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.
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.
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.
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- 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)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until filling it set. Allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until cool.
- Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Keywords: vegan dessert, lemon bars, lemon, dessert
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