So very not vegan (or gluten-free)…until now.
Friends, vegan lemon bars (!!!) made with just 10 ingredients, naturally sweetened, and gluten-free! I know, I’m excited, too.
The almond-oat crust is adapted from my Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack Bars, and somehow ends up tasting reminiscent of graham cracker crust! It’s my new favorite thing, besides this über creamy filling.
The filling is comprised of soaked cashews, coconut cream, lots of lemon juice + zest, maple syrup, arrowroot starch (for thickening), and sea salt. That’s it!
I didn’t know what would happen if I blended it all up and baked it, but it turns out, it ends up tasting like a lemon bar with a cheesecake-like texture. SWOON!
Friends, you’re going to LOVE these bars! They’re:
Not too sweet
These would make the perfect dessert for so many things: Bridal showers (I know), baby showers (I know!), study dates (yass girl), office gatherings (the least exciting, but still really cool). Even if you don’t have anywhere special to be, these would make a delicious treat to have around the house for snacking (but watch out – you’ll want 2 or 3).
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment it, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends! Now excuse me while I dive into one of these magical bars.
Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup coconut cream* (the hardened portion at the top of full-fat coconut milk)
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (2 large lemons yield ~1/2 cup or 120 ml)
- 1 heaping Tbsp lemon zest (1 large lemon yields ~1 heaping Tbsp or 4 g)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- 2 Tbsp organic powdered sugar (optional // for topping)
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 4-5 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
Add raw cashews to a mixing bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let rest for 1 hour (uncovered). Then drain thoroughly.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Add oats, almonds, sea salt, and coconut sugar to a high speed blender and mix on high until a fine meal is achieved.
Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add maple syrup and melted coconut oil, starting with lesser end of range (4 Tbsp or 60 g as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and adding more if it's too dry. Stir with a spoon to combine until a loose dough is formed. You should be able to squeeze the mixture between two fingers and form a dough instead of it crumbling. If too dry, add a bit more melted coconut oil.
Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking pan and spread evenly. Then place parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object, such as a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well packed.
Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 F (190 C) and bake for 5-8 minutes more, or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven to cool slightly, then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F (176 C).
Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to a high speed blender with coconut cream, arrowroot starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and maple syrup. Mix on high until very creamy and smooth.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed. I added a bit more lemon zest and maple syrup. It should be very lemony, and not overly sweet.
Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears “jiggly” but not liquidy.
Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to let cool completely (uncovered) - at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
To serve, slice and sift with powdered sugar (optional). Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, up to 4 days, though best within the first 2 days.
*If you open your can of coconut milk or cream and the cream is not separated from the liquid, that’s ok! Just try and tip out as much of the rich, firm white part and leave the liquid behind. It’s not crucial that it’s entirely cream. But the more cream, the richer the bars will be!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without organic powdered sugar.
*Crust adapted from my Peanut Butter and Jelly Snack Bars.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 9 bars)
- Calories: 326
- Fat: 24.6g
- Saturated fat: 13.7g
- Sodium: 61mg
- Carbohydrates: 24.3g
- Fiber: 3.3g
- Sugar: 11.4g
- Protein: 5.9g