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Healthy Lemon Bars

5 from 6 votes

These soft, tart, and secretly healthy lemon bars are bursting with sweet citrus flavor! 

The Best Soft Chewy Lemon Bars

It’s like a lemon version of the famous Black Bean Brownies.

Healthy lemon bars that are secretly packed with nutrition, made with pantry staple ingredients – no refined sugar, no eggs or dairy, and no oil required!

Also Try This Vegan Lemon Bread

Vegan Lemon Bars

Are you a fan of lemon desserts?

While you obviously know where my loyalties lie (hello chocolate!), sometimes it can be fun to switch things up.

With bold lemony flavor, these quick-to-make healthy lemon bars are made up of wholesome ingredients.

Just throw everything into the food processor and blend until smooth, then spread into a pan and let the oven do the hard work.

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Lemon Blondies Recipe

The recipe can be vegan, gluten free, and soy free, with a flourless option.

I frosted the bars in the photos with melted coconut butter, or feel free to use any store-bought or homemade vanilla or cream cheese frosting.

Serve as a healthy snack or dessert. With fruit, fiber, and protein, they’re so healthy you could even eat them for breakfast if you want!

Hint: They go well with this Whipped Coffee Recipe

How To Make Healthy Lemon Bars With No Eggs Or Dairy
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Healthy Lemon Bars

Soft, tart, and sweet healthy lemon bars, bursting with bold citrus flavor.
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Yield 10 – 12 bars
5 from 6 votes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup applesauce or mashed banana
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup flour of choice (low carb version: Keto Lemon Bars)
  • 1 1/2 cup white beans or chickpeas (1 can, drained)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter, or any full-fat butter spread
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder, and 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line or grease an 8×8 pan. (Or you can make them into muffins.) Drain and rinse beans very well. Process all ingredients until completely smooth – taste and texture are much better in a food processor, but a blender can work if you must. Spread batter into pan. Bake 24 minutes, or 12 for muffins. The bars will be soft when you take them out, and they firm up as they cool.
    Frosting: 1/3 cup melted coconut butter (melt with a little coconut oil if needed to make it smoother). Mix with sweetener as desired – or you can skip the coconut butter and simply frost with a basic powdered sugar glaze or your favorite vanilla frosting, or even the cream cheese frosting recipe I used on my pumpkin cupcakes.
    View Nutrition Facts

Notes

Don’t omit the lemon zest, because it gives a ton of lemon flavor. If using coconut flour, only use a few tbsp (until you get a cake-batter consistency), because coconut flour is so absorbent so you won’t need the full 1/3 cup.
Recipe adapted from this Chickpea Cookie Dough Dip.
 

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Published on March 3, 2021

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13 Comments

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  1. Elsa S. says

    This is so creative! Like lemon blondies. But can you substitute a granulated sweetener for the maple syrup? We avoid all added sugars and unfortunately maple syrup is a no-no. We have Swerve, Truvia and stevia packets. Could you just add more milk? Thanks

  2. Christina says

    Those look delicious — I love lemon desserts! How much sweetener would you suggest adding to the coconut butter for topping?

  3. Jen says

    Hi Katie,
    Thank you for this recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I came across your recipes recently while going down a rabbit hole of bean-based blender muffins (more on that in a minute). I’m totally hooked and LOVING your recipes!!! I’m not GF, keto, vegan or on any other special diet / limitation. I am a life-long dessert lover/ addict, so my love for your recipes really is a testament to the deliciousness!! I love that your recipes not only limit some of the excess “bad” stuff, but they manage to include (and sneak in?) nutrient rich foods. My 5 year old LOVES her chocolate AND I frequently have a hard time getting meat free proteins into her diet (she refuses eggs, peanut butter (how is she my child???) yogurt, beans etc), so enter my search for the bean-based baked goods I’ve heard about. Well, she loved garbanzo-based flourless chocolate muffins. I loved seeing her gobble them up and ask for more, knowing she was getting more than just sugar fat and flour. (Plus, I got an unexpected pleasure sneaking a substantial amount of garbanzo beans into her dessert!) Then I found you…. and black bean brownie dip (OMG!!!), and Avocado chocolate mousse (happy dance!!!) and all these other recipes I can’t wait to try out.
    I love that you keep it simple with minimal ingredients, things easy to stock in the cupboard, and you give multiple substitution ideas (if I have to make a special trip to the store or if it takes 15 minutes just to gather all 25 necessary ingredients from the cupboards, I can guarantee I’ll get interrupted and never get to make / taste your creation no matter how delicious it looks). You are also a great teacher, by describing why you choose an ingredient and what I can use to substitute, I feel like I’m learning how to alter other recipes on my own.

    I hadn’t seen this recipe and today I wanted to make garbanzo-based lemon blueberry muffins. Well I felt confident enough to try on my own using some of the things I’ve learned here. They came out more like a bar. They weren’t perfect, but I thought they were good, my husband really liked them, my daughter couldn’t decide if she liked them or not, but kept trying more bites and her bestie thought they were delicious! She gobbled up at least 3! I can’t wait to try yours. I think I’ll split the flour half and half coconut and almond so our gluten free friends can enjoy. I’m not sure what to use for the coconut butter as I couldn’t find it at the store. Maybe coconut oil? Regular butter?

    Thanks for giving me healthier ways to indulge and good options to nourish my budding chocoholic. Keep up the great work! Thank you!

    • Anya says

      I am also wondering what potential substitutes exist for the coconut butter. Glad to see I’m not the only one asking this question.

      • CCK Media Team says

        Any full fat butter spread (such as Melt Organic or Earth Balance) will also work. We haven’t tried almond butter or sunbutter so don’t know about the taste, but texture-wise those would be fine as well.

    • Heather Valenti says

      Coconut butter is similar to coconut manna. Thrive market and Amazon have it. Could also try a mild tasting nut butter like cashew butter or sunflower butter. Almond and peanut don’t sound good IMO with this but would give the consistency she is going for.

  4. Valarie says

    Hi Katie: I made your Healthy Lemon Bars and they are wonderful. I cooked white beans in the Instapot, then made your Bars in my Vitamix – put all the liquid ingredients in with the white beans and blended them until they were completely smooth, then added the flour, baking powder and baking soda and blended some more. Then put them in a graham cracker crust and baked. I love getting my protien in a desert!!

  5. Molly says

    My coworker brought me lemons from their lemon tree so this recipe came at the perfect time. I used canned cannelini beans and earth balance vegan butter sticks. I added a little more fresh lemon juice and topped them with a powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze. They came out very good! Wonderful texture and very lemony. No bean flavor at all. I will definitely make them again. Thanks for all of your amazing bean dessert recipes!

  6. Sharlee Doxey says

    Made these today for the second time. Like the first they came up in the oven, then fell when pulled out, like the middle scooped out. I thought to use more baking powder and soda, or add an egg. What say you?

  7. Nora Brown says

    First of all, I want to say thank you for creating these amazing recipes! I am so grateful for the healthy desserts and eat at least one CCK treat every day, usually more!

    I made these yesterday for the first time. I used cashew butter and almond flour and didn’t top them with anything. The flavor was AMAZING!!! They were really underdone, though, even after baking them for 29 minutes in an 8×8. I am excited to try again with a longer baking time. Another recipe of yours I love is the sweet potato blondie bars (although I usually use pumpkin) which I bake for 35 minutes. I think I’ll try these for that amount of time.

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