Lemon squares have been one of my favorite treats for many years now. But, having developed a distaste for eggs I have a hard time with lemon squares these days. When I saw this vegan lemon squares recipe that claimed to be easy was I intrigued. And, I can now say that the results are everything I had hoped for: tart and rich lemony filling in a shortbread-like crust with no taste of egg. Plus, any vegans in your life will appreciate this recipe as much as people who cannot have eggs due to allergies or for other reasons.
To make these delightful bars first combine margarine, sugar, vanilla, and salt for the crust and then fold in flour. Press into a lined 9″x9″ pan and bake for 17-19 minutes.
While the crust is cooling mix together sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add the almond milk, lemon juice, and turmeric and whisk until combined. If your mixture curdles don’t worry as the plant milk will fully re-incorporate once it’s been heated through. Cook for 5 more minutes, whisking often. If you don’t want to add turmeric for coloring you can add food coloring since there are no egg yolks to give these bars their usual sunny yellow color. Be aware that not all food coloring is vegan.
Oh, and make sure you use freshly-squeezed lemon juice for this recipe since it adds so much more flavor than the bottled stuff does. I always save the rinds as zest for baking or in strips for cleaning the garbage disposal so I don’t feel like the effort of juicing lemons is ever wasted time.
Once the filling is nice and thick pour it on top of the cooled shortbread crust. Allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes and then finish the cooling in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The time in the fridge is really important so that the filling sets up nice and firm.
Once the filling has properly chilled sprinkle with a generous dusting of powdered sugar and cut into squares.
These bars have a buttery flavor thanks to the crust and a gooey lemon topping that rivals the tastiest lemon bar recipes I’ve grown up with. This is a great recipe for anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to have eggs or dairy and it’s so easy to make. The hardest part by far is waiting to dig into these lemon squares while they’re chilling!
Easy Vegan Lemon Squares
Makes 9 squares
3h prep time
25m cook time
For the crust:
- 1/2 margarine, melted
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
For the topping:
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 2-3 lemons)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 325˚F. Combine margarine, sugar, vanilla, and salt for the crust. Fold in flour.
- Line a 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper leaving overhang at the sides for easy removal. Turn out the dough into the pan and pack it down, making sure it is an even thickness all over. Bake for 17-19 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add the almond milk, lemon juice, and turmeric and whisk until combined. Do not worry if almond milk begins to curdle. Heat pan over medium-high heat until simmering, whisking often. Cook in this manner for 5 minutes. At this point filling should be bright yellow and thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour lemon filling onto cooled shortbread and spread to an even thickness. Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature and then cool for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before cutting into 9 squares.
Recipe adapted from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.