Cheesecake, how I love thee.

Greek Yogurt Banana Cheesecake You are creamy and luscious, yet light and fluffy. Your crust is gobble-worthy, be it graham cracker or Oreo. Your appeal prompted a major U.S. restaurant chain to take you for its namesake and create an entire menu of desserts centered around you. Cheesecake, you’re a Big Deal.

My love of cheesecake was ordained at birth. At Christmas Eve dinner, my family serves apple pie, a “traditional” holiday dessert, AND a cheesecake. (We couldn’t decide between the two, so we didn’t.) At Thanksgiving, we skirt tradition all together and swap pumpkin pie for pumpkin pecan cheesecake. Try it this year—you will be a believer too.

Sorry pumpkin pie; I have other reasons to be thankful.

Holiday cheesecake is phenomenal, but I love it far too much to limit it to a scant two days a year. It’s easy to justify generous slices of this indulgent dessert at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but (right or wrong) digging into it on a typical Tuesday night can leave me feeling guilty. I know I could exercise some portion control and forget the remorse, but cheesecake has a knack for destroying my self-restraint. The solution: a lighter version of this creamy classic that is every bit as exquisite as the original.

If you are skeptical of a “skinny” cheesecake, I do not blame you. I have tried reduced-fat cheesecakes in the past that lacked in any flavor, aside from rubber. Not on this blog. Inspired by my overly ripe bananas, I baked a Better Banana Cheesecake that is so rich and yummy, you (and your unsuspecting guests) will never know it’s been lightened up. Additionally, I love how vanilla wafers taste with banana pudding, so I incorporated them into a graham cracker crust that is easy on the waistline.

And because every good cheesecake deserves a topping: the final flourish is a brown sugar-banana sauce that you can whip up in 3 minutes or less. It adds an extra punch that would be a pity to miss.

Cheesecake on a Tuesday? Two slices please!

Better Banana Cheesecake
No monkey business: This cheesecake is delicious.

makes one 9 in. cheesecake



  • 2/3 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 5 full sheets of crackers)
  • 2/3 c. vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (about 20 cookies)
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 3 T. butter, melted
  • Cooking spray


  • 2 blocks (8 oz. each) reduced-fat cream cheese (or Neufchâtel cheese), softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 c. reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 T. butter, melted and room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. + 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • Whipped topping (optional for serving)


  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large ripe bananas, sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. If needed, pulse graham crackers and vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor until they are broken into crumbs.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine graham and cookie crumbs and sugar. Pour melted butter over top and stir together with a fork until moist.
  3. Coat a 9 in. spring form pan thoroughly with cooking spray. Press mixture into bottom of the pan. Top with a little more cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
One big, yummy vanilla-graham cookie.


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Reduce mixer speed and beat in eggs and egg whites, one at a time. Add bananas, sour cream, 1 T. melted butter, lemon juice, and vanilla. Last, gently beat in 1/4 c. brown sugar and salt.
  3. Carefully pour cheesecake mixture into prepared crust. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp. brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sift over top of cheesecake until lightly dusted.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until cheesecake is barely jiggly in the center when pan is moved. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack. Immediately run a knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake to gently loosen. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled (a few hours).
  5. Remove from spring form pan and slide onto a place. Slice and top with brown sugar banana sauce and whipped topping, as desired.
Would it be wrong to eat this for breakfast?


  1. Melt butter in a small sauce pan on low heat. Mix in brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and stir continuously for a minute or so until fully combined. Turn off heat. Stir in banana slices. Let cool to room temperature.
A pot of brown sugar-banana love.