I don’t remember how old I was when strawberry pretzel salad was introduced as a part of our thanksgiving menu. Not a dessert but a side, it was delicious, offering the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Ali and I, being the seat of our pants vegetarians that we were, turned this dish and mashed potatoes into our entrees. Seconds and thirds. Fourths even.
At some point I became aware of what I was eating, and my portions slimmed. And then last year, diagnosis and lifestyle change in hand, I ate strawberry-jello-two-cups-of-sugar-and-a-tub-of-cream-cheese “salad” no more.
This is a raw re-make of my previously beloved salad. Made with nuts (I know you’re surprised), and lightly sweetened with local honey and liquid stevia, this dessert is considerably more nutrient-dense (although probably similar in caloric content), and was inspired by the numerous raw cheesecake recipes out there (so many, so good).
Raw Strawberry “Pretzel” Squares
“Pretzel Crust” Layer Ingredients:
2 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight
3-4 coconut date rolls (date logs rolled in unsweetened coconut)
1/4 cup medjool dates, soaked for two hours
1/8 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
a good pinch of sea salt
“Cream Cheese” Layer Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 8 hours
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
3 tbsp raw (local) honey
20 drops of liquid stevia (start with 10 and add to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp water (as necessary to reach smooth consistency)
Strawberry Layer Ingredients:
2 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
- In a food processor, pulse the crust ingredients until the almonds are rough chopped, and everything is evenly incorporated.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ dish and set aside.
- In a vitamix or high speed blender, combine all ingredients for the cream layer. Blend on medium speed for several minutes, mixing/adding water as necessary, until smooth.
- Pour cream mixture on top of crust layer and spread evenly.
- Allow to set in the freezer for three hours.
- Blend thawed strawberries until pulp forms but some strawberry pieces remain. May be done in blender, food processor, or even with a fork.
- Spread strawberry layer on top, and chill for an additional three hours or overnight in the refrigerator or freezer. Serve firm, slightly frozen even.