Raw Lemon Bars

I used to love classic lemon bars.  You know, the ones with the super tart lemon curd filling, shortbread crust, and dusting of powdered sugar on top?  I remember making some when I was in high school with my Mom and I thought they were one of the most delicious things ever.  None of that fake store bought lemon juice stuff, the real lemon juice, my Mom always insisted.  She made pretty good key lime pies too. I inherited my love of all things tart from her.  Not too much sugar in her citrus desserts, but plenty of juice and flavor.

I was dreaming about those lemon bars the other day at work, because one of my coworkers was making lemon cookies, and they smelled amazing.  I decided that I needed to make a revamped version of lemon bars, free of dairy, refined sugar and eggs.  I ended up making a pretty easy to make and simple recipe which I know you can all appreciate.

The bars were made creamy from the coconut butter I used in the filling, and I added plenty of tart lemon and zest for a flavor explosion in your mouth!  I kept the crust simple, just one of my classic raw cheesecake crusts so the lemon filling could shine.  Lastly I topped off the bars with a dusting of coconut "powdered sugar" because how could I not?  I was looking to recreate the classic after all. They were amazing!  Tart and sweet, and perfectly balanced. I shared some with my Mom and she loved them as well, stating right away that they had the perfect amount of lemon.  Which made me happy.

Raw Lemon Bars 
Makes 12

1 cups finely shredded dried coconut
1 cup sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional shredded coconut)
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed

1 1/2 cups raw coconut butter (NOT oil) warmed to liquid
3/4 cup filtered water
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp organic lemon zest
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt

coconut powdered sugar* (optional)

For the crust, combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until small crumbs and starting to hold together.
Press into an 8x8 inch (or 9x9 inch if you want the bars thinner) pan lined with foil or parchment and oiled with coconut oil (for easy removal).  Set aside in the freezer.
For the filling, whisk together all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Spread out over the prepared crust, and dust with coconut powdered sugar (I like to put it in a fine meshed strainer and tap it over the top of the bars).
Place in the freezer to set, about 30 minutes.  Cut into bars and serve!
Store any extra bars in the refrigerator.

*Buzz 1/4 cup finely shredded dried coconut in a high speed blender for about 15 seconds until it is powder.

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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

  1. Anonymous
    March 4, 2015 at 17:28

    These look delicious! I Love your blog very much :)

  2. Kerry Hancock
    May 10, 2015 at 08:34

    I've never seen coconut butter here in Australia, is there something I could substitute?? This recipe looks oh so good but I'm not sure what else I could use. Many thanks.

    • May 10, 2015 at 12:34

      You can make your own! To do so, in a high speed blender, add 3 cups finely shredded dried coconut and blend at high speed using the tamper to press it into the blades until it is smooth and creamy. This will take about 1 minute. Pour into a jar and enjoy! You can store at room temperature, and it will become solid but it will need to be warmed for use in recipes. I simply place mine in the dehydrator in a glass measuring cup (or in the glass jar I am storing it in if it fits) until it is melted.

      • Gabriella
        March 27, 2017 at 19:50

        Hi! Just a question about this butter since I read that it takes 18-19 minutes to make it ina food processor. Whisch one is correct? Thanks in advance!

        • March 27, 2017 at 22:28

          I am not sure what butter you are talking about. If you are talking about the coconut butter, I am not exactly sure how long it takes in a food processor because I have always made it in a high speed blender, and that takes about 2 minutes.

  3. Sally
    April 3, 2016 at 18:47

    Hi Amy. These look totally yummy!!! I'm just checking that there are no other ingredients in the filling? Water and oil and zest don't look like it would create the density shown in the photos. No coconut or cashews!?! Thanks indeed!

    • April 3, 2016 at 19:03

      If you read the ingredients, there is coconut butter and lemon juice as well as a few other things. Other people have made these and they turned out just as good as mine :).

      • Sally
        April 3, 2016 at 20:38

        Perfect! Just checking - thanks Amy!

  4. Barbara
    March 19, 2018 at 18:12

    I'm fascinated by your recipes, but all the ones I'd like to try have coconut products, and my husband is dangerously allergic to coconut. Are there any substitutions?

    • March 19, 2018 at 20:48

      It depends on the recipe, some can be substituted, and some can not. For this one, you could just swap more additional buckwheat groats for the coconut in the crust, and cacao butter melted for the coconut butter in the filling and just skip the "powdered sugar coconut" topping.

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