Vegan Meyer Lemon Bars

by Kris on April 20, 2012

I thought I would end the week with a sweet dessert. I wanted to make a maple pie for you all, but it seems nobody in my family has my grandmother’s recipe! Hopefully it will turn up in someone’s kitchen so I can give it a try. Until then, I made you some vegan lemon squares.

The crust in most lemon square recipes comprises of a lot of butter, flour and powdered sugar. I wanted to make a lighter and healthier version of this classic recipe so I started from scratch. For the flour base, I used a combination of rolled oats, almond meal and coconut flour. If you want to make them gluten free, replace the old fashioned oats with a gluten free variety of oats. I used a small amount of brown sugar to sweeten the crust, but feel free to use any sweetener of your choice. To bind it all together I used dried figs and coconut oil. The figs naturally added additional sweetness.

For the lemon filling I used a combination of cashew cream, almond milk and water. I like my lemon squares tart, so I added a substantial amount of lemon juice and zest. If you prefer yours a little less tart, omit or use half the lemon zest. I sweetened the mixture with some agave nectar and used agar agar to solidify the filling.

I really enjoyed the crust on these bars. It was sweet and tender which perfectly complemented the tartness of the lemon filling.

I also have some exciting news to share. Two of my photographs have been purchased by NYLO Hotels to be on permanent display in their new South Side location in Dallas!  One of those photos came in fourth place in their nation wide art competition and will be displayed in the hotel lobby’s front corridor. The hotel opens this July and will include an opening night gala. If you would like to see my photography on display and you’re in the Dallas area, stay tuned for more details.

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

Vegan Meyer Lemon Squares

  • 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats (or gluten free rolled oats)
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 10 preserved figs
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil (or vegan margarine)

Lemon filling:

  • ¼ cup cashew cream
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. agar agar flakes
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric (optional, just for color)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 4 tbsp. agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine oats, almond meal and coconut flour. Pulse until oats are fully ground and the mixture resembles flour, about one minute.

Add brown sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract to the mixture and pulse until well combined. Leaving the food processor running, add one fig at a time through the shoot until all figs have been fully incorporated and the mixture begins to come together.

Add coconut oil (or vegan margarine) through the shoot while the food processor is running and blend for about 30 seconds.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down firmly to evenly distribute the crust. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Once the crust has cooled, begin preparing the lemon filling.

Combine cashew cream, almond milk and water in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the liquid with agar flakes and allow it to sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Add lemon zest, lemon juice, turmeric, vanilla extract and agave nectar to the pot, stirring well to combine. Bring the liquid to a slow boil over medium heat. Once the liquid begins to boil, set a timer for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to ensure the agar flakes do not stick to the edges of the pot.

After 10 minutes remove from heat and pour liquid over the prepared crust. Place the pan in the fridge for one hour to set. Once the filling has set, slice into squares.

Serve cold and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Yield 9-12 lemon squares

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