These Vegan Lemon Bars with Graham Granola Crust will be your new favorite way to enjoy lemon bars! The vegan lemon curd filling is creamy and sits on an irresistible gluten-free graham-cracker style crust made with granola!
Here I am today with another way to use my delicious Easy Vegan Lemon Curd! And not that there’s anything wrong with the traditional shortbread crust that’s typically used in lemon bar recipes, but I would be so bold to say that I think you’re going to taste these lemon bars with a graham-cracker style granola crust and it’ll forever change your lemon bar world!
Now when I say graham-style granola crust, I’m not even using any graham crackers in this recipe, so you don’t have to worry about going on a hunt for gluten-free, vegan graham crackers. I modified the cookie crust recipe from my Vegan S’mores Cookie Cups ever so slightly to make the perfect base layer in these vegan lemon bars, and also to keep the sugar content in this dessert recipe on the lower side. Plus by using granola, particularly the Purely Elizabeth Original Granola I use in this recipe, you get some really great added nutrients. Her granola is pretty easy to find in stores these days, but you can always order it online too. If you can’t find it, I would imagine using your favorite neutral-flavored granola would work- just keep an eye on the sugar content if you’re being mindful of your sugar intake.
*not sponsored, just sharing the love!
The crust tastes just like graham crackers, and paired with the creamy lemon filling this dessert is a 10/10!
A few tips for making these lemon bars:
Use fresh juice. Store-bought bottles are convenient, but you will definitely taste the difference! Luckily you will only need about 3 lemons for this recipe so it’s totally do-able to use a hand-held lemon juicer (or even just your hands!). Just make sure you get 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice and you’re good to go!
Use a glass baking dish. I learned this nifty trick from Sally’s Baking Addiction! To test it out, I made one batch in my metal baking pan and a second batch in my glass baking dish and it totally made a difference! Both in taste and how it baked up. If you don’t have a square baking dish, no worries, the metal one works just fine 😉
To bake or not to bake! I made these Vegan Lemon Bars twice (my family sure was happy! hehe)- the first batch I baked like you would traditional lemon bars, and the second batch I chose to just chill overnight and skipped the lemon filling baking part. Since this recipe is vegan and there aren’t any eggs used in this recipe, it could totally work, in theory. BUT, what I found was that the no-bake filling didn’t set up enough to be able to slice it into squares. SOOO, baking these lemon bars is the way to go. And then you’ll still have to chill them overnight like you would traditional lemon bars.
Crinkly wrinkly top. This might happen when you bake the lemon bars, and it’s quite alright. A nice dusting of powdered sugar will cover that right up and they still taste fantastic! That’s probably why it’s so common to dust lemon bars with powdered sugar to begin with! 😉 Sneaky cover-up, haha. The powdered sugar is optional, of course.
This recipe was so fun to make, take a peek at my Instagram Reel below!
I would love to hear what you think below in the comments section. If you’re a fan of this new-style lemon bar recipe and love it as much as I do, please give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating so that others can discover this healthy, vegan, naturally sweetened lemon bar alternative! Tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest!
Graham Granola Crust
- 2 cups granola (I used Purely Elizabeth Original Granola)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 1/4 cup plant butter
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (may sub with another nut/seed butter)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
- 1/2 cup plant milk (I used flax milk)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 can coconut cream (solid part only)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional for color)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In your food processor, grind the granola until you achieve a fine texture, then add in the cinnamon, salt, and cassava flour and pulse to combine. Add the butter, sunflower seed butter, maple syrup and vanilla and pulse until you have a cookie dough-like consistency.
- Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and gently press the dough evenly into the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then allow it to cool. Keep the oven on.
- While the crust is baking and cooling, make the lemon filling. In a small bowl, combine the tapioca starch/flour and water until the tapioca is fully dissolved. This will be the thickening agent.
- Heat a small pot over medium heat and add the lemon juice, plant milk, maple syrup, and tapioca mixture. Whisk to combine. Now whisk in the coconut cream, the lemon zest, melted coconut oil and turmeric (if using). Whisking frequently until the curd thickens, about 5 minutes. You may need to whisk vigorously as it thickens to ensure a smooth curd. Pour the curd over the crust and gently tap the baking pan to ensure it's smooth.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, allow it to cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, slice into bars/squares, dust with powdered sugar if desired and enjoy! Keep leftover slices stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
* I used Purely Elizabeth Original Granola in this recipe