This low fat lemon cheesecake is light, lemony and totally delicious. Made with a healthy oat base and cottage cheese, it still tastes like an indulgent dessert.
What you'll love about the recipe
- A delicious, creamy, indulgent dessert with just 145 calories
- Low in saturated fat
- Low in added sugar
- Gluten free healthy cheesecake base
- The high protein content of this low fat lemon cheesecake keeps you feeling satisfied
Oats. You can use any type of oats for this healthy cheesecake base if you are using a food processor or blender. If you want to make the recipe by hand, then it best to use porridge, rolled or instant oats rather than jumbo oats. For a gluten free cheesecake base, use certified gluten free oats.
Applesauce. This is a great way to provide sweetness and texture without using butter and sugar. Make sure you use an unsweetened applesauce.
Honey. Although honey is still a form of sugar, it is less refined than table sugar. You'll just need 3 tablespoons for the whole cheesecake, making it low in added sugar.
Olive oil makes the base a little softer. Use another healthy oil if you prefer, or add a tablespoon of butter.
Cottage cheese is the hero ingredient of this low fat lemon cheesecake. If you're not a fan, don't worry, you won't even know it is there. The mixture will be blitzed so it'll be perfectly smooth and creamy.
If you've got some leftover cottage cheese, you can use it up in this cottage cheese smoothie.
Lemon zest. Make sure that you zest the lemons finely, either with a fine grater or a lemon zester. It should be almost powdery so it distributes a lovely lemony flavour throughout the cheesecake. Avoid getting any of the white pith in the zest as it is quite bitter tasting.
Egg. There's just one egg in this cheesecake which adds extra creaminess. It's not essential, so if you don't eat eggs just leave it out.
Gelatine. I used a 12 g sachet of gelatine powder. If you prefer, you can use 4 gelatine leaves instead - follow the instructions on the packet carefully. Make sure that you don't use more than 2 tablespoons of water to dissolve the gelatine as the mixture may be too runny.
You could also use agar agar if you want a vegetarian cheesecake. Use the amount recommended to set 1 pint of liquid (10-12 g) and dissolve the agar agar as specified on the pack.
Greek yogurt. You'll need a thick yogurt for this recipe. Mine was 2% fat, but provided that the yogurt is thick and you mix it in gently, a fat free yogurt will also be fine.
Optional - berries to decorate
How to make low fat lemon cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (140 fan). Lightly grease the sides and base of a 20cm loose bottomed round tin.
Healthy cheesecake base
Start by making the cheesecake base so that it can cool whilst you make the cottage cheese topping.
Add the oats, applesauce, 1 tablespoon of honey and olive oil to a food processor. Blitz until the oats have slightly broken down, but leave some texture.
Spoon the oat mixture into the baking tin and smooth with the back of the spoon. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove for the oven and leave to cool.
Low fat cheesecake topping
Add the cottage cheese, egg, lemon zest and remaining 2 tablespoons of honey to the food processor. Blitz until smooth.
Add 2 tablespoons of water which has just come off the boil to a small cup. Sprinkle over the gelatine powder and stir to mix. After a couple of minutes the gelatine should have dissolved to a smooth texture. Note - make sure you add the powder to the water, not vice versa!
Add the dissolved gelatine to the cheesecake mixture and blitz again to mix. Then gently stir in the Greek yogurt.
Spoon the cottage cheese topping onto the cheesecake base and chill until firm. It should be set within an hour if you are in a hurry, but you can leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If desired, decorate the top with fresh berries.
You can also make this low fat lemon cheesecake with a blender.
To make the base without a food processor or blender, melt the honey in a pan and stir in the other ingredients.
For the topping, you'll need to sieve the cottage cheese so that it is free from lumps. Follow the rest of the recipe as above, making sure to mix in the gelatine thoroughly.
Serving and storage
It's very easy to un-mould the cheesecake from a loose bottomed tin. Gently run a spatula around the edge and unclip the side of the tin. You can then either serve it from the base, or carefully lift out the whole cheesecake onto a serving plate.
It's easier to get this healthy cheesecake base out of the tin than it is with a conventional biscuit base. I had to move my cheesecake a few times to take the photos, and it was surprisingly easy:)
Serve this low fat lemon cheesecake chilled. It's delicious on it's own, but you could also serve it with some additional fruit. Or top with a no sugar fruit sauce such as this easy blackberry sauce, or a tangy blackcurrant compote which is ready in 10 minutes.
If you want to cut the calories further, omit the base, and serve the cheesecake in 8 individual glasses or cups. Each cheesecake will have just 50 calories!
You could easily use this recipe to make a low fat vanilla cheesecake - just omit the lemon zest and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract
Frequently asked questions
You can make a delicious creamy cheesecake using cottage cheese and yogurt instead of cream cheese. Cottage cheese has less than half the calories and only 20% of the fat that is in cream cheese, so it's a healthy choice. This low fat lemon cheesecake has less than 150 calories.
Neither is necessarily better, but they are quite different. Baked cheesecakes tend to be quite dense in texture. New York cheesecake is a classic baked cheesecake, rich, delicious and very calorific! No baked cheese cakes are much lighter, and almost mousse-like in texture.
One apple will make about 100ml of applesauce. If you need to make applesauce for this low fat lemon cheesecake recipe, simmer one peeled and chopped and apple for a few minutes with a teaspoon of water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, measure out 80ml and add to the recipe.
Once you've zested the lemons for this recipe, you'll need to wrap them in plastic and place in the fridge. Once the zest has been removed they'll have a tendancy to dry out.
Other healthy low fat desserts
There's lots of delicious low fat desserts to be had. If you like creamy desserts, try this rhubarb custard fool, or a very low fat but still indulgent chocolate sauce. You could also try this fat free ice cream recipe, or a healthy and low fat trifle. Browse the healthy desserts recipes for more inspiration!
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Low Fat Lemon Cheesecake
- Food processor or blender Can also make the recipe by hand.
- 100 g oats
- 80 ml unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 300 ml low fat cottage cheese
- 2 lemons finely zested
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- 12 g gelatine powder (1 sachet)
- 150 ml Greek yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (140 fan). Lightly grease the base and sides of a 20cm loose bottomed round tin.
Healthy cheesecake base
- Add the oats, applesauce, olive oil and one tablespoon of honey to a food processor and blitz. Allow the oats to break down slightly without becoming powdery.
- Transfer the oat mixture to the tin and smooth with the back of the spoon. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
Low fat cheesecake topping
- Add the cottage cheese, egg, lemon zest and remaining two tablespoons of honey to the food processor and blitz until smooth.
- Add two tablespoons of just boiled water to a heatproof cup. Add the gelatine powder to the water and stir to mix. Leave for a couple of minutes for the gelatine to fully dissolve.
- Add the gelatine mix to the cottage cheese and blitz again. Then gently stir in the Greek yogurt.
- Tip the cheesecake topping onto the base. Chill until set.
- If desired, decorate with fresh berries.
- For a healthy gluten free cheesecake base, use certified gluten free oats
- For a 50 calorie cheesecake (yes, really!) omit the base and set the cheesecake mix in 8 serving dishes or glasses
- For a vegetarian cheesecake, use agar agar or a vegetarian gelatine. Follow the instructions on the packet and use enough setting agent to set 1 pint of liquid. Don't add more than 2 tablespoons of extra liquid to the recipe otherwise it might not set properly
- You can also use 4 gelatine leaves rather than powder if you prefer
- If you don't eat eggs, just omit it from the recipe. It adds extra creaminess, but the cheesecake will still set and taste delicious without it
- Warm the honey, applesauce and olive oil in a pan. Stir in the oats and bake as above
- For the topping, sieve the cottage cheese so that it is free from lumps. Make sure that you whisk the gelatine into the mixture thoroughly so that it is well distributed
Please note nutritional information is for guidance only