Last Friday I made vegan lemon squares, using a crust I had made from oats, coconut flour, almonds and figs. They lasted about two days. Every time I opened the fridge door, I couldn’t resist grabbing a lemon square. I didn’t feel too guilty about it though since the ingredients were wholesome and they weren’t packed full of sugar.
On Sunday, after having a picnic in the park and celebrating Earth Day in Oak Cliff, I swung by the farmer’s market to pick up some produce. I came across a basket of the most beautiful looking blueberries. They were plump and their bright blue hue glistened in the sun. Unfortunately they weren’t local nor were they affordable at $5 a pint. Regardless, after having a taste of these California berries, I knew I had to splurge.
The drive home was painful. I used everything in me to resist the urge to eat that entire pint in one gulp. To distract myself, I contemplated recipes and ways I could use some of the blueberries. Fruit crumble bars are one of my favorite treats. They are the perfect summer dessert and they’re easily portable for a snack on the run. I enjoyed the crust on my meyer lemon squares so much, I wanted to try incorporating it into a healthy berry crumble. When I arrived home, I started up the food processor and got to work.
I wanted to enjoy some of the blueberries on their own, especially for breakfast on my oatmeal. To salvage some, I replaced one of the two cups of berries for this crumble with some frozen raspberries I had on hand. While they baked in the oven, the apartment smelled lovely. When they came out of the oven I knew they were going to be great. Waiting for them to cool was like torture, I couldn’t wait to cut them into squares and dig in.
After what felt like the longest hour of my life, I finally took a bite. They were fantastic. The berry compote complemented the tender crust so well. I loved how the crust wasn’t overly sweet, which allowed for the natural flavor and sweetness of the fruit to truly shine. Similar to the meyer lemon squares, these berry crumble bars are low in sugar and fat, as well as vegan and gluten free. They are even healthy enough to eat for breakfast!
I’m counting down the days until summer, when strawberries, peaches, berries and so many delicious fruits are in season. I know I’ll be making these bars again and again.
With summer just around the corner, is there a seasonal fruit or vegetable you are excited for?
Vegan Berry Crumble Bars (Gluten Free)
- 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
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 10 preserved figs
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil (or vegan margarine)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 tsp. corn starch
- 3 tsp. agave or maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
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, vanilla extract and cinnamon 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 half of the mixture to the prepared pan and press down firmly to evenly distribute the crust.
In a medium bowl, combine raspberries, blueberries, corn starch, agave and vanilla extract. Toss well to evenly coat the fruit.
Fold the fruit mixture on top of the crust and distribute it evenly across the top using a spatula.
Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture on top of the fruit and gently press down to sandwich the fruit between the layers of crust.
Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until the top begins to brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Once the bars have completely cooled, cut into squares. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Store in a sealable container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Yield 9-12 berry crumble bars
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