you for the recipe.

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27 Ashley August 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I love Fat Free Vegan!!!! Is there anyway you can check out Global Looking Glass? It is an online, vegan magazine which features a blog updated daily! Feel free to say hello on the wall as well! For the animals! :)
Thank you, and keep up the great work.

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28 Nancy August 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hello – is there a substitute for the agar?

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29 Dyan August 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

FFV will always and forever be my favorite food blog, for so many reasons. Even if/when you do someday retire from it, it will continue to be an amazing resource.

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30 Tanya @ Playful and Hungry August 23, 2012 at 4:51 am

Yummy, that looks awesome. I’ll have to make another raw cake soon, too. I also love the idea of adding tofu. It makes it a little bit lighter…

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31 Richard August 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I was introduced to this healthy world of eating via FOK, when I reached your website however, I discovered the fun of it all, thanks.
I’m 77 years old, living in South Texas, and hoping there’s enough time to try all your recipes,
sincerely, Richard

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32 DeniseC August 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Hi Susan, this looks amazing! But I am allergic to soy. What do you think could be substituted for the silken tofu?
Thank you.

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33 Susan Voisin August 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I really can’t recommend anything. There are raw recipes for cheesecakes made from nuts. I suggest looking for one of those (though it will be much higher in fat).

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34 Vegan August 24, 2012 at 3:19 am

Ever since I started to embrace a vegan lifestyle, I have been collecting vegan dessert recipes. I’m glad you provided the recipe and I can’t wait to get started on my baking session. Is it fine if I use apples instead of strawberry?

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35 Susan Voisin August 24, 2012 at 7:40 am

Sure, you can use any fruit you like!

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36 Lisa August 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

This looks totally delicious and I can’t wait to try it! I’ve given you a Liebster award, check out the details at http://cookingjamie.blogspot.ca/2012/08/3-years-and-award.html.

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37 Daniela @ FoodRecipesHQ August 27, 2012 at 6:26 am

I’m not a great at baking so this dessert should comes easier to me. Hopefully :)

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38 Tom August 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I made this and found it sooooooo tasty. Followed the recipe for the crust. Added a few pecans to it to make it sturdier, but non the less it just got really soggy. Would you think this is normal? It still tasted amazing!!! I added a little cinnamon. But would def make it again!! Thanks Susan. You’re soooooo intelligent with these recipes and combinations!!! Appreciation!

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39 Em August 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Love the Goldilocks reference. I am shopping soon and adding in the ingredients for this pie!!!!

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40 Katie August 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I glazed over this recipe when you first posted it because I saw the word tofutti. I will have to make this! I can’t eat many vegan desserts in coffee shops because so many use tofutti cream cheese. There is a thickening agent in the tofutti, the guar gum that can you very very sick. I am more sensitive to it than most people but still. They actually marketed guar gum as a diet drug for a few years until it started killing people.
Thank you for the beautiful pie I can eat!

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41 Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner September 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I am such a strawberry monster. They are just so good! :D

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42 Meagan September 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

Just bought all the ingredients for this and plan to get started on it tonight! A wonderful end-of-summer dessert!

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43 Laura October 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

Hi Susan,

I have everything except the Chia Seeds. Is there anything else that I can sub for them?

Many thanks!

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44 Susan Voisin October 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I’m pretty sure that you can just leave them out and it will be fine; the filling is firm enough without them. Please let me know what happens if you make it!

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45 Solveig Berg Vollan @ Gluten-free-vegan-girl October 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Or you can use ground flaxseeds :) I always use that instead of chia, because it is a lot cheaper here.

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46 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie October 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

I LOVE raw desserts – Can’t wait to make this. Maybe today. As soon as I get home… :)

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47 Linda September 8, 2013 at 5:51 pm

For celiacs, oats can be an issue even if gluten free. I have a strong reaction to oats. What could I use instead. Here is a typical list for cross reactive problems. Of these I’m ok with coffee, rice, corn, and soy. Tapioca in very small amounts.

Rye, Barley, Polish Wheat, Spelt
Cow’s milk
Casein
Casomorphin
Milk Butyrophilin
Whey protein
Milk chocolate
Oats
Yeast (including nutritional yeast)
Coffee
Sesame
Buckwheat
Sorghum
Millet
Hemp
Amaranth
Quinoa
Tapioca
Teff
Soy
Egg
Corn
Rice
Potato

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