Dates and walnuts take the place of gluten, sugar and butter in these no-bake vegan bars. Start with very soft dates for the best results. The bars are best served very cold, just out of the freezer; make them in advance for a special party, and store extras for up to three months in the freezer. Be sure to use raw, not roasted, cashew butter for the best color and flavor; or soak 1/4 to 1 cup of raw cashews for six to eight hours, rinse, drain well and process in a food processor with the rest of the filling ingredients.
- 1 cup very soft Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 4 Tbs. rice protein powder
- 1 cup cashew butter, raw
- 1/2 cup dairy-free yogurt, plain or lemon-flavored
- 1/4 cup agave or honey
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
- 3 Tbs. ground chia seeds
- Agave or honey for blueberry topping (optional)
1. Cut parchment to fit the width of an 8-inch-square glass baking pan, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both sides.
2. Combine dates, walnuts, and salt in a food processor; process for 2 to 3 minutes on high speed until mixture is pasty and holds together when pressed with your fingers. If mixture is dry, add a teaspoon or two of water. Add protein powder and process for 30 seconds longer, until well-blended. Press mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan and place pan in freezer while preparing filling.
3. In a medium bowl, beat together cashew butter, yogurt, agave or honey, and lemon juice. Spread over crust in baking dish with a rubber spatula and smooth top. Transfer to freezer and freeze for 3 to 4 hours, until very firm.
4. Rinse food processor well and add blueberries, chia seeds, and agave or honey, if using. Pulse briefly to mix; mixture should be chunky. Set aside (mixture will thicken as it stands).
5. To serve, remove lemon-cashew bars from freezer. Run a butter knife around the edges that touch the pan directly. Using overhanging parchment as a sling, lift bars from pan and carefully peel off parchment. Transfer to a cutting board, spread with blueberry mixture, and cut into squares. Serve immediately.