Healthy vegan lemon bars are so easy and use whole ingredients, no tofu and no cashews! Come together in a snap and have all the flavor without any hard to find ingredients.
I’ll start by confessing. I might have eaten four squares of these vegan lemon bars in one day and I might have contemplated eating four 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).
I set out to create a vegan lemon bar recipe without tofu.
For some reason, banana kept sticking in my brain as a vegan egg 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, so 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 healthy 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 classic 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!
How to make vegan lemon bars
These healthy vegan lemon bars are SO easy, I promise!
First, you’re going to mix up the vegan shortbread crust. It’s a super easy combo of whisking together flour, powdered sugar, and melted coconut oil. Make sure all your powered sugar chunks are broken up and everything whisked together.
Also, don’t forget to line your square pan with parchment paper and grease the pan! This crust is delicious but can stick if the pan isn’t lined and greased properly.
While the crust is baking, mix up your vegan lemon bar filling! The key to a perfect filling is making sure you use a handheld mixer or even a stand mixer to mix together the filling.
You want to make sure the banana is thoroughly mashed and blended in with all of the other ingredients.
Another pro tip for making these vegan lemon bars: make sure your bananas are ripe! This ensures you get the added sweetness without needing to add more sugar.
Mix everything together with your hand mixer and you’re ready to go! Remove the shortbread crust from the oven, top with the lemon bar filling and put it back in to cook the filling.
One of the best parts about lemon bars is eating them cold! Don’t forget to build in extra time to chill the lemon bars after they’ve baked, and then they’re ready to serve.
Add an extra sprinkle of powdered sugar for extra sweetness!
How to store lemon bars
Store lemon bars in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also store them on a plate or platter covered with foil or saran wrap, I would just make sure they are covered to ensure the texture of the filling doesn’t change or dry out.
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.
Do I need to refrigerate lemon bars?
Yes! Although it’s not 100% necessary, it makes for optimal taste and texture. Lemon bars are best served cold, it keeps them tart and sweet. I wouldn’t recommend serving these hot or at room temperature.
How long will lemon bars last?
Lemon bars will keep up to a week! I usually find they taste the best within 5 days, but they will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How do you know when lemon bars are done?
You can tell when lemon bars are done when the edges start to turn golden brown and the filling doesn’t jiggle with you shake the pan. Try not to overbake or the filling will become gummy and overdone!
Can lemon bars be made in ahead?
Yes! In fact, I would totally recommend making lemon bars ahead since they take time to chill and get completely set. I would recommend making lemon bars 1-2 days before you need to serve them.
Can you freeze lemon bars?
Yes! I would recommend slicing them into squares first, then freezing individually. When you’re ready to thaw your lemon bars, take out the amount you want and thaw in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
More Easy Lemon Recipes on Heart of a Baker:Print
Vegan lemon bars are tart and sweet and use whole ingredients, plus no tofu and no cashews! Easy and with a vegan shortbread crust.
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 350ºF. 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.
- Calories: 271
- Sugar: 19
- Sodium: 2
- Fat: 10
- Carbohydrates: 31
- Protein: 3
Keywords: vegan lemon bars, lemon bars, how to make lemon bars