One of the readers left a comment on Clean Eating Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars saying she made them with Greek yogurt and cottage cheese instead of cream cheese. I was intrigued right away because it sounded healthier.
I was raised on rich homemade cottage cheese that resembles American farmer’s cheese. My mom and grandma would make it by boiling buttermilk, then draining in a cheesecloth hanging on a tap overnight. The result was dry, pressed and crumbly cottage cheese that we would eat with freshly made sour cream from a farmer’s market, homemade jam or fruit. It was our cheesecake.:)
In Ukraine dairy was much healthier than today in North America. It is so hard to find good cottage cheese, even organic. Usually it’s low fat and contains additives. I’m not a fan of them but it’s reality, therefore cottage cheese is a treat.
These cheesecake bars came out extremely tender and moist. Feel free to use frozen berries and any other berries besides cranberries like blackberries, strawberries or blueberries would be fantastic. Also you can add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds instead of cornstarch to thicken the jam.
If you are gluten free, you can use the cornstarch in the crust and filling instead of flour. The crust will be more moist but it works. In fact, that’s what I did and I had zero patience to wait for the bars to cool down before slicing. Therefore, my bars were a bit of a more delicious mess which I didn’t mind.
Happy Clean Eating Holidays!
- 1 1/2 cups pecans
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour*
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
- 18 oz tub 2% cottage cheese
- 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt, plain
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or raw honey
- 2 eggs, large**
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour*
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or raw honey
- 2 cups fresh cranberries***
- 1 tbsp cornstarch****
- 1 lemon, zest of (plus more for garnish)
- 1/2 lemon, juice of
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 8 x 8 square baking dish with unbleached parchment paper, overhanging on the sides. Set aside.
- To make Crust: In a food processor, powerful blender or Magic Bullet, process pecans into fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl along with flour, cinnamon, salt and stir to combine. Add maple syrup (honey) and mix well. Using your hands, press into prepared lined pan and set aside.
- To make Filling: Add Filling ingredients to a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja Ultima's main jug for the Filling and single cups with a blade for making the Crust) and process until smooth and creamy, for about 2 - 3 minutes. Pour over crust and bake for 60 minutes or until the cheesecake has set and edges are lightly browned.
- In the meanwhile, prepare the Topping: In a small saucepan, add water and maple syrup (honey), and bring to a boil. Add cranberries, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and cook on low for a few minutes or until a few cranberries have popped. Set aside.
- Remove cheesecake from the oven, pour Topping on top and garnish with lemon zest if desired. Let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and then in the fridge for 2 hours. Lift the cheesecake out of the pan by holding the flaps and cut into 16 squares.
*For gluten free version you can replace flour with half the amount of cornstarch. It will work perfectly in the filling although the crust might be a bit soggy. I mean if you have to, the cheesecake still will be fine and delicious! **You can use 1/2 cup egg whites instead. ***Use blueberries, blackberries or strawberries instead. Frozen work too. ****Try a few tbsp of chia seeds as a thickening agent instead of cornstarch.
Servings Per Recipe: 16
Amount Per Serving = 1 square:
Total Fat: 9.0 g
Cholesterol: 27.4 mg
Sodium: 156.6 mg
Total Carbs: 15.9 g
Sugars: 11 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g
Protein: 7.1 g
WW Points+: 5