Key Lime Pie Bars (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

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I love key lime pie and was really skeptical of trying a vegan version. I thought they might be ok but leave me craving the real thing. I was so wrong! The nuts & oats in the crust add contrast to the creamy filling, which does not taste like cashews (confirmed by my sister who hates cashews) but instead just tastes like really good key lime. And you make these entirely in your blender and do not even need to wash it out between making the crust and the filling!

Recipe: Key Lime Pie Bars (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

Crust:

3/4 c rolled oats

3/4 c almond meal or 1 c whole almonds, pecans, walnuts or a combination

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 TBSP honey or maple syrup

4 TBSP coconut oil, melted

Filling:

1 c raw cashews, either soaked in water in the refrigerator overnight, or covered in boiling water for 1 hour

1 c coconut cream (you can either buy coconut cream or refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight and scoop off the cream)

1/2 c key lime juice (or more to taste)

1/3 c maple syrup or honey (or more to taste)

2 TBSP tapioca flour or arrowroot starch

1 TBSP lime zest (optional)

1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the ends to extend up 2 of the sides of the pan (these will be your grips to pull the bars out of the pan!)

For the crust:

In a blender, combine oats, nuts & sea salt and puree until a fine meal forms. Add honey/maple syrup & coconut oil and puree until combined. Mixture should stick together when pinched. If it is too crumbly, add 1 more TBSP coconut oil or a splash of water. Turn mixture into prepared pan and press evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before filling.

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For the filling:

Drain the cashews in a colander and rinse well. Using the same blender bowl (no need to wash it out!) combine cashews, coconut cream, key lime juice, maple syrup/honey, tapioca flour/arrowroot, lime zest & sea salt. Puree on high speed until very creamy & smooth. Taste filling and add more key lime juice or sweetener if you’d like. Pour filling onto crust, and gently tap the pan against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for appx 25 minutes until mostly set – the edges will be firm but the center will still be slightly jiggly. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve:

Using a sharp knife, cut the filling away from the sides of the pan not covered with parchment paper. Lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. Decorate with whipped coconut cream & fresh fruit if desired.

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*Adapted from The Minimalist Baker

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