PROTEIN LEMON BARS

August 30, 2016 8 Comments

PROTEIN LEMON BARS

Okay all my lemon lovers… these Protein Lemon Bars taste every bit as delicious as your classic lemon bar recipe, except these have 15g protein and only 1g sugar! These did not last long at our house. To be honest, I’ve tried and failed many times with protein lemon bars but these were off the hook uh-mazing! I’m so glad to have a “go-to” recipe to satisfy my frequent lemon cravings. These bars are low-carb, gluten-free and easily made dairy free (subs on the blog).

Did you know? Despite recent claims that almond flour is “inflammatory” and “not heat stable,” the research is not conclusive. For one, almonds are over 60% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid which is stable at high heat (source). Less than 30% of the fat content of almonds is from linoleic acid, an omega-6 PUFA (typically thought to be inflammatory). However, with a nutrient-dense diet, research shows our bodies can convert linoleic acid to GLA, a compound that may fight inflammation (source)! So when it comes to inflammation, we should not completely eliminate omega-6s, but rather balance them with omega-3 fats. As for high-heat cooking like frying (baking does not typically fall into this category), it would be better to use heat-stable avocado oil or coconut oil.

Protein recommendations

Of course, the first step was to add some protein to these dreamy bars. I used a vanilla whey blend in this recipe because that’s what the hubby likes. You could also use a whey concentrate, but I don’t recommend whey isolate (it generally dries out baked goods or gives them a weird texture). You can also use unflavored protein if you really want the pure lemon flavor to come through!

If you need these bars whey-free you can use either a soy isolate (which acts the most like whey) or a vegan protein blend. I would say just use collagen, but it’s so different from whey it would be an entirely different recipe! You could try substituting an equal measure and see what happens!

Sweetener recommendations

My next step was to replaced the sugar in the classic recipe with a calorie-free sweetener to cut the added sugar. I used Stevita Naturals, which is organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade. It’s 4 times as sweet as sugar so a little goes a LONG way! You can also make these with powdered sugar, erythritol, or monk fruit; just make sure to use 3-4 times as much (3/4 cup-1 full cup). I would start with three-quarters cup 1:1 like sugar sweetener if using a vanilla protein powder, or 1 cup if using unflavored protein.

I also sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top because, why not! It was maybe 2 tablespoons so not very much at all 😉

Flour substitutions

The crust was about as easy as can be! I simply combined vanilla protein powder (can use unflavored) with almond flour, baking soda, salt, buttery spread, and water to form a crumbly dough. We usually use this dairy-free buttery spread at our house, but you can totally use unsalted butter instead. You can also swap the almond flour for gluten-free baking flour, you just might need another tablespoon of buttery spread or butter for that crumbly texture.

Other substitutions

The filling does contain eggs, and unfortunately, I don’t have a sub for those of you who may be allergic to eggs 🙁 The nonfat plain Greek yogurt, however, can easily be substituted for plain dairy-free Greek yogurt. For just the right amount of fresh lemon flavor without being overly tart or sour, I used the fresh lemon juice, exactly one-third cup.

I did add a dash of turmeric for a more vibrant yellow color, but this is optional. Without it, the egg yolks impart a very light yellow tint.

The texture of these were just perfect. Think creamy, custard-like filling with a crumbly, buttery crust (yumm). And the flavor just blew my socks off! The perfect balance of refreshing and decadent. Here’s the recipe for these Protein Lemon Bars! Please rate this recipe and comment below if you try it 😉

This post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by Stevita Naturals.

Protein Lemon Bars

These Protein Lemon Bars have a tart lemon custard filling with crumbly almond crust. Low-carb, gluten-free, and easily made dairy-free!
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Servings 9 servings
Calories 143kcal

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) unflavored or vanilla protein powder* like a whey blend or soy isolate
  • 1/2 cup almond flour* or gluten-free baking flour + 1 tbsp. additional buttery spread
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. buttery spread* vegan buttery spread or unsalted butter
  • 1-2 tbsp. water as needed

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) unflavored or vanilla protein powder* like a whey blend or soy isolate
  • 1/4 cup Stevita Naturals spoonable sweetener* or 3/4 cup-1 cup sugar, erythritol, monk fruit, or any sweetener that measures 1:1 like sugar
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt* or dairy-free yogurt
  • 3 large whole eggs beaten
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice ~3 medium lemons
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Dash turmeric, for color optional

*See blog post above for more substitutions.

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
    • Combine ingredients for crust using a fork until crumbly.
    • Line an 8”x8” baking dish with parchment and press mixture into the bottom evenly.
    • Bake crust for 5 minutes.
    • Whisk together ingredients for lemon filling until frothy.
    • Mix in yogurt, eggs, lemon juice and zest, plus vanilla extract until smooth.
    • Pour filling mixture over pre-baked crust and return to oven to bake for another 30 minutes or so until barely set in the middle.
    • Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes, then chill for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.
    • Chill in fridge for at least an hour, then sprinkle with powdered sweetener or sugar and cut into nine equal squares. Enjoy!
    • Leftovers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container at least a week.

    Notes

    Calories (per serving, including optionals): 143kcal, Fat: 8.0g, Sat fat: 1.6g, Carbs: 3g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 15g, Sodium: 314mg




    8 Responses

    Wendy
    Wendy

    April 08, 2024

    Can these be frozen? Cant wait to try! Thank you!!!!

    Wendy

    Emily
    Emily

    May 02, 2024

    I tryed these for the first time a few days ago and back to make more again. Compared to other ones I’ve tried these are the best!

    Sarah Wilkins
    Sarah Wilkins

    July 15, 2023

    Hi Jenni! Thanks so much for sharing that this worked with vegan protein :) I will have to try that next!

    Jenni
    Jenni

    July 15, 2023

    I made these today to use up some lemons and increase my protein intake. I only had “Orgain” vegan soy-free powder, but it worked great and was deeeeelish!

    Sarah Wilkins
    Sarah Wilkins

    January 10, 2023

    Hi Sharron, I realize my instructions were kind of confusing – there are no separate egg whites, just three whole eggs as the ingredients list! I edited the instructions to remove any confusion ;)

    Sharron H
    Sharron H

    January 10, 2023

    Mm…..I don’t see the amount of egg whites to use that are mentioned in the directions. Are they optional?
    Look forward to trying these. They’ve received such positive reviews.

    Sarah Wilkins
    Sarah Wilkins

    December 06, 2022

    Hi Kaitlyn! I am so very glad to hear that! Lemon desserts are hard to perfect but it’s one of my favorite flavors ;)

    Kaitlyn
    Kaitlyn

    December 06, 2022

    I never leave comments but this was one of the most delicious protein desserts that I have ever made. I used Muscle Milk Vanilla and they literally were perfect. I wouldn’t change one thing! Thank you!!!

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