If you love a good lemon bar or lemon square, you won’t believe how easy they are to make at home. Today I’m sharing this delicious, easy vegan and gluten free recipe for lemon squares that uses agar agar to form that yummy lemony custard layer.
Agar agar is a ground up seaweed that acts exactly like gelatin but is totally vegan. You can find it easily these days right next to the gelatin in the baking supply section of the store, and just like its non-vegan counterpart, it gets activated when heated and sets when chilled, making it a perfect choice for these lemon squares, since most of the work happens in the fridge, totally unattended.
Although I don’t eat a gluten free diet, and gluten free baking is not an area I’ve explored as much as traditional baking, dessert recipes like these make it really easy, and that means great news for some of our students who have celiac disease, anyone can eat these babies!
Feel free to make this recipe your own by adjusting the amount of agar agar used in the recipe, noting that using more will give you a firmer custard layer, if you prefer them firmer.
Without further ado, enjoy the video, printable recipe and written recipe below!
OAT AND ALMOND LEMON SQUARES
Yield: 8 servings | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 20-25 minutes | Chilling time: 2 hours
For the crust:
- 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup ground almonds or almond flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or non-dairy butter), melted 2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt`
For the filling:
- The zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, divided
- 1 & 1/4 teaspoons agar agar powder (you can use more if you want the filling firmer, or less if you want it less firm)
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon evaporated cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon non-dairy butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
A dusting of confectioner's sugar for each square and some lemon zest strips if desired
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a small casserole or pyrex dish with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, pulse the oats, ground almonds, sugar and salt until fine, add the melted coconut oil or non-dairy butter and pulse again until everything is well incorporated.
3. Press the mixture into the parchment lined pan in an even layer and press it tightly together to form the crust. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden.
4. In a glass or small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup non-dairy milk and the agar agar powder. Let it rest for 10 minutes to begin the hydration process.
5. In a pot, whisk together the rest of the non-dairy milk, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, melted non-dairy butter, cornstarch, and the whisked mixture of milk and agar agar once hydrated.
6. Bring the pot to the stove and heat on high until the mixture boils and thickens slightly. Pour the mixture into the crust and let cool slightly, then chill in the fridge for a minimum of two hours until set.
7. Cut into squares, dust with confectioner's sugar, top with some lemon zest strips if desired and enjoy!
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