Fresh lemon squares made of protein-rich quinoa and white beans, a brilliant match and an easy way to a fresh citrus dessert. Also vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.
Quinoa Protein Lemon Squares (vegan, gluten-free, white beans).
Fresh lemon squares, easy to make and full of protein, the perfect nutritious “dessert for breakfast”.
And the nutrition panel of quinoa really hikes the nutritional value here! Quinoa provides protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, potassium, and more! Quinoa of course makes a wonderful grain-free addition to savory meals, but I am always trying to work it into desserts, and a crust for citrus squares was an obvious move.
The lemon cream is also fun and unusual because it includes – wait for it – white beans!
Actually this was a brilliant match because lemon needs a white creamy palate to shine, and that is exactly what white beans provide. So now the nutrition of this square rises further with tons of bean protein, very little fat, and yet more iron, potassium, zinc, and other essential minerals.
The Ingredients in These Healthy Squares
Quinoa, White Beans aannddd Baobab – Can you handle it?
What is baobab? It is a superfood, made from the root of the Baobab tree found in Africa. It is a great addition to recipes because it is incredibly high in vitamin C and it actually has a strong citrus-flavor even though it is a root, not a fruit. Hey, that rhymes, haha. Moving on…baobab also has the inflammation-fighting capabilities of turmeric.
How to Make These Healthy Lemon Squares?
I had to make them three times to get it right. (And we’ve made it dozens of times since!)
I remember the first effort tasted too bean-y, so we reduced the beans. The next too grain-y, so we increased the cashews! This recipe is a perfect balance, although a bit sweeter than I am used to, so perhaps taste test and add or subtract sweetener as you like it.
Just don’t add too much turmeric. I did that first time, and I needed sunglasses to take them out of the refrigerator, haha!
And, if I haven’t convinced you yet to try them, how does no-bake sound to you? Yep, to me too! I hope you enjoy my creamy lemon squares!
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Quinoa Lemon Squares (vegan, gluten-free, white beans)
makes 16 (2-inch) square slices
Oat Quinoa Crust
Lemon White Bean Filling
- 3/4 cup cashews, soaked overnight and rinsed
- 1/4 cup white beans (I used this brand)
- 1 cup coconut milk (chill two cans, and use only solid portion from a can of full fat coconut milk)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon rind (Add more if you can get it; it brings a brightness to the flavor)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp arrowroot (corn starch can be used instead)
- 2 tbsp baobab powder (optional, but adds a citrus flavor and a huge boost of vitamin C)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric for color, optional
- The night before, set coconut milk cans in refrigerator; you will use only the solid portion that separates out. Two cans should provide 3/4 cup of cream or more. Reserve the liquids and remaining cream refrigerated for smoothies and other recipes. Keeps about 3 days reserved; maybe longer but I'm very cautious about spoilage.
- Also the night before, set the cashews in water in the refrigerator to soak overnight to improve digestibility, but also soften for a creamier texture in the final bar.
- On baking day, set jar of coconut oil in a pot of hot water to melt it.Also, line an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Blend or process ingredients for the crust, press into the 8-inch by 8-inch pan. Put pan in freezer while you prepare the filling.
- Blend all ingredients for the lemon cream. The color won’t be very yellow in the fresh batter; but will intensify after the bars set in the refrigerator so don’t add more than 1/4 tsp of turmeric unless you want your bars to be screaming yellow, haha. Also beware if you taste-test the batter for sweetness – the blended mixture is different – much tastier! – after chilling.
- Pour mixture onto crust. We made these three times and once we froze them about an hour, cut slices then returned pan to refrigerator where they stayed fairly solid. Another time we only chilled them in the refrigerator – they were kind of mushy so I highly recommend start with a good freeze.
- Cut into 16 (2-inch) squares. Garnish with lemon triangles, lemon rind curls, and enjoy!
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in immunological nutritional studies and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.