No-bake Paleo Lemon Bars (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free)

Paleo lemon bars with a super creamy, cashew-based vegan and no-bake topping! Full of lemon flavor and maple-sweetened.

I’m back! The past three weeks have been really tough and baking was the last thing on my mind. I hope to make up for my lack of posting with these seriously delicious bars. :)

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These pictures and the video don’t do the bars justice. At all. They’re really so much better than they look!

I tried to make them a pretty, bright yellow color like regular lemon bars so I added some turmeric but I could definitely taste it. It wasn’t strong but I didn’t want anything messing with the lemon taste. I doubt anyone will care about the drab color once they’ve had their first bite!

First of all – if you haven’t tried my paleo key lime pie, you need to do that! The filling really tastes just like regular key lime pie filling.

This recipe is based off that one. One difference is that I needed a little more sweetener, which I find really odd. Is lemon more sour than lime? I also 1.5x the recipe so that the bars would be super thick.

No-bake Vegan and Paleo Lemon Bars with a super creamy, cashew-based vegan and no-bake topping! Full of lemon flavor and maple-sweetened.

The size of the bar in the picture is ridiculous. To be honest, it’s probably 50% larger than it should be. The plate I wanted to use was huge so I had to cut a giant piece so that the bars wouldn’t look dinky.

This “only” makes an 8″x8″ pan but you can cut the bars pretty small. They’d be great for Easter! These carrot cake paleo magic cookie bars from Food Faith Fitness would also be a great option for Easter dessert!

Lemon bars can sometimes be sickeningly sweet. I love lemon curd but regular lemon bars are just too much for me. These lemon bars are definitely different!

Imagine key lime pie – but with lemon. There’s no maple or cashew taste. Just lemon. That said, if you hate cashews, don’t make these.

Also be sure to use light maple syrup! While my bars didn’t taste maple-y, I’m guessing yours will if you use a darker grade maple syrup.

I first made these paleo lemon bars with raw unsalted cashews. If you want to make raw lemon bars, go ahead and use raw cashews and untoasted coconut.

No-bake Vegan Paleo Lemon Bars with a super creamy, cashew-based vegan and no-bake topping! Full of lemon flavor and maple-sweetened.

If you don’t care about them being raw, definitely go with roasted cashews and coconut! It adds so much flavor.

The other thing to remember is salt. Don’t be skimpy with the salt, especially in the filling. If your filling tastes flat or boring, you’re missing salt. My cashews were super salty and I know every brand is different, so I can’t give you an exact amount of salt.

I also tested these paleo lemon bars with partly bottled lemon juice and not using the full amount of zest and I don’t recommend futzing around with that.

They last for several hours at room temp. It’s 70 degrees F in my apartment and I’ve had them out all day. They’re best when still at least a little chilled, though.

They freeze great! They take about 2 hours to defrost at room temperature (in the winter). You can also let them defrost overnight in the fridge.

No-bake Paleo Lemon Bars with a super creamy, cashew-based vegan and no-bake topping! Full of lemon flavor and maple-sweetened.

If you’ve ever tried no-bake vegan or paleo crusts, you’re probably familiar with how wet or even soggy they can be.

Not this one! It’s not crisp like a baked wheat-based crust but it’s definitely not soggy. At least it’s not as long as you don’t over-process the crust mixture in the blender.

If you prefer a whole wheat crust, use the coconut sugar cookie crust I used in my gluten-free key lime pie bars. It’d go great with this filling!

These blueberry lemon oatmeal bars also look fantastic and I’m pretty sure they could be made with white whole wheat in place of the AP flour. These blackberry lemon cheesecake bars also look dreamy. Just use gluten-free or whole wheat graham crackers in place of the regular ones.

Whether or not the filling for these bars works in a food processor, I don’t know. One of the commenters in the key lime pie recipe did it with success but I just can’t imagine them coming out 100% creamy with no chunks of cashews. I’d love for someone to prove me wrong, though. :)

No-bake Paleo Lemon Bars (vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

♥♥♥♥♥
Rated 5.0 by 3 readers
No-bake Paleo Lemon Bars (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 16-20 bars

Ingredients

    For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup (65 grams) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups (218 grams) roasted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups (218 grams) roasted cashews, soaked for 1 hour1 (there's no sub for the cashews)
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (252 grams) unrefined coconut oil, very soft or melted (do not use cold coconut oil!)
  • 6 tablespoons (90 grams) coconut cream (the top, solid part from a can of full-fat coconut milk that's been refrigerated overnight)
  • 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup (158 milliliters) maple syrup (don't use a darker grade)
  • 3 tablespoons (12 grams) lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt, or more to taste

Directions

  1. Line an 8"x8" pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the crust. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the coconut. Stir frequently until nicely toasted. Do not walk away from the pan as the coconut starts to burn very quickly! Pour the coconut into a small bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes. You can skip the toasting step but I think it adds so much flavor to the crust!
  3. Place all the crust ingredients in a high-powered blender and process at low speed until the mixture starts to clump together. Don't process so long that it becomes pasty. When you pinch some of the mixture between your fingers, it should easily clump together. If it doesn't, add a tiny bit of water and process again until it does.
  4. Press onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Make sure there aren't any holes and really press down to compact it.
  5. Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling. The fridge will also do if you don't have space in the freezer. It should be firm before putting the filling in.
  6. Wipe out the blender jar using a paper towel and place all the filling ingredients in there. Blend for about 30-60 seconds at high speed until totally smooth.
  7. Pour the filling over each crust.
  8. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until firm. If you're in a hurry, place the pan in the freezer.
  9. Refrigerate bars an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you freeze them for a while, they'll need about 70-80 minutes at room temperature to defrost or about 1 1/2 - 2 hours in the refrigerator. Once properly defrosted, they should be totally creamy.

Notes

  1. Place the cashews in a small pot, pan or mug and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain the water.
  • While I'm sure the crust can be made in a food processor, I'm not sure about the filling. It definitely wouldn't be as smooth (using a high-power blender, it's totally smooth) and it may not work at all. If you try it anyway, let us know how it goes!

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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40 comments on “No-bake Paleo Lemon Bars (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free)” — Add one!

  • Lisa Hodge says
    May 17, 2017 @ 3:05 am

    These are sooooo good! For some reason, my Vitamix couldn’t handle the crust ingredients, so I used the food processor. Definitely will be making these again. Even my hubs who doesn’t like Paleo LOVED these! Will be trying some of your other desserts too! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lisa Hodge
      May 18, 2017 @ 9:16 am

      Aww, yay! Always a good thing when picky husbands approve. :) So happy that you both enjoyed the bars! Thanks a bunch for your comment.

      Reply
  • Carie says
    April 11, 2017 @ 7:45 pm

    Can cashew butter be used?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Carie
      April 11, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

      I haven’t tried it but I’m guessing it’d work if you use the same amount (by weight) for the filling. It wouldn’t work for the crust.

      Reply
  • Cyndi says
    April 10, 2017 @ 6:22 pm

    ERIN!!!! I have made a healthy lemon bar recipe in the past & shared them with my co-workers, who typically love everything I make. One of my co-workers has mentioned that her favorite of all the treats I’ve shared was the lemon bars but I haven’t made them again because they were gf but not Paleo & I stopped eating grains about 6 months ago. When I saw this recipe in my in-box, I was super-excited because I drew that co-worker’s name for her birthday & knew exactly what she’d like to have as a treat. Just as I suspected, she (and everyone else who tried them) absolutely LOVED them!! You – and your amazing recipes – are the BEST!! :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Cyndi
      April 11, 2017 @ 8:38 am

      Aww, yay! That’s awesome. So fun that you drew her name and got to bake these for her! I’m happy that she, you and everyone else enjoyed the bars. Your comment made my day. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment! :)

      Reply
  • Rebecca says
    April 1, 2017 @ 5:04 am

    I used a food processor. It took a while to cream the nuts, but it worked fine. I just left it on while I went about other business in the kitchen until the texture looked good.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Rebecca
      April 1, 2017 @ 8:20 pm

      That’s awesome! I’m very happy that these are able to be made in a food processor. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment!

      Reply
      • Dana replies to Erin
        April 2, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

        I have raw cashews on hand. How do I roast them?

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Dana
          April 3, 2017 @ 10:29 am

          Here’s some info on how to roast cashews. :)

  • Hilary says
    March 31, 2017 @ 1:25 am

    Can you use raw cashews?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Hilary
      March 31, 2017 @ 8:06 am

      Check out the two paragraphs above and below the second picture. :)

      Reply
    • Rebecca replies to Hilary
      April 1, 2017 @ 5:06 am

      I used raw cashews. I like it fine

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Rebecca
        April 1, 2017 @ 8:20 pm

        Thanks for letting us know!

        Reply
  • Angie | Big Bear's Wife says
    March 29, 2017 @ 3:35 pm

    I don’t think the color is drab at all! I love it! Plus they came out perfectly!

    Reply
  • Kelly Barcroft
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    March 26, 2017 @ 3:46 am

    My son is a huge lemon fanatic and his birthday is right around the corner but unfortunately is allergic to nuts, so I can’t make this for him. Looks and sounds delicious though. Glad to see you back.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kelly Barcroft
      March 29, 2017 @ 9:01 pm

      I’m sorry for all the nut-filled recipes! I know I post a ton of those these days. I hope your son will have a lovely birthday. :) Thanks for stopping by to say hi!

      Reply
      • Kelly Barcroft
        ♥♥♥♥♥
        replies to Erin
        March 30, 2017 @ 1:23 am

        Do not apologize for all of the nut filled recipes. I love them. I just have a son who is allergic to all nuts or is advised to stay away from all nuts after testing positive for almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts. I am big on anything chocolate and peanut butter and that is what I gravitate towards and unfortunately most of my homemade goodies have nuts in them because they are typically healthier than anything else. I am sometimes at a loss as to what to make for my nut allergy son that is on the healthy side of sweet treats. I still want to try your lemon fudge recipe that uses coconut butter…I do believe. He might like those!

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Kelly Barcroft
          April 1, 2017 @ 8:30 pm

          My lemon fudge is also cashew-based. :/ But I understand how hard it is to bake healthy without nuts. Since October, I’ve only eaten fruit, vegetables, meat, honey and coconut products (I prepared tons of recipes in advance so I’d have something to post). Turns out that I’m allergic / intolerant to a ton (or even most) of what I’ve been eating my entire life, except fruit, veggies and meat. Hopefully I can come up with some nut-free goodies soon!

        • Barbara replies to Kelly Barcroft
          April 15, 2017 @ 1:41 pm

          Can he do seeds? There are a lot of great recipes using both sunflower butter and tahini.

  • Daniela says
    March 25, 2017 @ 5:53 pm

    Hi!I made these yesterday in a food processor they came out smooth and delicious 😉 Thanks for the the recipe!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Daniela
      March 25, 2017 @ 10:10 pm

      Awesome! That’s great news. :) Thanks a bunch for your feedback! I’m so happy you liked them.

      Reply
  • Brandy | Nutmeg Nanny says
    March 22, 2017 @ 3:31 pm

    I’m obsessed! I’ve been looking for a healthy lemon bar that wasn’t loaded with chemicals!

    Reply
  • Kristen Chidsey says
    March 22, 2017 @ 2:05 am

    It is my son’s birthday next week and he is a lemon fanatic!! Can’t wait to try!

    Reply
  • celia says
    March 21, 2017 @ 5:37 pm

    what is the nutritional information carbs sugar protein etc

    Reply
    • Erin replies to celia
      March 22, 2017 @ 10:05 am

      I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)

      Reply
  • Cathy@LemonTreeDwelling says
    March 21, 2017 @ 3:11 pm

    The texture of these looks absolutely perfect! What a yummy treat!

    Reply
  • Dee says
    March 21, 2017 @ 6:08 am

    I’m a total sucker for anything lemon, and these sound so good!

    Reply
  • Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious says
    March 21, 2017 @ 2:05 am

    Perfect spring time treat! Love the lemon!

    Reply
  • Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie says
    March 21, 2017 @ 1:45 am

    These lemon bars look so creamy and perfect for spring!

    Reply
  • Jen says
    March 20, 2017 @ 11:48 pm

    These look so pretty and loved watching your video! Takes the intimidation out of trying new things.

    Reply
  • Kelly - A Side of Sweet
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    says
    March 20, 2017 @ 11:38 pm

    Yum! The addition of cashews to this is such an amazing idea!

    Reply
  • Carla says
    March 20, 2017 @ 3:56 pm

    p.s. what do you think about using agave for some/all for the maple syrup in the filling? It’s lighter and sweeter, I think, so I’m going to try it and will let you know.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Carla
      March 20, 2017 @ 9:27 pm

      I’ve only used agave a few times years ago and so I really have no idea. You can always add more sweetener once everything is mixed together, so maybe start off with 1/2 cup?

      Reply
  • Carla says
    March 20, 2017 @ 3:54 pm

    You definitely made up for it! These look so good and springy and it’s trying so hard in our part of Germany to be spring so these are on for the weekend. AND love that you can freeze them. Hope you’re feeling your old self again.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Carla
      March 20, 2017 @ 9:26 pm

      Aww, thanks! I thought I’d better come back with a recipe that everyone could enjoy. :) I’m feeling a little better but it needs to be spring already! No more of this sunshine for an hour, then rain, then 10 minutes of sunshine stuff. It plays with my emotions. ;) I’d love to hear how the lemon bars come out. I hope you’ll love them as much as we did!

      Reply
  • Lora Gardner says
    March 20, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

    These lemon bars look sooooooo delish! Can u give me the break down of the nutritional value? I understand they are paleo but I am a diabetic and can’t eat syrup but I can use stevia. Thank you

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lora Gardner
      March 20, 2017 @ 9:24 pm

      Thank you! :) I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. I unfortunately have no idea if these can be made with stevia as I’ve never used it. Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • Karen @ The Food Charlatan says
    March 20, 2017 @ 7:22 am

    I think they are beautiful, even though they’re not as yellow! They look creamy and delicious. I will come over and eat your “too big” lemon bar btw. IMPOSSIBLE. oh and ps, I’m with you, absolutely no futzing around with bottled lemon juice. Just don’t. :) Thanks for the link love!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Karen @ The Food Charlatan
      March 20, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

      Thanks so much, Karen! :) And come on over! We’ll have a huge-pieces-of-lemon-bars eating party. :D

      Reply

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