Monday, August 25, 2008

A Lemony Blueberry Vegan Treat



When hubby and I embarked on our vegetarian experiment a few months ago, I was absolutely amazed by the number of quality vegetarian and vegan blogs, recipes, and guides available on the web. Oh, about 15 years ago I'll go out on a limb and say that at least 20% of the population thought Vegans were part of a freaky New Age religion led by PeeWee Herman.

These days, fabulous blogs like the Veggiegirl and Susan's Fatfree Vegan Kitchen have been convincing carnivores like hubby and omnivores like me :) that there is life beyond meat. During our veggie days, I found a lot of inspiration from both those blogs, amazed at the delicious creations I thought vegans only pined for.

Though that part of our lives is over, I've had Susan's Blueberry Oat Bar recipe bookmarked, just waiting for the appearance of juicy and plump blueberries to show up in the markets. Mostly, I have been eager to answer life's most important question: can baked goods truly be delicious without eggs, butter, white sugar...or even flour for that matter? Though I attempt to curb my consumption of the aforementioned ingredients, to me they're the heart and soul of baked goods. Take them away and what are you left with?


Blueberry goodness, I guess. For starters, this recipe uses Agave Nectar Syrup, an all-natural sweetner. No high fructose corn syrup or refined sugars here! Rolled oats are blended into a fine powder and moistened with unsweetened apple sauce along with some other goodies. Fresh blueberries cook in an agave sweetened syrup that makes the house smell absurdly good.

I tried to stay as true as possible to Susan's recipe, lest I make anything un-vegan. I added extra cinnamon, lemon zest, a bit more agave nectar, and a sprinkling of brown sugar over the topping. Well, I managed to do all this and then bastardized half of the bars by throwing a few (non-vegan) white chocolate chips I found in the pantry. Oops. It was only half. Forgive me.


These bars were exceptionally good. I will admit that they do lack the crumbly, rich goodness of a butter based crumb. However, if you eat these without expectation of what the bars should taste like, they are marvelously delicious on their own. I've been eating them cold out of the refrigerator, and cannot believe how many I've already gone through. Yum! Thanks for the great & healthy recipe, Susan!

Original recipe here from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

Lemony Blueberry Oat Bars
Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
1 pint fresh blueberries (I ended up adding about 1/4 cup more)
zest from one lemon
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water or juice to form a smooth paste

3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) agave nectar
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish.

1. In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, blueberries, agave nectar, and apple juice. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add vanilla and cornstarch mixture, stirring until mixture returns to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Put 1 1/2 cups of the oats into a blender or food processor and grind to a medium fine powder (I kept mine with a little texture). Pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the remaining oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the apple sauce, agave nectar, water, and vanilla, and mix well.

3. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing well to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the blueberry filling over the batter, and spoon the remaining batter over the blueberries. Sprinkle with brown sugar and chocolate chips.

4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

34 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

This makes me smile from ear to ear :0) Keep baking delicious vegan treats!! Those bars look FLAWLESS and oh-so-delicious!!

Maria said...

What a great sweet treat! The blueberry bars look heavenly!

Lisa said...

Whjat a great wholesome dessert!

Bridgett said...

These sound delicious, Sharon!

Dawn said...

Those look really good. I love how many raw food blogs there are out here--I'm trying to eventually go all raw & vegan, with fish added in. I know there is a category for that.

noble pig said...

Oh how yummy! I think a mix of vegan recipes and meat recipes is the perfect diet for me.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I'm allways very amazed also with the amazing vegan and vegetarian blogs and recipes out there! I think that there's lot of imagination into creating some things! The bars look great, I should try baking vegan!

Kevin said...

Those bars look so good! Blueberry and lemon is a great combo.

Laura said...

I've had to think about vegan baked goods due to some allergies in my playgroup, and I have come to the conclusion that crisps/fruit based desserts are one of the smartest ways to go. This looks great. The white chocolate chip snafu cracked me up. :)

Sophie said...

lol I just made some apricot bluberry muffin/scones :). Berries are so yummy, and blueberries go very well with citrus. So yummy and healthy!

alexandra's kitchen said...

my husband and I are eating a lot less meat these days, too, and we have not felt any deprived. these like like a nice treat.

Emiline said...

I would love to experiment around with vegan baking. It definitely seems healthier.
This blueberry treat looks divine.

Krysta said...

i'll eat anything with blueberries even if it's vegan.

Grace said...

oh me. blueberry porn is my favorite. :)
and i won't lie, i loved pee-wee's playhouse. :)

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

That looks great! The perfect way to use blueberries!

Pam said...

I love the combination of lemon and blueberries. This dessert looks amazing - especially the topping.

Carmen said...

These look great! I love all the different blueberry bars out there. I have to admit, I rarely bake w/o butter and refined sugars (as I'm usually baking to please extremely non-vegan people), but this looks like a nice, healthy snack to try out.

The Blonde Duck said...

You know, I'm a huge meat eater but that looks great!

Antonio Tahhan said...

these bars look so decadent and from just looking at them I can't tell all the "good stuff" is missing :) haha, I'll take a piece from both sides!!

Antonio Tahhan said...

these bars look so decadent and from just looking at them I can't tell all the "good stuff" is missing :) haha, I'll take a piece from both sides!!

Prudy said...

Thanks for the great recipe. I drop off treats to my vegan friends and always need new ideas, so thanks.

daphne said...

yum!! I love the way the blueberry gets poured into the slice! It looks so yummy! I can see u were really generous with the blueberries too!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

oh goshhh that look good! a pure carnivore like me was even tempted to devour the whole vegan side hehehe

RecipeGirl said...

Oh my gosh... those blueberries just look amazing! I'll have to try some kind of Vegan recipe. There's so much talk about it all, you know???

I do have some of that agave syrup in my pantry...

recipes2share said...

WOW! This looks great!

Jenny said...

I love the 2 sides of your dish, you are so nice to make everyone happy! This really looks like a beautiful dish, I know we'd love it!

tigerfish said...

Look at those blueberries.....
It's so tempting just to see those being poured...

Katrina said...

They look and sound really good. I recently bought agave nectar and have tried it in a few baked goods. Xylitol is an all natural sugar alcohol that looks just like sugar and you substitute it equally for sugar and I really LIKE it. It has no weird aftertaste. It's a bit expensive ($6/lb.), but I need to get some more and keep it in stock.
I'm loving blueberries right now!

Mo said...

Oooh, I can see the blueberry goodness oozing out. Yum!

Kristen said...

ROFL - had to chuckle at your PW Herman reference.
I am always surprised by the number of Vegan blogs out there too. Lots of yummy desserts and meals!

Megan. said...

these looks so great! what a nice treat. and a wonderful way to say goodbye to summer :)

Sophie said...

Great adaptation, Sharon :). Lemons and blueberries are a fresh combo; a perfect recipe to wrap up a warm summer. Hope you have a sweet 1 year anniversary :)!

We'd like to invite you to participate in our September apple and peach recipe contest. All competitors will be eligible to win one of three prizes :)! Please email me, sophiekiblogger@gmail.com, if you're interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details: http://blog.keyingredient.com/2008/08/29/september-kick-contest/

Thanks :),
Sophie
KI Chief Blogger

Ruth E said...

These blueberry bars look delicious! I've never tried baking anything vegan, I should try sometime.

Thanks for a great bookmarked recipe

pixiepine said...

I have this recipe printed out somewhere. I'll have to give it a try!