Vegan Lemon Bars (Soy Free!)

I love lemon bars.

You should love them too.

I added Meyer lemons to my CSA delivery this week – I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them, but I ended up making lemon bars yesterday.  My second option was to make a marmalade that a reader had posted in blog comments but I opted for the lemon bars because we had friends in town, and everybody should have the opportunity to indulge in lemon bars.

I used to have a lemon bar recipe that used tofu as the base, but I’ve made a conscious decision to eliminate soy from my life in as many areas as possible.  This does put a damper on a lot of vegan recipes – luckily, a dear friend reminded me of the lemon bar recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar which uses agar instead of tofu as the binder.  I’ve used agar in the past haven’t had any consistent luck with it.  This recipe called for agar flakes though – it took longer to dissolve, but it set much better than agar powder, in my opinion.

I took a few liberties with the recipe: I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour in the crust; I made my own powdered sugar for the crust by pulsing granulated sugar in the food processor (I was out of powdered sugar and in keeping with the Make It Do spirit, I improvised).  The food processor worked perfectly fine to allow the sugar to blend into the crust, but it wasn’t fine enough to sprinkle on top.  Personally, I think the lemon bars looked fine without the sugar. I also opted for almond milk instead of soy milk.

Next time I make these lemon bars, I think I would cut back on the crust to make it thinner, or increase the quantity on the lemon mixture. Not that it will change the fact that I’m about to indulge in one right now.

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
  • 3 tbsp agar agar flakes
  • 1-1/3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (I used Meyer lemons)
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder (or tapioca starch)
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 cup soy milk (I used almond milk to make this recipe soy-free
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking pan.
  2. Pulse flour, powdered sugar and cornstarch in a food processor. Add in margarine a few spoonfuls at a time and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Press the mixture into the pan – refrigerate for about 30 minutes and then bake for 40 minutes. Allow the crust to cool.
  4. In a sauce pot, soak the agar agar in the water for 15 minutes.
  5. Zest your lemons and squeeze your lemon juice. Mix the arrowroot powder into the lemon juice to dissolve.
  6. After the agar agar has soaked, turn the heat up and bring to a boil for 10 minutes (or until the agar is completely dissolved). Add the sugar and turmeric, boil until dissolved (approx 3 minutes).
  7. Lower the heat to medium and add the arrowroot powder mixture, then add the lemon zest and soy milk. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). It should only be bubbling lightly at this point.
  8. Pour the mixture into the crust and allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
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7 comments

  1. ohmygoodness!!! these look DEEEEEEEELISH! you are amazing, as always:) i’m excited to make some of my own…meyer lemons are all over the place here right now…unusual;P

    • Earth Balance, in my opinion, is the most readily available and offers a variety of options (although there is some controversy over the use of palm oil, but you should do your own reading on that). I have seen some other products on the market, but I have had consistent results with Earth Balance, so that is what I use. Whole Foods carries it for sure in their dairy section, but I have also seen it at other mainstream markets. If you can’t find it, I’m sure regular margarine would work just fine in this recipe.

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