A lightened-up version of the classic, this Vegan Lemon Tart is made without butter, oil, or coconut, and is full of refreshing lemon juice and zest! The creamy no-bake filling rests on a gluten-free tart crust that's surprisingly easy to make. It's a healthy lemon dessert perfect for any occasion!
Why You'll Love It
This tart is so light and refreshing! Sometimes you want a rich and decadent dessert, but sometimes you need something lighter, and maybe even allergy-friendly. Adapted from my Oil-Free Lemon Bars, this healthy lemon tart is as light as it gets!
In other words, if you're looking for a really decadent lemon tart, this probably isn't the one. I have plenty of rich treats here in the Desserts section of the blog, though.
What sorbet is to ice cream, this tart is to a classic tart.
Most vegan tarts rely on coconut cream, coconut milk, and/or coconut oil to help them set and to replace the saturated fat of eggs and butter in classic tarts. My cranberry tart recipe is rich like that, too.
But for anyone with a coconut allergy or those who need to avoid saturated fat due to health reasons, they're left out of the fun. This tart is coconut-free and has only 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.
The no-bake filing is made with lemon juice, maple syrup, and silken tofu. And nope, you can't taste the tofu at all. Arrowroot starch and agar agar (seaweed-based gelatin replacement) help the filling to set while keeping it low in fat.
Related: if you enjoy coconut-free desserts, don't miss this key lime pie. It's also vegan & gluten-free!
Tart crust - I recommend this tart crust recipe because it's vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and SO easy to make. It uses almond flour to create a crisp and delicious crust without the need for any added oils. It's also very sturdy so it holds up well even after the warm lemon curd filling is poured on top.
Silken tofu - I recommend the refrigerated variety instead of the shelf-stable boxed tofu (like Mori-nu). I find the flavor of the refrigerated tofu to be much better and more mild.
Lemon zest and juice - the juiciness of lemons can be unpredictable, so it's difficult to predict exactly how many lemons you'll need. Just remember to zest 1 or 2 of them first, before slicing and juicing. If you'd like to buy bottled pure lemon juice to have on hand as backup, it works in a pinch (as a supplement), but for the best flavor try to use as much fresh juice as possible.
Maple syrup - I used golden maple syrup for its lighter color, but any variety of pure maple syrup is fine.
Arrowroot flour/starch - arrowroot is a fairly commonly ingredients in gluten-free baking, so it's usually easy to find in stores. It works similar to corn starch, but for citrus recipes I prefer arrowroot since corn starch can lose some of its thickening ability in the presence of acidic ingredients.
Agar agar - this ingredient is critical for causing the tart to set and is what allows us to keep the lemon filling very low in fat.
Ground turmeric - this is for color only, so if you don't have turmeric on hand don't fret! The filling will be a more pale yellow, but the flavor won't be impacted at all.
How To Make This Recipe
This tart is incredibly simple to make. First, make this Easy Vegan Tart Crust. I promise, it really is easy!
If you've made my gluten-free pie crust before, you know almond flour crusts aren't fussy like traditional pastry. This tart crust is very similar to the pie crust recipe but designed for a tart pan.
Bake the tart crust as directed, then let it cool. Next up, the lemon curd filling.
- Combine the silken tofu, lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, salt, and turmeric in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste the filling and add more zest if desired. Add the arrowroot and agar, and blend again.
- Pour the mixture into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking almost constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes total. Once it begins to bubble you'll only need to cook it for another minute. This activates the agar.
- Pour the filling into the baked crust and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
So easy, right? And the great thing about agar is that is sets really quickly. So unlike desserts that rely only on coconut or starches to set, this tart will be set and sliceable in about half the time!
Serving and Storing
If making this dessert for a party or event, I recommend making it the same day. Be sure to allow 2 to 3 hours for the tart to fully chill. Even though this crust holds up better than a traditional flour-based crust, it will eventually soften as the tart sits.
To save time, the crust can easily be prepared and baked a day or two in advance. Once cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
As far as storing leftovers for your own personal enjoyment, the tart keeps in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
I haven't tried freezing this dessert yet because, honestly, it's so light we have no trouble finishing it over the course of a few days. If you try freezing the leftovers let us know in the comments below!
Tip! Need to scale the recipe for a different pan size? This tart crust post has all the info you need for scaling. See the Notes section of the recipe. Or comment below and I'll be happy to help you with the math.
I hope you enjoy this light, refreshing, oil-free vegan lemon tart. If you try the recipe be sure to leave a star rating and comment below to let us know!
More oil-free vegan desserts:
Vegan Lemon Tart (Gluten-Free; Oil-Free)
- 1 baked 11-inch tart crust - Tap for the recipe.
- 12 ounces silken tofu (the refrigerated kind) - This is 1 ½ cups.
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, loosely packed
- 1 cup lemon juice plus 2 tablespoons - See Notes.
- ⅔ cup maple syrup - Use golden maple syrup if you can find it for its lighter color.
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch - Sub corn starch if necessary.
- 2 ½ teaspoons agar agar powder
- up to ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric, for color
- ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
- In a blender or large food processor combine the tofu, lemon zest and juice, maple syrup, salt, and turmeric. Blend until smooth. Taste and add more zest or another spoonful of maple syrup if desired. Add the arrowroot and agar, and blend again.
- Pour the mixture into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking almost constantly, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes total. Once the mixture is bubbling you'll only need to cook it for another minute or so to activate the agar.
- Immediately pour the filling into the baked crust, and refrigerate until cold, 2 to 3 hours. Slice and serve with fresh berries, vegan vanilla yogurt, or whipped topping.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.