Paleo Kahlua Cashew Cheesecake

When I think of Texas, I think of comfort food. I’ve been to the Lone Star State only a few times, and always for holidays.  A summertime birthday barbeque in Dallas.  Thanksgivings in Austin and El Paso.  Occasions of good company and good eats. Festivities like these are about indulgence.  Telling crazy stories until you laugh so hard your cheeks hurt.  Sinking in to nostalgia about favorite times with family and friends.  Breathing in warm sweet air filled with familiar scents from your aunt’s kitchen.  Staying up all night to count the last stars before the sunrise.  Taking an afternoon nap simply because that shady hammock looks so inviting.  Having a second serving of dessert because you want to.

The beauty of indulgence is the blissful letting go of unnecessary restraints and embracing all that the world has to offer.  And making a conscious decision to not regret it after.  I think that’s the most difficult part.

We are so often trained to feel guilty about soaking up all of the best things in life.  We fill our heads with thoughts of “I’m not deserving” or “I haven’t worked hard enough” or “I should be doing something else instead.”  I don’t believe that this is how we are meant to exist.  Quite the contrary, actually.  I think daily efforts to consciously indulge directly correlate with happiness, and we are well served to embrace them with open bellies, arms and hearts.

Let me be clear in saying that daily indulgence is not a recommendation to throw that nutrient dense diet out the window in the pursuit of the world’s best ham and cheese croissant.  However, if you are in the vicinity of said pastry, you might just want to have it anyway.  Once in a lifetime experiences like these are sometimes worth the resulting stomach pains and indigestion.  But I digress…

The idea here is conscious indulgence.  To consciously indulge is to be aware of your body’s centering points, and to fulfill yourself by embracing the things that make you feel your best, every day.  As we become more in tune with our bodies and minds, the ways we indulge begin to shift.  We move away from cravings for super sugar snacks and visceral pleasures to the deeper satisfaction that comes from human connections and whole foods.

How do we get to this place of conscious indulgence?  We can start by giving ourselves permission to seek out all of life’s gifts.  We stop feeling guilty for wanting to have it all, and instead share our blessings generously with friends and loved ones.  We can practice every day by actively seeking out simple pleasures:

Read a chapter in that book you haven’t yet made time for. Sit down to snuggle with your pet for 15 minutes.  Take 10 minutes to do nothing but sip your tea.  Send your body a message of love through the foods you choose to eat every day.

If you are committed to a nutrient dense lifestyle, you may still want to indulge your taste buds every now and again.  This Kahlua Cashew Cheesecake with Grain Free Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust is one recipe that is sure to satisfy all of your comfort food cravings without straying too far from a whole food. It’s so delicious that your friends and family will never guess it’s grain, dairy and sugar* free.


Speaking of indulgence, one of my new favorite things is taking part in Paleo Pen Pals, where every month I am paired up with a Paleo™ recipe blogger.  We get to know each other via email, and then we are challenged to mail each other a mystery Paleo™ ingredient to try out in a new recipe.  There are few things more fun for a nutrient dense foodie than getting a whole food in the mail with a handwritten note from a new like-minded friend.

Thanks to Jennifer at The Paleo Prize for her delicious Texas-made, raw honey cinnamon spread, which was the inspiration for this indulgent Kahlua Cashew Cheesecake with Grain Free Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust.  The coffee, chocolate and cinnamon combo is simply divine. Best when shared with good friends!

*Note that since rum is made from sugar cane, this is not 100% sugar free. You can substitute light coconut milk in equal proportions with the rum and/or espresso if you prefer.

kahlua cashew cheesecake with grain free chocolate graham cracker crust

  • YIELD: 1 cheesecake (12 Servings)
  • PREP: 30 mins
  • COOK: 15 mins
  • READY IN: 2 hrs 45 mins

Kahlua Cashew Cheesecake with Grain Free Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust is a dairy free, grain free, and sugar free indulgence. Vegan and Paleo friendly too!


  • 2 cups nut meal hazelnut, almond
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp raw cinnamon honey spread can use maple syrup or agave for vegan
  • sprinkle Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 3 cups raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup rum light, dark, spiced
  • 1/4 cup espresso or black coffee
  • 1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup raw cinnamon honey spread
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil virgin, melted until liquid


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To make the grain free chocolate graham cracker crust, mix nut meal, cocoa powder, 1/4 cup light coconut milk, 1 Tbsp raw honey spread and pink sea salt together with your hands until well combined and crumbly. You can use regular honey and add a dash of cinnamon instead, or a 1:1 substitution with maple syrup or agave for vegans.
  3. Cut a circle out of parchment paper to fit inside the bottom of pie dish. Press chocolate crust mixture down into the pie dish until you have an even crust that comes up about 1 inch on all sides and is about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 15 minutes or until dry to the touch but not burnt. 
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, drain the raw cashews that you soaked overnight in your refrigerator. Add the cashews, coconut milk, juice of 1 lemon, rum, espresso, vanilla bean, cinnamon honey spread and melted coconut oil to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Scape down the edges, and process another 30 seconds just for good measure. Substitute honey for maple syrup or agave for vegans.
  5. Use a spatula to spread filling out into prepared chocolate graham cracker crust and press down to smooth. 
  6. Let set in freezer for at least 2 hours. Remove and thaw 30 minutes before serving. 
  7. Serve with strawberry puree. To make the puree, simply blend 6 strawberries (tops removed), 1 Tbsp. light coconut milk, 1 tsp cinnamon honey spread and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice until smooth.