I was asked to make these for one of my neighbors who owns the local Magick shop here in town. She’s Vegan and getting tired of vegan chocolate cake. So when she asked if I could make Tart Vegan Lemon Bars. I googled the recipe quickly and was like “Hell Yeah I can make Tart Vegan Lemon Squares!” The first attempt turned out like a soggy sad mess. The second attempt was a weird sticky mess of sadness and coconut milk. The third attempt took what I learned the first two times, and said “Enough is Enough” and came out pretty decent. (Pictured above with Willow, Shop Cat of Mandy’s Magick in Morrisville PA).
When I make Vegan Recipes, I like to make them using as normal ingredients as possible. I am not going to tell you to make cashew milk as a first step. That’s overkill and kind of obnoxious. I do use vegan butters at a time because I can find them next to regular butter in the supermarket. But sometimes the only vegan butter I can find is the one that gives me headaches and I decide to go a roundabout way to make a recipe. In normal baking, you can replace butter with vegetable or coconut oil. I also replace eggs for applesauce (or apple butter if I NEED a good flavor punch).
The first two attempts of this recipe used lemon juice with an unholy amount of corn starch to make the lemon curd. The first one never set, and the second one turned out more like taffy. Neither of these attempts yielded anything I would be happy to serve anyone.
Making Tart Vegan Lemon Bars
Using oil instead of vegan butter will make the crust or short bread less crumbly and give it an oily look. That is fine. I opted for Vegetable oil because it’s what I had in my house. I use equal parts oil to butter. So If you had vegan butter in your house, you can use the same amount. You’re going to want to mix the oil, sugar and salt together. Unlike creaming sugar and butter, oil never gets smooth with the sugar. So I mix them together, till the sugar is all coated and move on to adding the flour.
I started this with 1 cup of flour but felt it looked too oily and added a scant 1/2 cup more and it brought the crust to looks like brownie batter. Exactly where I wanted it to be. Press this down into a lined 8×8 brownie dish and set aside. I lined it with tin foil because I ran out of parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, you’re going to throw everything in the lemon curd together and blend it until it is so smooth it can be mistaken for mayo. This takes a few minutes. In my food processor, which is not top of the line or the most expensive, it took about 5 minutes of blending.
Turmeric is in this recipe to help give the tofu that lemon square color. I only used a hint of it, but you could use up to 1 heaping teaspoon before you start to taste the turmeric. I only wanted a hint of a color because I was aiming towards a lemon curd color which can go from a pale yellow to a bright yellow depending on the eggs you use.
Bake this for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 F. You’re looking for the lemon squares to be set, but not jiggly. A tooth pick should come out clean.
Cool the Tart Vegan Lemon Squares for 15-30 minutes at room temperature before placing in the fridge for 2 hours. Overnight is best. Before you serve them, dust the tops with a generous amount of powder sugar.
To make these gluten-free, simply switch the flour in the shortbread to your favorite Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour. I use Bobs Red Mill and it works perfect!
And In Other News….
Since just before starting this blog in April, I have been unemployed. I was lucky enough to be in a place where I was not worrying about bills, housing, or food. I was able to enjoy being in the kitchen, canning, and creating delicious food for my family, friends, and neighbors. Last week I started a new work from home job. They sent me all my equipment and I rearranged the guest room to now have a little desk by the window. There is still some work to do but I’m excited to be working again. I’m not sure what this means for my posting schedule, but I am still aiming to give you great recipes and desserts that are perfect comfort. But they might have a little delay between posts.
Tart Vegan Lemon Squares
- Food Processor
Short Bread Crust
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil Sub: Coconut Oil or Vegan Butter
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1.5 cup Flour
Tofu Lemon Curd
- 1 package extra firm tofu drained and patted dry but not squeezed dry
- 1/2 cup Lemon Juice 2 or 3 Meyer Lemons
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 TBS Corn Startch
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Paste
- 1 tsp Lemon Extract
- 1/2 tsp turmeric optional for color
- Powder Sugar For dusting
Short Bread Crust
- Preheat Oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment
- Combine Sugar, Salt and Oil together and cream until combined. Add flour
- Press into lined baking sheet.
- To prepare the tofu, remove from package and place on towels to pat dry. You do not need to squeeze the moisture out of it, you just need to get it to not be slimy and wet.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine everything and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour over short bread crust and bake for 30-40 minutes. Curd should be set with very little jiggle. When you touch it, it should not stick to your finger.
- Cool on counter for 30 minutes before chilling in the fridge for 2 hours or over night.
- Before serving, remove from baking sheet and dust with powdered sugar.
For more recipes, make sure to check out my recipe index.
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