Raw Nut Free Lemon Bars



Vegan Raw Gluten Free Nut Free Lemon Bar Cookies

Allergy Friendly Raw Nut Free Lemon Bars

Inspiration

Happy SUMMER 2013! I’m so happy the season is finally here. Summer always has been my favorite time of year – warm weather, beaches, the coconut smell of suntan lotion, outdoor festivals, and refreshing summery flavors like fresh squeezed lemonade.  Combining two of my favorite summer scents and/or flavors (coconut and lemon), these vegan, raw nut free lemon bars are a perfect way to launch summer!

As soon as I saw Oatmeal With a Fork’s recipe for thick raw lemon bars featured on a couple of my favorite allergy friendly recipe websites, I knew I had to try converting the recipe to one for allergy friendly, raw nut free lemon bars. A common ingredient in so many raw vegan recipes seems to be nuts. I remember how let down I was when visiting a well-rated local raw vegan restaurant. Limited in diet as I was nursing Baby Girl, I sadly only could try a couple drinks. The restaurant owner nicely warned me against eating anything since their kitchen was packed with nuts.

So, for those of you who cannot tolerate nuts but would love to try a delicious raw vegan dessert, this recipe is for you! {Update: Looking for another citrusy raw vegan nut free dessert? Check out these easy-to-prep raw nut free lime tarts!}

Vegan Raw Gluten Free Nut Free Lemon Bar Cookies

I have come to prefer using sunflower and pumpkin seeds over nuts in many recipes,  even though my diet is not restricted. In fact, I am not the only one, as my family now prefers my Southern peanut-less brittle over peanut brittle! I thought seeds might also make a good replacement for the almonds in the original raw lemon bar recipe. The result: yummy raw nut free lemon bars that further prove that allergy friendly can taste deliciously irresistible!

FREE Ingredients

(Makes about 10 gluten free, Paleo, vegan, nut free raw lemon bars)

Vegan Raw Gluten Free Nut Free Lemon Bar Cookies

I admit eating several raw nut free lemon bars before getting this shot.

Bottom Layer

  • ¾ cup raw sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds (I used Go Raw Simple Mix)
  • ¼ cup organic unsweetened coconut
  • 6 Medjool dates, seeds removed
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 ½ tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. sunflower seed butter (I used SunButter Natural Spread)

Top Layer

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. organic coconut oil
  • 2 ½ tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • Large pinch of turmeric (optional – for yellow coloring)

Method (or Mistakes)

  1. Blend together (by pulsing) the ingredients for the bottom layer, minus the sunflower seed butter, until crumbled and combined. (A food processor would also work well, I just don’t own one.)
  2. Add sunflower seed butter and blend until combined.
  3. Push bottom layer ingredients into a small dish. (Original recipe recommends a 7 x 5 inch glass dish, but all my small glass dishes are oval or circular in shape. So, I opted for an 8 x 4 ½ inch rectangular plastic container.)
  4. With a hand (or electric) mixer on medium-high speed (with a few seconds on high), beat coconut oil until creamy (1 – 2 minutes).
  5. Add lemon juice, zest, syrup, and turmeric, and then continue to beat on medium-high speed (with a few seconds on high) until combined and fluffy (about 1 minute). Make sure to scrape sides of the bowl to combine well.
  6. Use a small spatula to spread top layer on bottom layer.
  7. Cover and place in freezer for 30 minutes.
  8. Cut and enjoy. (If not enjoying immediately, keep refrigerated until serving.)
  9. Can be stored in fridge in airtight container for up to a week (or even longer in freezer).

Serving time is key with these bars – if you serve them straight from the fridge, they are a bit too crunchy; but, if you leave them out too long, the topping starts to melt back to the consistency of soft coconut oil. If you make these raw nut free lemon bars on a warm summer day, I recommend leaving them in the refrigerator until serving. Simply let them soften at room temperature for a few minutes before enjoying.

NOM YUM

For someone who loves lemon bars (as much as me), these are absolutely delicious! I enjoyed these so much that I easily could have eaten the entire batch alone in one sitting – if I hadn’t purposely paced myself (better than I paced myself yesterday in my first timed 5K run since before Baby Girl was born).

The lemony, coconut-ty chewy bottom of these raw nut free lemon bars is amazing! The natural sweetness from the dates combined with the nutty-like flavor of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds seemed too delicious to be healthy. And the granola-like texture was reminiscent of cheesecake crust. Although I’m not a huge cheesecake fan, I love the graham cracker crust. I may have to try using these raw nut free lemon bar bottoms in a raw nut free cheesecake before summer ends.

The soft lemony tops of these raw nut free lemon bars are sweet and tart like my favorite citrus desserts. For those who do not love tart flavors as much I do (a friend I shared these bars with reminded me how often he caught me sucking lemon slices when pregnant with Baby Girl), then you may want to slightly decrease the amount of lemon juice in the topping. Although I loved it, my husband found the topping of these bars a bit too tart and lemony for his preference.

The recipe for these no bake raw nut free lemon bars is so quick and easy, requiring so few ingredients and no cooking time, that it only makes sense that I make these over typical lemon bars in the future.  Most importantly, I feel less guilty eating a couple of these  tart treats – packed with little more than some good-for-you seeds, coconut, and dates. And knowing that the recipe satisfies both the Paleo and raw food diet crazes, I am comfortable that these must be a smart dessert choice! Next time, I may double the recipe and use a glass 8 x 8 inch baking dish, so I have more to freeze for moments when I want to indulge in a tasty sweet treat but do not want to regret doing so.

 

Featured on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday via Tessa the Domestic Diva, Allergy Free Wednesday via Laura’s Gluten Free Pantry, Raw Foods Thursday, Healthy Vegan Friday, Sunday Snippets from Fat Tuesday, Wellness Weekend

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