Can you believe it’s almost the 4th of July?! I can’t. This summer needs to pump the brakes. While it’s still warm and wonderful, how about we celebrate ‘Merica in style and enjoy these Patriotic Lemon Cream Bars!
Lemon. Cream. Bars. Just let that soak in for a second. Ok all good?!? Now let me blow your mind and tell you that these are totally vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, AND paleo.
Say what, say whatttt?!?
I used this recipe as inspiration because Vanessa’s recipes are no-fail and totally easy. I wanted to add a little red, white, and blue because… America. Amiright?
I was so so SO blown away by how wonderful these turned out. I have been keeping them in the freezer and then setting one on the counter for a bit before
devouring eating it. If you’re taking these to a cookout or celebration, just keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to go and they’ll be perfectly creamy and soft by the time you get to your party. If they’re going to be out for a while, you might want to pop them in the fridge so they don’t completely melt.
Real quick, let’s do a run-down on coconut products. The more you know, right?!
- Coconut butter: Coconut butter is to coconut as peanut butter is to peanuts. Simply ground coconut meat.
- Light coconut milk: Full-fat coconut milk diluted with water. Does not separate when chilled like full-fat or coconut cream.
- Full-fat coconut milk: 1 part coconut to 1 part water. About ½ the can is coconut cream, the rest coconut waer.
- Coconut cream: 4 parts coconut to 1 part water. About ¾ of the can is coconut cream, the rest coconut water.
- Coconut oil: Just the oil extracted from the coconut meat.
Full-fat coconut milk and coconut cream contain enough of the saturated fat solids that they separate when refrigerated. For this recipe, you’ll want to use JUST the coconut cream part being careful not to add any of the water. (But don’t throw it out!! Save it in a jar in the fridge for smoothies!)
If you’re not wild about coconut, you may consider swapping the coconut flour for oat flour (aka oats wizzed in the blender).
I went for the “rustic” swirled effect because I knew there was no way I’d get perfect flag stripes. Wise choice. As you can see they’re… imperfect. Even with their imperfect look, the taste is TO. DIE. FOR. Make these for your 4th of July celebrations and impress everyone with this vegan and paleo treat!!!
Patriotic Lemon Cream Bars
These Patriotic Lemon Cream bars are so creamy and dreamy you won't believe that they're vegan, paleo, gluten free, and refined sugar free! A sure hit at any 4th of July cookout!
For the crust:
- ½ heaping cup coconut flour (or oat flour)
- ½ heaping cup almond flour/ meal
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 Tbs. pure maple syrup or agave
For the filling:
- 2 cups coconut cream, solids only (from 1 can coconut cream or 2 cans full-fat coconut milk)
- 1 ½ Tbs. lemon zest
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup or agave
For the swirl & topping
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. lemon zest
- 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup or agave
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- The night before making these, add coconut milk or cream cans to the fridge to allow the solids and liquids to separate.
Make the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350° F and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Add to pan and use fingers to press the dough into a smooth layer.
- Prick dough with a fork all over to prevent air bubbles. Add to oven and bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned around edges. Let cool.
Make the filling:
- Add all ingredients to stand mixer and whip for 5 minutes to incorporate air. You could do this in a food processor or by hand as well.
- Once crust is cool, pour in filling and lightly smooth out the top.
Make the raspberry swirl:
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan over medium-high heat and heat until all berries have burst.
- Strain liquid over a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and return the liquid only to the saucepan.
- Return the liquid to a boil and cook for 10 minutes until reduced and thickened.
- Pour liquid into a glass bowl or measuring cup and chill in the fridge or freezer until completely cold.
- Once the raspberry sauce is completely cool, drizzle it over the coconut cream layer and swirl with a toothpick. You may not use all of the sauce.
- Put the pan in the freezer and allow it to chill until firm, about an hour.
- Remove from freezer, use the parchment to lift it out of the pan, and place on a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars and top with a few blueberries per piece.
- Return the bars to the freezer if not eating immediately. To serve, allow them to soften slightly in the fridge for a few hours or on the counter for 30 minutes.
Last summer, John and I got our first grill and went a little wild… Meaning we. grilled. everything. From corn to peaches to avocados; if it had a solid surface, we slapped it on the grates! This year, we are continuing the adventure and getting even more creative. We’ve made this Grilled Zucchini and Leek Salad 5 or 6 times already and it’s only technically five days into summer! Needless to say, it has become our favorite go-to weeknight meal.
These are (HUGE) green onions because that’s what we got at the farmer’s market last week. They’re every bit as good as leeks!
There’s just something so summery about grilling. The char marks, the smell, the flames… I love going on walks in the summer evenings and being able to sniff out who’s grilling! “Ummm hi can I come over for dinner?”
When I saw this recipe that used leeks on the grill I knew I had to try it. Leeks might be my new favorite vegetable… Is that weird?? Maybe… They’re sort of onion-y but really mellow and almost sweet. Then throw them on a hot flame….
Wheeewww-yyy. So good.
This dish needed a little extra *something* to bulk it up and round out the meal… My first thought was “Man, some goat cheese or feta would really take this to another level”. Oops. Not very vegan of me. Instead, I added my super flavorful Lemon Garlic Roasted Chickpeas and they were purrrrrfect!
Even though this is called a salad and is light and summery, the warm veggies and chickpeas make it totally filling.
It’s summer time so whip out that grill! If you’re lucky enough to have a grill master like I do, you can team up and knock this dish out in about 20 minutes! He grills, I make the mix-ins, everyone wins!
Grilled Zucchini and Leek Salad
We can't get enough of all things grilled around here! This warm grilled salad is light enough for hot summer nights but hearty enough to make a full meal!
- 1 very large (or 2 smaller) zucchini
- 2-3 leeks or large spring onions, dark green parts trimmed
- 1 batch Lemon Garlic Roasted Chickpeas
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1 Tbs. Roasted Garlic, or fresh grated (2-3 cloves)
- 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 3-4 Tbs. olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
- 1 tsp. sea salt (plus more)
- ¾ tsp. pepper (plus more)
- Heat oven to 400 and make Roasted Chickpeas while preparing the rest of the dish.
- Trim the ends off the zucchini and slice lengthwise into two long pieces. Slice leeks in half lengthwise (do NOT remove root- this keeps them together on the grill). Drizzle the cut-sides of all the veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat grill to high heat. Once extremely hot, add zucchini face-down. Leave on grill without moving for 4-5 minutes. After 4 minutes, add the leeks/onions face down and flip zucchini over. Grill marks should have developed.
- Wait 2-3 minutes and check the leeks for grill marks. Once developed, they should be softened enough to eat. If they are particularly large, flip and grill 3 more minutes. Remove all veggies and transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly.
- Add lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Toss in parsley and walnuts. Chop grilled veggies into 1” pieces and add to bowl along with roasted chickpeas.
- Toss all ingredients gently to combine. Top with extra parsley, if desired. Enjoy!
We’re big eaters around here so we can usually polish off this whole recipe in one meal, with maybe a few leftovers for lunch. If you’re cooking for a crowd, I would recommend doubling this or just serving it as a small side dish.
Let’s talk garlic. If you’ve read my Roasted Garlic post or my most recent post, you know I looooove garlic. I’m the one at the party with the shameless garlic breath after munching on all the pickled garlic everyone else picked around. Raw, roasted, fried, pickled, powder- I like it in all! These Lemon Garlic Roasted Chickpeas are the perfect vehicle to get my garlic fix!
What amazes me about garlic is how versatile and widely used it is. Garlic is a key component in Italian, Asian, Mexican, and many other cuisines… Amazing, really.
Besides warding off close-talkers and vampires, garlic has been touted for having some positive health benefits. Claims about garlic include anti-inflammatory properties, lower cholesterol, immunity boosting, and many others! How can something so stinky be so healthy?! Who knows… Who cares..?!
Roasted chickpeas are almost as versatile as garlic itself and can be used in so many ways! While you can certainly buy roasted garlic at the store, I find that making my own gives me the ability to tailor the flavor to what I prefer. *cough* garlic *cough*
I like put them on salads or pasta, fill wraps with them, or bag them up for weekday snacks! But if I’m really being honest with you… Usually only about half of what I roast make it from the pan to the pate…. The rest get thrown straight to my face hole. #cantstopwontstop
Making roasted chickpeas at home also allows me to get the exact texture I want. Looking for extra crispy crunchy? Leave ‘em in 10 minutes longer. Want a slightly chewier texture? Cut 5 minutes off.
The possibilities are endless!
Lemon Garlic Roasted Chickpeas
A versatile, crunchy, and simple way to prepare chickpeas! Adding these to salads, wraps, or lunch boxes makes any day a little better!
- 1 can low-sodium chick peas/ garbanzo beans
- 1 Tbs. roasted garlic or grated fresh garlic
- 2-3 Tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. fresh cracked pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with non-stick spray or oil.
- Drain the chickpeas in a colander and rinse well. Lightly dry them off with a paper towel to remove the moisture and set aside.
- In a quart-sized plastic bag, add the rest of the ingredients and squeeze/ shake to combine and break up the garlic. Add chickpeas and shake again to evenly distribute. If you want, you can marinate for a few minutes but it’s not necessary.
- Spread chickpeas in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, use an oven mitt to shake the pan to redistribute the beans. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Shake the pan again and check for doneness (they will continue to crisp up out of the oven). Repeat this process, shaking/checking every 5 minutes until desired crispiness is achieved. I usually go about 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!