The vegan lemon bars of your dreams.
With the perfect balance of tart and sweet, these creamy lemon bars are a must try dessert. They are of course 100% vegan, and also 100% delicious. Plus, they are naturally-sweetened and gluten-free—say whaaaat! Today’s recipe has a bit of a different origin. We teamed up with our friend Sam to do an ingredient challenge inspired by the popular Food Network program Chopped. We both sent each other a set of 2 ingredients and tried to come up with a recipe using all four.
The two ingredients Sam chose were lemons and almonds while Chris and I chose rosemary and coconut. We both had no idea what to expect and no plans going into this, yet we were able to create two awesome recipes if I do say so myself.
We came up with this sweet creamy lemon bar recipe while Sam created a savory Almond Rosemary Lemon Crusted Tofu over on her blog It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken that we are just dying to try! Make sure you head over to her blog to check it out!As I am sitting here trying to think of the best description for these bars, for some reason what came to mind was “Creamy, Dreamy, Beautiful, Lemon Bars” just like that old Cover Girl slogan. I know this is super (vegan) cheesy, but I thought it was hilarious and honestly the perfect way to describe them!
But really, these bars are a work of art and are something that I would say is perfect for when you want to impress a crowd. Not only are they delicious, but they are also aesthetically impressive 😉 The most difficult part of this recipe is waiting for the bars to set in the fridge. Chris and I were SO tempted to just say screw it and cut them early but we held each other back 😛 We both snuck a few tastes of the batter before going into the oven and it had us wanting more! But I promise guys, it will be well worth the wait. If you make this recipe, let us know what you think in the comments below! + If you post any photos on Instagram, make sure you tag us @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris so that we don’t miss it, we love seeing your photos!
Also, be sure to head over to Sam’s blog to check out her recipe for this ingredient challenge as well! Enjoy 🙂Print
With the perfect balance of tart and sweet, these creamy lemon bars are a must try dessert. They are 100% vegan, and also 100% delicious. Plus, they are naturally-sweetened and gluten-free–say whaaaat!
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds
- 1/4 cup coconut shreds (or sub more oats)
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 11 Medjool dates, pitted and packed (or 3/4 cup packed)
- 4-5 tablespoons unrefined organic coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk to yield 3/4 cup coconut cream*
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (we used 2 Meyer lemons)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (we used 1 Meyer lemon)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon turmeric (optional– just for color)
- Pinch of salt
- Thin slices of lemon
- Rosemary sprigs
- Shredded coconut
- Powdered sugar
- Soak the cashews overnight in room temperature water OR add them to a large bowl with boiling hot water and soak for at least 1 hour (uncovered).
- Prepare the flax egg by combining the flaxseed meal with water in a small bowl or cup and setting it aside for 15 minutes to thicken.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a square (8×8”) baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor, add the rolled oats, almonds, coconut, rosemary, and salt. Process on high until a fine meal is reached.
- Add in the Medjool dates and process until broken down and uniform. Add in the flax egg and 4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil to start, and process. The mixture should be a bit moist and should be able to form a dough when squeezed between two fingers. If it crumbles or is too dry, add the last tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Pour the dough into the lined baking dish and spread it out evenly. Press the dough down using your fingers or a spatula until it is packed in and even throughout. Place the crust in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 15 minutes.
- Once the cashews have soaked, drain them thoroughly and add them into a high-speed blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high until smooth, stopping to mix if needed.
- Adjust seasonings to taste and add in more turmeric if needed (we only used about 1/8 teaspoon).
- Once the crust had cooled, pour in the filling and spread it out evenly using a silicone spatula. Tap it on the counter or a flat surface to remove any air bubbles. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges dry out a bit and the mixture has set and is no longer liquidy.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes. Transfer the dish to the refrigerator (uncovered) to cool completely, at least 3 hours (the longer the better).
- Remove the pan from the oven once cooled and transfer the bars (along with the parchment paper) to a cutting board. Slice into your desired sizes (we cut ours into 9 squares).
- We topped our lemon bars with a thin slice of lemon, a small piece of rosemary and a sprinkle of coconut, but it is not necessary. If you would like, you can even dust them with powdered sugar.
- Adapted from Minimalist Baker.
- Coconut cream is the hard layer at the top of a full-fat coconut milk can. What we like to do is place the can in the refrigerator overnight, remove it from the fridge trying not to shake it, and scoop out all of the cream into a large bowl. Measure the amount needed and reserve any remaining cream or liquid in the fridge for more recipes or for smoothies.
- We prefer to serve the bars immediately for best results but they will store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
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