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Lemon Vanilla Cheesecake Bars {VG + GF}

This No-Bake Lemon Vanilla Cheesecake is a vegan and gluten-free dessert recipe flavored with pecans, agave nectar, and dates! | spiritedandthensome.com

These Lemon Vanilla Cheesecake Bars are a delicious vegan, gluten-free dessert recipe that’s perfect for sharing! Flavored with cashews, these bars are dairy-free. And thanks to pecans, the crust tastes like a cookie! { VG + GF + Paleo-friendly}

Ingredients

Scale

For the crust:

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 5 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (more as desired for a sweeter crust – 100% pure honey or maple syrup will also work)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling

  • 2 1/2 cups cashews, soaked for at least two hours or overnight
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (can increase to 3/4 cup for desired consistency)
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (or 100% pure honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (can increase this all the way to 1/4 cup for desired taste and consistency)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can increase this to 2 teaspoons for desired taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Soak cashews in room temperature water for two hours to as long as overnight. One they are done soaking, discard the water.
  2. Grease an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.
  3. In a high-speed blender, combine the coconut oil, agave nectar, chopped dates, and sea salt. On a medium speed, blend the ingredients until they form a smooth liquid. Then add the pecans in small batches until the ingredients are evenly blended. If the blades clog, you can add a little more coconut oil and agave nectar in equal amounts. I usually add about 1-2 tablespoons of EACH.
  4. As the dough begins to form, the unneeded coconut oil and agave nectar will separate as will oil from the pecans. That’s okay. Discard the liquid and press the dough into the greased baking dish. If more oil rises to the top or the edges, you can use a napkin or thin towel to absorb the excess liquid.
  5. Place the crust in the fridge to set.
  6. Clean out the blender container. Then add the coconut oil, agave nectar, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond milk and set the blender speed to MEDIUM. Gradually pour the soaked cashews into the blender and mix until smooth. I have found processes will vary depending on the blender or food processor used. With my Vitamix, I increase the speed to medium and add more almond milk, agave nectar, lemon juice, and vanilla if the cashews are still too thick or the blades clog. This is a fairly forgiving recipe, so while it is tricky sometimes to work with the blades, you’ll still end up with a creamy filling.
  7. Pour filling over the crust. For a softer cheesecake bar, store, covered, in the refrigerator and consume with about 3-4 days. For a frozen treat, place in the freezer, covered, and consume within one week.
  8. Cut into bars and top with fresh fruit, if desired, before serving.

Notes

  • The liquids listed are base amounts with possible increases included if the ingredients don’t blend well. Gradually increase as needed while preparing the cheesecake bars. Additionally, if you add too much liquid to the crust, you’ll notice it start to separate as the crust batter forms. This is OKAY. Drain out any excess liquid. Press the crust into the baking dish and, if needed, pat the crust with a napkin or paper towel.
  • Increased amounts of lemon juice and vanilla are included if you also need to increase the amount of almond milk used.