These deliciously nutty Lemon Raspberry Bars are creamy, tangy, and jam-packed with antioxidants. The perfect healthy dessert that contains no refined sugar, but tonnes of favour and goodness! Vegan and gluten free.
With minimal cooking (about a minute) and no baking required, these yummy Lemon and Raspberry Bars can be ready in a dash! #Recipe #Vegan #GlutenFree Click To Tweet
Just to warn you, you won’t stop at one bar because they’re pretty addictive! I wanted to post this recipe for months, but every time I make them, they’re gobbled up by my little monkeys (okay, me too), before I get a chance to photograph them. This was attempt #4 (am not complaining).
Perhaps it was meant to be because this recipe is the perfect fit for Heart Month and Valentines Day. With minimal cooking (about a minute) and no baking required, these yummy bars can be ready in a dash and a beautiful way to impress the one you love and look after your hearts too. The tartness of the creamy filling is nicely balanced with the nutty-date crust to offer a great alternative to refined sugar-laden desserts.
Show your heart some love…
One way nuts may help your heart health is by lowering the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels. LDL plays a big role in the development of plaque that collects in the blood vessels – causing heart attacks. Eating more nuts has also been associated with reducing the level of inflammation in our body and this too is linked to heart disease risk. You’ll be spoilt by this recipe, because I’ve used 3 of my favourite nuts: cashews, almonds and hazelnuts. I can hear what you’re thinking – what about all those calories?! It’s important to limit your portion size (isn’t that the case with nearly everything?) and I always say that choosing nuts instead of a less healthy snack could help us all stick to a heart-healthy diet. You’re certainly getting more more bang for your buck! Also, if you peek at the nutritional analysis, one bar is around 260 calories – the equivalent to 2 bags of chips, a portion of fries or a regular piece of cake.
Going nuts over nuts!
Don’t you find that nuts are so simple to incorporate into your diet? I mean, they’re easy to store and pack as a snack and are full of goodness. They’re also an excellent source of nutrition. And here’s why:
Nuts contain healthy unsaturated fats and omega 3s (commonly found in salmon, mackerel, sardines and other oily fish) which have shown to help lower LDL cholesterol levels and help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol levels. Think of HDL as a friendly scavenger that cruises through your blood stream and helps to clear LDL cholesterol away from the arteries. And did you know that nuts also contain fibre? We know that fibre helps to keep us fuller for longer and is thought to not only help protect your heart (by lowering cholesterol levels) but may also play a role in preventing diabetes. Nuts are also a source of vitamin E, which helps to prevent plaque formation and some types of nuts contain plant sterols – rich sources being: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans. Plant sterols work work by preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol, which in turn helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Nuts contain L-arginine – a building block for proteins and it’s been shown that l-arginine may help your heart by making your arteries less vulnerable to clots – that block blood flow and cause a heart attack.
How to make Creamy Lemon Raspberry Bars
I start with preparing the nutty-date base first and place it in the freezer to set, whilst I prep the filling and topping. The filling consists of soaked cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice + zest, maple syrup, and a pinch of sea salt. That’s all!
The topping is even more simple; I blend fresh raspberries and bring the mixture to simmer with the agar agar (to thicken) for a minute on medium/high heat. The heat helps to not only activate the agar but brings sweetness to the raspberries.
You will love these bars because they’re:
- With no refined sugar
- Easy to make
- Good for your heart (and perfect for your Valentine)
- & Luscious
These beautiful Lemon Raspberry Bars are the perfect choice as a healthy snack to have at home, to take to parties and of course to mark special days like Valentine’s Day.
Creamy Lemon Raspberry Bars | Vegan, Gluten Free
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup hazlenuts
- 2/3 cup dried dates pitted
- 1/8 tsp salt (a pinch)
- 1 cup cashews soaked overnight
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 tsp lemon
- 1 tsp agar agar
Crust (make first)
- Add crust ingredients to a processor and pulse a few times to break up the big chunks.
- Add the pinch of salt and process for 2-3 minutes, or until finely chopped.
- Press mixture into the bottom of a 7x7 pan. I recommend lining with parchment paper. It makes getting the bars out so much easier.
- Place in the freezer whilst you prepare the filling. Clean the processor to use for the filling.
- Rinse and drain the water from the soaked cashews.
- Add cashews to food processor, along with lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, and lemon zest. Blend until creamy.
- Pour filling onto the crust and spread across the pan evenly.
- Blend the raspberries and add them to a pan on medium-high heat, with the lemon juice. Add the agar, stir and bring to quick simmer for 1 minute. Pour the raspberry topping over the cashew filling. Cool for 15 minutes and place into the freezer for 2 hours, or until mixture has firmed. If you used parchment paper, use a knife to separate the bars from the edge of the pan. Pick up the bars using both sides of the parchment paper.
- Cut into bars and serve. Best served cold.
- It's important to soak the cashews so they create a creamy consistency when blitzed
- I used fresh raspberries but frozen and defrosted raspberries will also work
- Make sure to line your pan with baking parchment so they are easy to remove
- You can freeze these bars for around 6 months or store in the fridge for up to 1 week