Vegan Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

I’ll start by confessing. I might have eaten 4 squares of these vegan lemon bars in one day and I might have contemplated eating 4 more squares, that’s how good these are. I knew the crust would have a shortbread feel, but I started to get a little stuck on the filling. Normally, eggs would be used to thicken the filling and provide a base, but for these, I needed something else. After doing a little research, a lot of vegan lemon bar recipes called for silken tofu in the filling or cashews. While normally, I would be all for these two substitutes, I didn’t have tofu on hand and my cashew supply is running a little low (because I was making this and just inhaling it like nobody’s business). So, I set out to create a vegan lemon bar recipe without tofu.

vegan lemon bars on parchment paper with lemons

For some reason, banana kept sticking in my brain as a substitute and I just couldn’t get it out. I kept trying to rationalize it away, thinking that the banana flavor would shine through the lemon too much or it wouldn’t get that lemon bar gel set up right. Then, I realized that my baking gut was telling me that I should just try it, why not? If things went wrong, I could just try something else if it was a big flop, right? I know it sounds strange, but I feel like after several years of baking and tweaking recipes, my baking gut kicks in and can tell me how long to keep a cake in the oven or how much flour is really needed in a batch of cookie dough. So, I trusted my gut with these vegan lemon bars, and my gut didn’t lead me wrong! I upped the amount of lemon juice and zest in the recipe and used a ripe banana to partially sweeten the filling. Adding in cornstarch and a bit more sugar allowed the filling to set up and get that lemon bar texture you know and love. So, here I give you a tofu-less, cashew-less vegan lemon bar recipe, with a healthy dusting of powdered sugar, of course.

For this recipe, I loved using this simple 8×8 pan that easily made the perfect amount of vegan lemon bars!

stack of vegan lemon bars on parchment paper

FAQs

Do these taste like banana?

Yes and no. There is a slight banana flavor, but if you add enough lemon juice, they for SURE taste like lemon more than banana.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! Double the crust and the filling to make sure you have enough. Use a 9×13 pan and make sure it’s lined with parchment paper!

Do these use cashews or tofu in the filling?

No! I wanted to avoid using ingredients that everyone might not have on hand. Bananas are the perfect substitute and make these slightly healthier without adding fat.

vegan lemon bars on parchment paper

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Vegan Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust//heartofabaker.com

Vegan Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

  • Author: Abby Thompson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Vegan lemon bars are tart, sweet and a perfect vegan dessert, using all whole ingredients, no tofu and no cashews! Easy and with a vegan shortbread crust.


Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • For the lemon filling:
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Zest and juice of 3-4 lemons (1/3-1/2 c lemon juice)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, coconut oil, and powdered sugar until the dough comes together. Press into the bottom of the greased pan and bake for 7-9 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. You don’t want to over bake the crust, or it will become too hard after you add the filling. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl with a handheld mixer, beat together the banana, lemon juice and zest, sugar, vanilla extract, cornstarch and flour until fairly smooth and combined.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until filling it set. Allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until cool.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Keywords: vegan dessert, lemon bars, lemon, dessert

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