Friday recipe: coconut “cheesefake”

Ahh, Memorial Day weekend…and DMU’s 113th commencement…and this year’s DMU alumni reunion…and the season of high school and college graduations, weekend cookouts, weddings and all those other types of events where we celebrate by eating. And often overeating.

That’s why an article in The Washington Post’s “Lean & Fit” e-newsletter this week caught my eye: It featured Sarah Waybright, a registered dietitian and founder of WhyFoodWorks, a  Washington, DC-based healthful dinner party service who believes “you don’t have to binge to celebrate.” Her events, staged in people’s homes, are designed to “teach people how to balance flavor with nutrition and social interaction with personal well-being,” Post writer Maggie Fazeli Fard says.

Photo: Evi at
Photo: Evi of Fifth Floor Kitchen

Waybright takes a commonsense approach to food, pointing out that there’s no diet that’s perfect for everyone. Dessert isn’t always bad, either, she says; instead, she tries “to match indulgent calories to activity for the day. If it’s a day I don’t get out for a run or pop in TurboFire, it’s not a day for ice cream or pie. And when I do eat something sweet, it’s a bonus if it actually has some nutritional value, too.”

Enter Waybright’s coconut “cheesecake.” It contains no cheese and instead features a relatively high amount of fiber and protein for a dessert. Bonus, as she notes on her website: “No baking, no oven, no heat required – perfect for spring and summer!” You may have to make a run to your local health food store for the solidified coconut oil and coconut water, but you will be richly rewarded – just not in sugar and fat.

Sarah Waybright’s coconut “cheesefake”


  • 16 dates
  • 2 cups slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (solidified)


  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups low fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 packets plain gelatin
  • Juice from one lemon

Heat coconut water in a bowl in the microwave until hot; add lemon juice and gelatin. Stir until dissolved.

In a blender or food processor, pulse all the crust ingredients until evenly mixed and finely chopped. Press into a 9-inch or springform pan by using a sheet of waxed paper.

Add all the filling ingredients to the blender and puree. When combined, add the gelatin mixture and blend on high. Pour on top of crust. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight. Serve with berries if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional info per serving: calories, 277; calories from fat, 163; total fat, 19g; cholesterol, 2mg; sodium, 69mg; total carbohydrate, 20g; dietary fiber, 4g; protein, 7g 

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