Two flavors that I absolutely love are the combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana, and anything LEMON! I love lemon, I just can’t get enough. I could eat lemon curd with a spoon. Luckily, citrus is in season right now. I was able to visit a local farm recently and pick my own lemons right off the trees. As a result I had lots of grapefruit, oranges, and lemons on hand. I knew exactly what I wanted to make with the lemons: Lemon Bars.
It had been such a long time since I had a lemon bar. They are one of my favorite desserts. Sweet, tart, and creamy. The main reason I have not had them in a while is because they are normally loaded with sugar and white flour. Two things I try to avoid at all costs. So off I went trying to create something that would satisfy my love for lemon bars, but was made with 100% wholesome ingredients. As it turns out, I was able to make these healthy bars raw, vegan, paleo, and gluten free, too.
The crust I used in this recipe is how I like to make a lot of sweet crusts: with dates and nuts. If you are nut-free, then simply substitute seeds or even oats for the same effect. This is really one of the cleanest ways I know how to make a good tasting crust. I also like that the dates add sweetness to the filling, so you don’t have to add as much extra sweetener.
Without a doubt, lemons are something that you will always find in my kitchen. Lemons are alkalizing for the body. They are acidic to begin with, but they are alkaline-forming on body fluids. This helps to restore balance to the body’s pH. Lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and aids in detoxification. Not to mention they are high in vitamin C. Lemon zest is often overlooked, but it adds so much flavor. Plus, zest can be 5-10 times more nutritious than the juice. Warm lemon juice in the morning is a great way to add more lemon to your diet, but now I have these healthy lemons bars, too.
Try them out for yourself and let me know what you think! What are some of your favorite lemon dishes or desserts?
- 1/2 cup dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup walnuts (any nut will work, use pumpkin seeds or oats for a nut-free version)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or 1/2 cup coconut butter
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or 2 pitted dates
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest (organic preferred)- from about 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (for color)
- In a food processor, chop the dates, nuts, and salt until a dough-like consistency is formed.
- In an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper, press the crust into the bottom in an even layer. Wet your hands slightly, it is sticky.
- In a food processor or blender add the coconut flakes and process until smooth and creamy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the coconut butter and blend until smooth.
- Adjust sweetener as needed, but remember the crust is sweet as well.
- Pour the lemon mixture onto the crust and let set in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Cut into bars.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Choose organic ingredients when possible.