Sweet Snacking: Lemon Kissed Cashew Hemp Bars

by Gena on March 2, 2011

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Looks like there are lots of potato chip fans among us! Love it. So glad the recipe was a hit.

Over a month ago, I shared my delicious buckwheat chai energy bars:

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And I promised you all more snack bar recipes. With school, blogging, and counseling keeping me busy round the clock, and my budget leaner than ever, it’s really important for me to make snacks and portable foods from scratch, rather than purchase them. I’ve been pretty good about this so far: every week, I prep the following snack foods or portable lunch without fail:

  • Kale chips
  • 1 snack bar of choice
  • 1 large soup/stew
  • 1 batch hummus
  • 1 batch nut cheese or nut pate
    • Homemade trail mix, pre-bagged in snack portions

Depending on the week, I might have time to do more, but this is the bare minimum I need to stay organized and to have packable food at the ready when the class bell rings! My buckwheat chai bars were great, but it’s time to expand. I’ve long dreamed of making a snack bar that mimics my beloved Larabars. Two days ago, I decided that this was the week.

Plenty of bloggers have come up with their own spins on Larabars: Bitt is such a consummate homemade Larabar maker that she calls them Bitt Bars! So this is hardly an original recipe/procedure: it’s just my first stab at a snack staple I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Larabars have gotten pretty fancy lately: some of the new flavors sound more like five star desserts than dried fruits and nuts. But in spite of all the new options, my favorite Larabars are still the original flavors: cherry pie, apple pie, lemon, cashew cookie, and pecan pie.

Lemon might actually be the all time favorite, which isn’t surprising, given how much I love all things lemony. So it was only right that I infused my first homemade Larabar with a hint of lemon: not enough to overpower the taste, but just enough to brighten it. A lemon kiss, if you will. I loved the results, and hope you will, too.

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Lemon Kissed Cashew Hemp Bars (Raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Makes 12 bars (6 for a more generous snack)

1 cup cashews
1 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup hemp seeds
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest

1) Place the cashews in a food processor and process till ground up.

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2) Add the dates and hemp seeds and pulse repeatedly. Then, add the lemon and lemon zest and leave the motor on until the whole thing has formed a big, uniform, sticky ball.

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3) Take a large sheet of saran wrap and place it over the bottom of a small baking dish. Press the mixture down into it, till it’s even in thickness.

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Cover with another sheet of saran, and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

4) Unwrap the "dough," lay the rectangle flat on a cutting surface, and cut into 12 bars.

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5) Wrap up individually and store in the fridge or freezer till ready to eat. I’m not sure how long they’ll keep, but I suspect up to two weeks is perfectly fine, and longer if you freeze them.

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Note that these are a bit smaller than your average Larabar: they’re more comparable in size to the Larabar minis than the regular bars. You can definitely cut them larger if you’d like to, or eat two at a time. I vary between eating one along with salads and other lunches, or eating two as a snack. I’m particularly fond of having one or two by my side when I’m deep into studying!

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If only they could teach me stoichiometry, too.

Hope you guys attempt Larabars of your own soon! I found that a 1:1 nut:date ratio, give or take in either direction, works well. I’d love to hear what flavors you all come up with.


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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

bitt March 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for mentioning my Bittbars. I think I have a lemon variety in there somewhere, and I’ve been wanting to do a lime one. I love a good lemon dessert. The only downside to hoemade bars is that they don’t keep the same way the ones lara makes because of their packaging is supposed to keep them fresher. If one of us could figure that part out, well I guess we’d put lara out of business!


Renata May 29, 2011 at 9:35 am

Hi Bitt! I made one of your bitt bar recipes awhile back and I’ve been searching the web because I forgot the name of your site. Now that I’ve found bittofraw.com it won’t let me subscribe…Can you help?



Dorry March 2, 2011 at 11:34 pm

These look great, Gena! I love Larabars, too, but I’ve still never had the lemon flavor. Crazy, I know. It’s about time! But I think I’ll make your version first. I’m super impressed with your ability to balance everything currently going on in your life. Now get some sleep. :)


Valerie @ City|Life|Eats March 2, 2011 at 11:38 pm

These look delicious :) I so hear you on the requisite minimum food prep. Do you make everything on one afternoon for the week, or do it in several installments?


Hannah March 2, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Eeep! Lemon desserts are my favourite (despite my obsession with chocolate, I prefer tangy desserts), and so I WILL be making this. As soon as a finish my batch of cashew fig nut butter which, some to think of it, could probably have been formed into snack bars itself!


Jessica March 2, 2011 at 11:49 pm

I’ve made several attempts at homemade bars and although they’ve been delicious, I haven’t been able to get the right Larabar texture.. They were always too soft. This is super helpful- I’m now inspired to give it another shot soon!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) March 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I can almost taste the lemon ZING off the screen. They look wonderful, Gena!

It’s so interesting to me how raw ingredients like lemon, hemp seeds, cashews can be combined to be savory (i.e. with red pepper and nooch for many variations on cheezy sauces and dips) or added with dates to be more solid and sweet-ish. I love how diverse raw, whole, ingredients can be.

Great job on these.

And stoichiometry. Just typing that word makes me cringe :)


Mindy March 3, 2011 at 1:03 am

What a simply lovely bar recipe. I love lemon. I just stumbled upon a smoothie recipe that I had saved (Vegan Lisa’s Lemon Ginger smoothie). I must make that soon, and now I must make this bar. Hmmm, I wonder how these bars would be with some crystallized ginger added in?

Your energy is amazing. So impressed with the way you are keeping up, and your organizational skills. Nice list of weekly staples.


Gena March 3, 2011 at 7:14 am

Are you kidding? I think crystallized ginger would be INSANELY GOOD.


Mindy March 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm

:D Ok, Gena. I’m about to go to the store, and planning on getting ingredients to make your bars. I’ll get a little crystallized ginger too. I think I’ll leave half the batch “plain” so I can have the pure, unadulterated Gena Bar experience. Then I’ll play with the ginger in the second half.


Nata March 3, 2011 at 2:00 am

Hi Gena

These look great! I struggle to find hemp seeds here in South Africa. Would it work to substitute with sun flower seeds?


Gena March 3, 2011 at 7:14 am

Sure! Or pumpkin seeds. Or just use all cashews.


Sabine (thefruitpursuit) March 3, 2011 at 2:04 am

These sound amazing! I’m not the biggest fan of larabar flavors but I imagine the lemon gives it a really fresh oomph.


Ela March 3, 2011 at 2:05 am

I’ve just made lemon and lime bars in the past week, but held together with irish moss and a little lemon or lime juice and sweetened with stevia instead of dates. Wonderfully zingy, a little crumbly, awesome study break.

Thanks for sharing these!
Any thoughts on my earlier question/comment about doing a NEDA post? (Is there anything I have to fulfill to do it?


Gena March 3, 2011 at 7:13 am

Sorry Ela! I just responded yesterday. NEDA is officially over, but I think that’s a silly reason not to write a post. Do it!


Christin@purplebirdblog March 3, 2011 at 2:16 am

I just bought a big tub of dates from Costco in hopes of making Larabars, but I can’t stop eating them stuffed with peanut butter instead. So good! :D


Casey March 3, 2011 at 2:32 am

Larabars are such a handy snack and it’s so great to make your own. One of my clients made a peppermint lemon one the other day! Cool!


Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) March 3, 2011 at 3:33 am

these sound awesome!! I especially LOVE the lemon flavor!


Bonnie March 3, 2011 at 3:54 am

I have a similar question to Nata – can you substitute hemp seeds? I was thinking of using chia seeds instead – would this work? Should I grind them first if so? I’m going to make these for Playcentre here in NZ!


Gena March 3, 2011 at 7:13 am


I think you can definitely sub another seed. I actually wouldn’t grind chia, but I’d soak them first, then pulse in with the dates. See if that works. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds would also work, and honestly, you could just do cashews and dates, too.



Bonnie March 4, 2011 at 4:07 am

Awesome, thanks so much Gena!


JL goes Vegan March 3, 2011 at 6:17 am

You know what I love about your recipes? You make me believe that even *I* can do it! I must make these!


Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama March 3, 2011 at 6:30 am

I’m going to have to get some hemp seeds. You keep reminding me to give them a try. These bars look like a great snack!


Pure2raw Twins March 3, 2011 at 6:48 am

We have yet to recreate any larabars, we really are not big fans (for a few reasons), I know the horror, but I love seeing homemade versions. And I love anything with lemon so these are perfect! And Bitts bars always look so good :)


Hannah March 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

Mmmm these sound delicious! I usually don’t like lemon but with the dates and cashews, this sounds really delicious.


Faith @ lovelyascharged March 3, 2011 at 7:59 am

Ooh, looks stellar! Apple pie lara’s are the best, but the chocolate chip is absolutely FAB. Thanks for the lemon idea, I can’t wait to work on a batch!


Ian March 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

I also love all things lemon! I will be making these over spring break for sure, and finally getting the time and solidarity to crank up the blender in the mornings for green smoothies. My how I have missed having both a stocked pantry and people in the house who DON’T mind my early morning noise and who like when I cook/bake them vegan things!


Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY March 3, 2011 at 8:46 am

mmmm….looks delicious, and quick and easy


Evan Thomas March 3, 2011 at 8:55 am

Mmmmm, great recipe! I’m lovin’ all the ingredients.


Alex @ Healing Beauty March 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

Oh these look delicious! I just tried hemp seeds for the first time a few days ago and I am hooked! They are so tasty and they go well with so many foods! Thanks for inspiring me to expand my vegan culinary horizons!


Shayne March 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

These look fabulous — I am always looking for new homemade Larabar-like recipes, and these are going on my list. I can imagine that the lemon zest gives them that perfect extra kick of citrus! Thanks, Gena, as always.


Lauren March 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

I love lemon in anything, these sound perfect!


Katie March 3, 2011 at 10:31 am

Im letting my nerd flag fly here – I LOVE stoichiometry!


Kelsey March 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

I love lemon larabars! And the addition of hemp is genious. I’ve made my version of peanut butter chocolate chip larabars after a failed attempt. So hopefully I’ll get these right…

And GREAT prep ideas.


Namaste Gurl March 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

Yum- these look way better than larabars anyday! I can’t imagine lara putting hemp seeds into her bars, that’d probably be a sin! :)
Have a good rest of the week!


Michelle | gold-hearted girl March 3, 2011 at 11:54 am

I’m a HUGE fan of making homemade larabars. It’s so much cheaper, and I love customizing the ingredients to exactly what I prefer. My favorite to date has been: dates, almonds, peanut butter, cocoa powder. It’s like dessert!


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day March 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I adore lemon too.. and lemons/date is such a wonderful combo


RawGuru March 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

looks delish! Your recipe sounds tastier to me than the lemon lara bars. Fresher, and i love the addition of hemp seeds. Throwing some goji berries and vanilla in there might be good too. = )


Marta March 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm

stoi-wha?? lemon yum!


Sarah L. March 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I’ve been on such a lemon kick lately so as soon as I saw this post I knew I had to whip these up. I just did and cannot wait for them to be done setting! The bite of “batter” that I snuck out of the food processor was delicious. Thanks for another great recipe, Gena.


Lia March 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Hmmm, yes, I too have been thinking and reading about homemade Larabars, but just have yet to actually attempt them! Seems like a good time. It sounds delicious too :)


Christine (The Raw Project) March 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm

These look great, I especially like that they include hemp seeds. I usually stay away from Larabars except when traveling since they’re so pricey, but I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks!


Nat March 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Stoichiometry <3 I'm glad someone understands.

These look awesome, I'm always looking for new bar/snack ideas for food on the run. Thanks!


Victoria March 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Hey Gena,
Would this work with Flax seeds, instead of hemp seeds, what do you think?

Oh and how do you think it would taste if I substitute cashews with walnuts, almonds, or brazil nuts because I’m highly allergic to cashews.


Randi March 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm

So great-looking and so simple! Definitely making these asap.


Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) March 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Oh wow, these are really pretty! Makes me think how ridiculous it is to pay so much $$$ for packaged bars from the store when they are so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe…think I might try making one that is “cocoa-kissed.” :)


jenny March 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm

the lemon larabar is my FAAAAAAAAVE too. i love stalking bitt’s recipes for bittbars heh. thanks for your list of weekend kitchen chores, i could use getting into a routine like that…


jenny March 3, 2011 at 11:21 pm

ps. ack! i recall stoichiometry from grade 11. i’m sure you’re acing it, but good luck :)


Lynna March 3, 2011 at 11:42 pm

I make almost all my own bars at home but I still find the packaged one’s so alluring when I’m at the store. Perhaps because I haven’t perfected all my recipes yet (or I’m getting sick of only eating things I’ve made).

I’m definitely going to try your buckwheat chai bars soon! I had a Vega Vibrancy bar for the first time yesterday and really enjoyed it.


BakeMe March 4, 2011 at 12:03 am

I tend to find dates a bit too sweet for my liking..does anyone have a better idea on how to make the bar mixture stick together?

Oat flour? More nuts?


Deb March 4, 2011 at 12:46 am

Yumyumyum! I just made a batch of these lemon-kissed sweeties, and they are absolutely wonderful! In keeping with the love theme, I froze them using heart-shaped silicone candy molds…and, when I popped them out and tasted them, I just had to call them Lemon Love Bites. :)

Oh, and as far as stoichiometry goes: when in doubt, convert to moles. :)

[I was a chem nerd in my former life.]


JodyLynn March 5, 2011 at 9:31 am

Gena, I’m puckering up for that Lemon kiss as we speak! YUM! I love Larabars and Lemon is my favorite, as well! Now you’ve got my creative juices flowing and, not to mention, me salivating! Thanks for sharing this easy peasy recipe!!! I’m impressed with your organizational skills on food prepping for the week. Have a great weekend! :-)


Emily (Edible Psychology) February 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I have just come across your blog, and I really love it! I look forward to reading more.

These bars look outstanding!



Nathalie February 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I made these today and the taste is so good! Mine were really sticky though, so I added some ground flax but it didn’t help much :/ I also ended up with what seems like less volume than your’s (same thickness but in an 8×8 pan), so I’m thinking maybe I underdid it on the cashews or hemp seeds accidentally. Great taste anyway though, thanks for the recipe! And I topped mine with unsweetened shredded coconut :)


Shell February 3, 2013 at 3:21 am

These are great! I am taking these show shoeing tomorrow, so pumped for my tasty snack. : )

Thanks Gena!


Molly March 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Gena, these are just delightful. I’m trying hard to excise my fear of nuts, and these are a great reintroduction! :)


Ingrid April 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm

has anyone tried making these with almonds, a cheaper alternative to cashews?


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