If you have a craving for cheesecake, try this inventive and delicious version. Top this lighter version with some fruit and enjoy for under 200 calories.
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For the crust:
9 whole graham crackers (5 ounces), broken into rough pieces and processed in a food processor to fine crumbs (about 1 ¼ cups)
4 tablespoons Smart Balance spread, melted
½ tablespoon Splenda Blend sugar substitute
For the filling:
1 pound 1% cottage cheese
1 pound light cream cheese, at room temperature
*8 ounces yogurt cheese (See directions below if you want to make your own) or 1 pint non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt
¼ teaspoon table salt
¾-1 cup Splenda blend sugar substitute
½-1 teaspoon lemon zest (could use orange zest)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Vegetable cooking spray
*How to make yogurt cheese, if desired:
Needed: 1 pint (2 cups) non fat or low-fat plain yogurt.
- Line a strainer with a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or paper towels and place over a bowl.
- Put the yogurt in the strainer and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. The longer the yogurt drains, the thicker the “cheese” becomes. Draining overnight will give you a soft cream cheese-like consistency.
- Yogurt cheese should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for about a week. One pint (2 cups) yogurt yields approximately 1 cup (8 ounces) yogurt cheese.
To make crust:
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together in a medium bowl.
- Transfer mixture to a 9” springform pan and press evenly into the pan bottom.
- Bake the crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
To make filling:
- Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees. Line a medium bowl with a clean dishtowel or several layers of paper towels. Spoon the cottage cheese into the bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.
- Process the drained cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth and no visible lumps remain, about 1 minute, scraping down the work bowl once or twice.
- Add the cream cheese and yogurt cheese and process until smooth, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the work bowl once or twice. Add the salt, sugar substitute, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the work bowl once or twice. With the processor running, add the eggs, one at a time and process until smooth.
- Being careful not to disturb the baked crust, spray the sides of the springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake 10 minutes.
- Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the cheesecake reads 150 degrees, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. (Baking time varies depending upon how slowly the oven temperature drops from 500 degrees to 200 degrees. Check after 1 hour.)
- Transfer the cake to a wire rack, and run a paring knife around the edge of the cake.
- Let cool until barely warm, 2 ½ to 3 hours, running a paring knife around the edge of the cake every hour or so. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
- To unmold the cheesecake, wrap a hot kitchen towel around the springform pan and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and blot any excess moisture from the top of the cheesecake with paper towels.
- Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges.
Each serving contains:
Total fat: 9 g
Saturated fat: 4 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Protein: 9 g
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Dietary fiber: 0 g
Cholesterol: 70 mg
Sodium: 350 mg
Potassium: 85 mg
Source: Recipe courtesy of dietitian Melissa Ohlson, MS, RD, LD