These Healthy Vegan Grapefruit Bars are the perfect easy dessert for the citrus season. These bars are light and sweet with just the right amount of tartness. This recipe is made with simple and clean ingredients, and is the perfect treat for any citrus fan!
I have always loved Spring desserts. They're perfectly light and refreshing and not too rich. My all-time favorite dessert is my Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars, and after seeing how many of you loved that recipe, I knew that it was time to create some more vegan citrus dessert recipes!
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- Ingredients For These Grapefruit Bars:
- How To Make Grapefruit Bars:
- Grapefruit Bar Substitutions:
- Grapefruit Bars Variations:
- What You Will Need To Make These Grapefruit Bars:
- How To Store These Grapefruit Bars:
- Top Tip:
- Frequently Asked Questions:
- Related Vegan Citrus Recipes:
- Healthy Vegan Grapefruit Bars
- Food Safety:
- More Spring Recipes:
Ingredients For These Grapefruit Bars:
These Grapefruit Bars are the perfect alternative to traditional lemon bars. They are made with quality ingredients, and everything used is whole foods plant-based.
For The Gluten-Free Crust:
- Cassava Flour - I love using cassava flour for gluten-free crusts. It doesn't puff up like other flours and therefore bakes into a perfectly flat and slightly crisp crust. Cassava flour also has a slightly sweet taste which is a great addition to any baked good!
- Medjool Dates - It's no secret that I love using dates to naturally sweeten desserts. I always opt for Medjool dates, because they're sweeter and softer than other date varieties. I also highly recommend buying dates in bulk, it is so much more affordable that way (I've linked my go-to dates).
- Vanilla Extract - In my opinion, every dessert needs a bit of vanilla extract. I always go with Mexican vanilla, because it has a much deeper flavor. It's slightly more expensive, but 100% worth it in my opinion!
- Grapefruit Zest - Whenever baking with citrus, it's super important to include the zest in the recipe. It adds so much flavor. Make sure you wash the citrus well to ensure you are getting the true flavor of the fruit, and not the dirt from the outside world.
- Maple Roasted Cashew Butter - This gives the grapefruit bar crust the perfect sweet touch without being too overpowering. I love buying nut butter from Wilderness Poets because the quality is the best and it's organic. As always, my code: "NATURALVEGAN" gets you $10 off your purchase! You can also use raw cashew butter, however, it won't add the same sweetness.
- Water - This will help hold the crust ingredients together.
- Sea Salt - A pinch of salt helps to tie all the flavors together.
For The Grapefruit Filling:
- Grapefruit Juice - Adding freshly squeezed whole grapefruit juice to the grapefruit bars is the best way to achieve that tart and refreshing grapefruit flavor. I strongly recommend using fresh grapefruit juice rather than store-bought grapefruit juice. It has a much fresher flavor. I recommend looking for the ruby red grapefruit variety.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk - This is what gives these bars the perfect creamy filling. Technically any plant-based milk will work, however, I recommend using unsweetened almond milk. It has a neutral flavor that won't overpower the grapefruit, and it's low in calories.
- Grapefruit Zest - Again, this will help to elevate the grapefruit flavor. Make sure to thoroughly wash the grapefruits before zesting them.
- Maple Crystal - These are one of my all-time favorite natural sweeteners. They work just like cane sugar, yet they are sweeter than sugar and have a lower glycemic index. Therefore a little goes a long way, and you won't have a massive blood sugar spike like you would with cane sugar. I get mine from Wilderness Poets because I can buy it in bulk and it's affordable. As always, my code: "NATURALVEGAN" gets you $10 off your purchase!
- Cornstarch + Water - This is what gives the grapefruit bars the perfect gooey/chewy filling.
- Erythritol - (optional) It is a bit of a grey area whether erythritol is a whole foods plant-based ingredient. Therefore I made it optional for this recipe. It will be absolutely delicious without it on top, however, it does add to that classic lemon bar look.
See the recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Grapefruit Bars:
These Grapefruit Bars are the perfect sweet dessert for bakers of all levels because they're super easy to make. They only take a couple of quick and simple steps.
1. Begin by combining the dates, cashew butter, vanilla extract, and lemon zest together in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Add the cassava flour and then pulse flour. Add the water to the flour mixture and pulse a final time until a buttery crust forms.
(the above picture is prior to adding the water).
3. Prepare a square pan with either parchment paper, cooking spray, or vegan unsalted butter.
4. Press the crust into an even layer on the prepared pan and poke holes in it with a fork.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the crust sit at room temperature for 20-25 minutes to cool.
6. Make grapefruit curd filling by melting the maple crystals with the fresh grapefruit juice together in a large saucepan on medium heat. Once the maple crystals have melted add the grapefruit zest and almond milk. It will curdle and separate at first, but be patient and continue mixing and it will form a solid mixture again.
7. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a separate small bowl. Pour the mixture into the grapefruit juice mixture and whisk constantly until it thickens. Once thickened, remove from heat and pour over the cooled crust. Place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours to chill.
8. Once the bars have chilled, sift erythritol on top of the pink grapefruit bars and serve immediately!
Hint: The grapefruit bar mixture should be thick like cake batter when pouring it on top of the crust.
Grapefruit Bar Substitutions:
If you need to make a substitution due to an allergy/diet, or you don't have a certain ingredient on hand, there are plenty of easy substitutions you can make in this recipe.
- Starch - you can substitute the cornstarch in this recipe with any other starches such as arrowroot, tapioca, or potato starch.
- Plant-Based Milk - If you're not a fan of almond milk, or need to sub it out for allergy reasons, you can use other nut milks. I'd recommend using coconut milk, or seed-based milks. If you prefer to use homemade nut milks, you can try my: Sunflower Seed Milk, or my Coconut Macadamia Nut Milk.
- Nut-Free - If you are looking to make these grapefruit bars nut-free, you can easily do so. I recommend subbing out the cashew butter for sunflower butter, or coconut butter. Make sure to also use nut-free plant-based milk.
Grapefruit Bars Variations:
These bars are great, because you can enjoy them as-is, or you can mix it up with a few simple variations.
- Pink- If you want to make these pink grapefruit bars pop, you can add 2 teaspoons of pink pitaya powder ( I get mine from Wilderness Poets with the code: "NATURALVEGAN" for $10 off) to enhance the pink color.
- Pulp- You can blend the peeled whole grapefruit and use the juice and pulp for all the delicious tangy flavor of the grapefruit with added fiber!
- Citrus - You can use a variety of citrus juices such as lemon juice and orange juice to the grapefruit juice mixture to make a citrus bar recipe that is exploding with flavor.
What You Will Need To Make These Grapefruit Bars:
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Luckily this recipe does not require any crazy equipment. You probably already own everything you will need for this recipe.
- Food Processor - You will need a food processor to make the crust for these bars.
- Brownie Pan - I prefer using a springform baking pan for bar recipes because it is much easier to serve the bars. You can also line the pan with a horizontal piece of parchment paper to easily remove the bars.
- Large Saucepan - You will need a large saucepan to cook the grapefruit curd mixture.
- Mixing Bowl - You will need a small bowl to combine the cornstarch and water in.
- Sifter - You will need a sifter to sift the erythritol on top if using it.
How To Store These Grapefruit Bars:
These grapefruit bars are very tricky to store. I honestly wouldn't recommend storing them for more than a day (they probably won't last that long anyways because they're so good).
If you do plan to make these ahead of time, do not sprinkle the erythritol on top until the very last minute. It turns into a liquid rather quickly, so I suggest waiting until the last minute to use it. When storing in the fridge place them in an airtight container and do not stack them.
The quality of the grapefruits can make a significant difference in the taste of these grapefruit bars. Make sure to carefully choose the grapefruits you use to achieve the best tangy flavor of grapefruit.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Typically I don't use zero-calorie sweeteners in my recipes. I opt for recipes that are made with unprocessed, or minimally processed ingredients. However sometimes there is just not an unprocessed version of an ingredient - powdered sugar is one of those ingredients.
For this reason, I sometimes use Erythritol in my recipes as a healthy plant-based substitute for powdered sugar. Is it perfect? No, it is highly processed and does not contain any fiber/vitamins/minerals.
However, it has the classic sweet flavor and is a better option than powdered sugar which is highly processed, high in calories, and extremely high in refined sugars. Therefore I include it as an optional ingredient in recipes like these grapefruit bars.
If you're looking to cut down the steps of this grapefruit bar recipe or speed up the process, you can use grapefruit juice from a bottle instead of fresh squeezed. In my opinion, this won't taste as good as a fresh ruby red grapefruit, but it makes the recipe easier.
Related Vegan Citrus Recipes:
Looking for other healthy vegan citrus recipes like these grapefruit bars? Try these:
If you try this Healthy Vegan Grapefruit Bar recipe, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I’d also really appreciate a recipe card rating! Thank you for supporting The All Natural Vegan!
Healthy Vegan Grapefruit Bars
For The Crust:
For The Grapefruit Filling:
- 1 ¼ cups grapefruit juice fresh
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup Maple Crystals "NATURALVEGAN" for $10 off
- 2 teaspoon grapefruit zest
- ¾ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup water
- Begin by combining the dates, cashew butter, vanilla extract, and lemon zest together in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Preheat the oven to 350.
- Add the cassava flour and then pulse flour. Add the water to the flour mixture and pulse a final time until a buttery crust forms.
- Prepare a square pan with either parchment paper, cooking spray, or vegan unsalted butter.
- Press the crust into an even layer on the prepared pan and poke holes in it with a fork.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the crust sit at room temperature for 20-25 minutes to cool.
- Make grapefruit curd filling by melting the maple crystals with the fresh grapefruit juice together in a large saucepan on medium heat. Once the maple crystals have melted add the grapefruit zest and almond milk. It will curdle and separate at first, but be patient and continue mixing and it will form a solid mixture again.
- Mix the cornstarch and water together in a separate small bowl. Pour the mixture into the grapefruit juice mixture and whisk constantly until it thickens. Once thickened, remove from heat and pour over the cooled crust. Place in the fridge to cool for at least 2 hours to chill.
- Once the bars have chilled, sift erythritol on top of the pink grapefruit bars and serve immediately!
It's always to practice good food safety habits when in the kitchen.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
More Spring Recipes:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with this grapefruit bars recipes: