Even though I’m not vegan, I love making vegan recipes! They’re dairy-free, egg-free, and typically healthier in general. We eat mostly dairy-free in our house, except for the occasional pizza binge (which is mandatory a few times a year.) We also eat eggs. The problem is that we eat A LOT of eggs. Our little family goes through 2-3 dozen eggs a week. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot! I typically try recipes which call for eggs with a flax or chia egg first. Nine times out of ten, it works and I do a little happy dance! (Well, in my head anyway) I like recipes that don’t call for eggs at all, like this recipe.
It’s even better if you don’t have to bake it!
Friends, meet Lemon-Raspberry No-Bake Bars. They’re delicious squares of lemony goodness. They’re guilt-free too! (No one likes to eat while feeling guilty) Being dipped in chocolate is the only thing that could top it. But, lemon and chocolate?! Yeah, we’ll save that experiment for another day!
It begins with a simple date and nut “crust,” which is blended and then pressed into a pan.
This raw dessert uses cashews for the creamy filling. Cashews are full of vitamins and minerals and contain healthy fats, similar to those found in olive oil. I know, you’re thinking, “cashews?” That’s what I thought too. But, trust me, you will never even know cashews are in these. They’re just yummy. That’s what will be occupying your thoughts when you take a bite.
For the topping, I made use of one of my favorite super foods: Chia Seeds! Chia seeds are full of fiber, protein, and are great source of omega-3s. I love chia seeds and add them to whatever I can, from smoothies and puddings, to oatmeal and desserts. The cool feature of chia seeds, is that they absorb up to 10 times their weight in water. This means they make a good thickening agent, which is how I get mashed raspberries to become jam-like.
These bars are a cross between a lemon bar and cheesecake! They’re perfectly tart with a bit of sweetness. The sweet and fruity raspberry topping is a nice contrast to the lemon too. They’re stored in the fridge or the freezer, so it’s best to let them thaw a bit so that they’re more creamy, less popsicle-y.
Creamy, delicious, and with the perfect balance of sweet and tart, these bars are a great treat to enjoy anytime. You also don’t have to feel guilty about splurging on these since they’re made with such healthy ingredients 🙂 Enjoy!
- 3 cups pre-soaked Raw Cashews
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup melted Coconut Oil
- ½ cup Pure Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- In a bowl, cover the cashews with water and let soak for 3-4 hours. Nuts contain natural enzyme inhibitors. Soaking the nuts not only helps with blending, but it neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors and makes them more digestible. If you're in a pinch for time, you can put the cashews and water in a pot on the stove. Bring the water to a boil and then remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can prepare the other ingredients in the meantime.
- I like to make the topping in the beginning to give the chia seeds time to gel with the raspberries. To make the topping, mash together the raspberries, chia seeds, and maple syrup with a fork. Start with less maple syrup and add the extra half tablespoon, if you want it sweeter. Set aside to gel.
- Add dates and nuts to a processor and pulse a few times to break up the big chunks. Add the pinch of salt and process for 2-3 minutes, or until finely chopped. Mixture should hold together when pressed. If mixture is too dry, add in a few more dates and process until well combined. Press mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan. I recommend lining with parchment paper. It makes getting the bars out so much easier. Clean the processor to use for the filling.
- After your cashews have soaked, rinse and drain the dirty water. Add cashews to your food processor, along with lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Blend until creamy. *If you like a mild lemon taste, you can start out with half the amount of lemon juice and zest called for. Taste and add the other half, if needed. If the mixture is too thick you may need to supplement an equal part of water for the lemon juice omitted.
- Pour filling onto the crust and spread across the pan evenly. Drop spoonfuls of raspberry sauce all over the filling and spread over the top, until evenly distributed. Cover the pan well with foil and place into the freezer for 2-3 hours, or until mixture has firmed.
- If you used the parchment paper, use a knife to separate the bars from the edge of the pan. Pick up the bars using both sides of the parchment paper and set on your counter top. Cut into bars and thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving. Best eaten when cold, but creamy. Keep in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve. Store leftover bars in the fridge for 4-5 days or in a sealed container in the freezer for 2-3 weeks. Enjoy!
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