Vegan Meyer Lemon Bars combine a sweet citrus ‘cream’ with a ‘buttery’ crust. As rich in protein as they are decadent, these bars are a dessert force to be reckoned with!
Many of my recipes are inspired by childhood favorites. I find myself longing for them desperately but they don’t fit into a gluten-free, plant-based and refined sugar-free diet. This recipe is no different. I’ve loved my mother’s lemon bars since I was a little girl. I have nailed crusts that would seamlessly replace the one in her lemon bars like my Pure Piña Colada Bars, or Berry Bliss Bars. But the first ingredient for my mother’s lemon cream is sweetened condensed milk–that pretty much stopped me in my tracks!
If At First You Don’t Succeed!
But I did!! One day I mustered up my determination (aka desperation) and decided I was going to find a way to make a plant-based/vegan and refined sugar-free version of the heavenly nectar that is a blend of sweetened condensed milk and fresh lemon juice. I was prepared to go all day if I had to. Fortunately that was not the case! After breaking down what I believed to be the fundamental components of the nectar I rebuilt it with my healthier ingredients–better, stronger, faster–the six million dollar lemon bars?! Nostalgia does strange things to you, doesn’t it? The final piece of the puzzle.
If you have read my post for my Mexican Vegan Loaf recipe, you saw the hack I shared on “training your parchment” paper to stay down in a loaf pan. I didn’t have a large enough rubber band this time so I came up with yet another hack to keep the parchment paper from popping up and sliding around while you try to press crust into a pan.
Timing Is Everything
Coincidence or influence? Who knows?! I happened to develop this recipe during Meyer lemon season. Meyer lemons are delightful. Brought to the United States in the early 1900’s from their native China by agricultural explorer Frank Meyer. Often described as a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange, Meyer lemons really are a blend of the two. Outwardly it is shaped like a lemon yet has the color of an orange. The flavor is also an amazing combination of the tempered tartness of lemon with light flavor of orange. I really enjoyed the confluence of flavor the Meyer lemon added to the traditional lemon bar. But if you are really hankering for that bold lemon flavor, please feel free to substitute with the juice of ‘true’ lemon.
Vegan Meyer Lemon Bars
Thanks to cashews, almond flour and oats. these bars are packin’ protein aplenty. I used an 8×8 inch pan to bake these bars and 1/16th of the pan contains roughly 3.5 grams of protein. The healthy fats are from sources like raw cashews, coconut butter and coconut oil. All the sweetness is made possible by unrefined sugars (coconut nectar and/or maple syrup and coconut palm sugar). If you have a low sugar diet and your palate is very sensitive to sugar–I have not tried it–I think you could cut back a tablespoon or two of the sweetener in the lemon cream.