Healthy Pretzel Salad–a salty-sweet pretzel crust layered with cheesecake and topped with fresh berries! A classic dessert with a plant-based grain-free makeover!
Did anyone else grow up eating this decidedly delicious dessert parading as a salad?
With its crispy, crunchy, sweet-and-salty pretzel crust, silky smooth sweet and tangy cheesecake layer, topped with fresh peak season juicy and impossibly sweet strawberries?!
If you have or if you haven't I am sure we can all agree that it is clearly the best "salad" ever.
And like any good pretzel salad, it all starts with the perfect pretzel crust.
The crunchy, salty, sweet, buttery foundation for our layers that has to be just right. Too salty or sweet and it throws off the balance of the dessert. If it's too hard and you feel like you're breaking a tooth and too soggy? Dessert ruiner.
But with a good quality pretzel like the Grain Free Pretzels from FitJoy, the crust is the perfect addicting sweet-and-salty combo that has just the right crisp texture for our dessert.
These pretzels also happen to be GRAIN FREE and made with wholesome ingredients like cassava flour and chickpea protein. They are dairy-free, gluten-free, plant-based and taste like the most buttery, salty, crunchy pretzels of our dreams.
They are so good that I almost had to buy more before I made this recipe. The big beautiful salty snack-filled bags sat on my desk and every time I got up, sat down, needed a break, or breathed, I popped a pretzel or two into my mouth.
Hi, my name is Laurel and I am addicted to grain-free pretzels.
And the 3-ingredient crust could not be any easier to make! Just crush up one bag of Grain Free Pretzels, toss them with some dairy-free butter, and coconut sugar. Then let it bake until golden brown.
Next, we make our silky smooth vanilla cheesecake layer to pour over our crust. Let's review a few of the amazing qualities of this cheesecake:
- made from cashews and coconut milk–AKA dairy-free and plant-based!
- no-bake–just whip it up in the blender
- silky, luscious, and ultra-creamy
- naturally sweetened with maple syrup
One thing to keep in mind with this cheesecake is that it is on the softer side at room temperature. For optimal cheesecake texture, I recommend placing the pretzel salad in the freezer to set and then storing it in the fridge.
Last, top with fresh berries, and dive into this Healthy Pretzel Salad!
Healthy Pretzel Salad
Prep time: 10
Cook time: 40
Total time: 50 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
For the crust:
- 1 bag FitJoy Grain Free Pretzels
- 1/2 cup dairy-free butter (storebought or homemade), melted
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
For the cheesecake:
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup coconut cream (the thick creamy layer scooped from the top of a can of coconut milk)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cuo maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the top:
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced
- Place the raw cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the pretzels to a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin, bottom of a heavy glass, meat mallet, or woodon spoon. Pour the crushed pretzels into a large bowl and stir in the melted butter and coconut sugar.
- Pour the crust into a 9x9 inch glass pan and bake for 10 minutes or until the crust in golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- While the crust is baking and cooling, make the cheesecake. Drain the cashews and add them to a high-speed blender along with the remaining crust ingredients. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Once the crust is cool, pour the cheesecake layer over the crust. Top with the berries and place in the freezer to set for 4 hours.
- Once you are ready to serve, remove the Pretzel Salad from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 20 minutes to become soft enough to slice. Cut into squares and enjoy!
To read this original post in full and for more awesome recipes, visit Laurel's blog, Darn Good Veggies.
Laurel Perry is the recipe developer, photographer, and blogger behind DarnGoodVeggies.com where she creates healthy and delicious veggie-packed recipes. Laurel lives in the northwest with her husband, their new baby boy, and mini Australian shepherd where they enjoy taking long walks in the beautiful outdoors.