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Turkish Apricot Lemon Bars (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

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Raw Turkish Apricot Lemon Bar RecipeDid you know that in Latin, apricot means “precious,” a label earned because it ripens earlier than other summer fruits.  Now that I know that, I will look at apricots different… precious… I like that.   Apricots are akin to peaches. The apricot is just minus the fuzzy skin that a peach has. Both the apricot and the peach are members of the rose family. One apricot tree can produce fruit for as many as 25 years, its fruit picked by hand when firm.

Finding good apricots whether they are fresh or dried can be tricky. If you have a hard time finding seeing them, it is a sure sign that you really need to add them into your diet, because apricots are a great source of vitamin A, which is good for  your eyesight. (hehe)  One good thing to know about vitamin A is that it is a fat-soluble vitamin, which requires fats to help the body absorb them.

Bring in the healthy fats!

With the addition of almonds (fats) in this recipe, you will be able to absorb all the wonderful benefits of the vitamin A found in the apricots… great for your vision, proper immune system function, reproduction, and maintaining healthy skin, teeth, and skeletal and soft tissue.

This bar recipe can be made in as a single layer or double layer bar. For a single layer you will make one batch of the bottom crust layer, topping it off with the apricot jam.  For a double layer, you will make it the same way as mentioned above but you will also make one more batch of the crust layer.  You will then place that on top of the jam, creating a sandwich effect.  Here, I made them in a single layer.  Want to make it even more amazing?  Pop them in the dehydrator to warm them up… oooh moma!  Nothing quite like warm apricots to make your taste buds sing.

04/07/15 Update:  I have tested these bars fresh, as is once all the ingredients are put together.  Amazing!  The flavor is fresh, light and delicate. You can easily pick them up to eat them, but you can’t wrap them individually.  I also did a test batch where I dehydrated them at 115 degrees (F) for 16 hours. They turned equally amazing, but the texture and flavor did change.  Flavor-wise, they became almost sweeter and more concentrated. Texture-wise, they dried up considerably and could be wrapped individually in plastic wrap.  Enjoy!

Raw Turkish Apricots


Yields 8 x 8″ pan / 16 bars


  • 1 1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked & dehydrated
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Apricot jam:

  • 1 cup Turkish (or whatever you have) apricots (diced)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, organic



  1. Re-hydrate the dates by placing them in a bowl and adding enough warm water to cover them.  Set aside for roughly 15 minutes.
    • The re-hydratation will help to soften the dates, making them easier to blend.
    • Once they are done soaking, drain and discard the soak water.  Hand-squeeze the excess water from them as well.
    • Tip: you can save the soak water and use in a smoothie to add a bit of natural sweetness.
  2. Place the almonds and the salt in the food processor. Process to a small crumble texture.
    • Don’t over process, creating a nut butter, unless of course that is what you want :).
  3. Add the shredded coconut and pulse together.
    • If you only have coconut flakes on hand, place them in the food processor by themselves and break them down to a small crumble.
  4. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice.
    • Zest the lemon before you cut and juice it.  This will make that task easier.
  5. Line the base of 8 x 8″ pan and firmly press the crust into the base, nice and even.  Set aside as you prepare the jam.


  1. Combine the apricots and strawberries in your food processor and process till it creates a paste-like texture.
    • This makes a wonderful jam for crackers and breads as well.
    • Using a combination of dried and fruit, creates a great texture that isn’t too runny or thick.


  1. Spread jam mixture on top of the bottom layer of the bars.
    • Then place the remaining batter on top of the jam if you are making a sandwich effect.
    • Press gently so you don’t squish all the jam out, cover and place in fridge to chill.
  2. I like to slice the bars and wrap each one in cling wrap for the ease of “grab-in-go”.
  3. Store left-overs in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Dehydration Option:

  1. Above, I shared that these bars are wonderful fresh as well as they are dehydrated.  Please read above just in case you skipped all of that.
  2. After assembling the bars and cutting them into 2″ squares, place the bars on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.
  3. Dry at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees (F) for up to 16 hours.  I recommend that you check on them off and on till they reach the texture that you want.
  4. Allow them to cool before wrapping.
  5. This step greatly increases their shelf life.   I would safely give them a few weeks of not longer.

The Institute of Culinary Ingredients™

  • Dates are an amazing ingredient for raw food recipes,  click (here) to read why.
  • What is Himalayan pink salt and does it really matter?  Click (here) to read more about it.

Culinary Explanations:

  • Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F).  Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
  • When working with fresh ingredients it is important to taste test as you build a recipe.  Learn why (here).


One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage.  Daily I get questions regarding substitutions.  Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe.    I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family.  I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item.  Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient.   Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself.   So have fun, don’t be afraid,  and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.

For this recipe I used my 8×8″ pan that has a bottom that lifts out.

Perfect for bar making.  I like to wrap it with plastic wrap for the ease

of removal.  Press the bottom crust layer evenly and firmly in the pan.

 Raw Turkish Apricot Lemon Bar Dough in Baking Pan

Spread the jam on top and slide into the fridge to chill.

Spread the jam on top of the dough and slide into the fridge to chill

Once chilled, lift the base out and cut into 2″ squares.  Enjoy

right away or pop in the dehydrator to warm them.

Raw Turkish Apricot Lemon Bar Slice with Stawrberry

The above photo – No dehydrating involved.

The below photo – Dehydrated for 16 hours.

Raw Turkish Apricot Lemon Bars Ready to eat!

14 thoughts on “Turkish Apricot Lemon Bars (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

  1. sarahsue says:

    O my word! i love these. I used half the amount of everything because i wasnt sure if i was going to like lemon and coconut together, but mmMM! delish. I also used a vanilla pod instead of the extract and next time i will put very slightly less salt i think. Everyone thats tasted them love them too, so that means they disappeared very quickly. but will be making them again soon. Thank you for posting this recipe.

    • amie-sue says:

      That is wonderful to hear sarahsue! Thank you for sharing. :) These were always a hit when I made them too. :) Have a great weekend, amie sue

  2. ben says:

    Hi, Amie-Sue.

    Quick question: you said in the directions you make a double batch (for the nut layer). Does the recipe you’ve given (for Bottom & Top layer) have enough “batter” for the bottom and top, or should I double the amounts of the ingredients to make 2 layers?


    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Ben, Sorry that I didn’t get to this earlier in the day, I have been out and about. :) That is a great question and I will fix the recipe to be more clear for the future… but the ingredients listed for the top and bottom layer is for one layer, so double that if you want to make the top and bottom. It will depend too on what size pan you use, you can make them as thick or as thin as you want. Thanks for asking! amie sue

  3. ben says:

    Thanks, Amie-Sue. I went ahead & made a batch without doubling the layers (I didn’t see your note until now). I had to stretch the batter a bit, but it tasted amazing regardless. Many thanks.

  4. Wendy says:

    Hi Amie-sue,
    Beautifull display of what appears and sounds delightful .
    My interpretation of the last photo is: ” there is only a bottom crust with a delicious looking topping” So… I ask > can I make a single crust and dehydrate it rather than chill it? It is appealing to me like a piece of short bread covered in yummy ” jam” . Can one dehydrate that combo of those divine ingredients?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Wendy… yes I just made this one a single layer. I actually have a batch in the dehydrator now to see how it stands up to the heat. I have both layers on there. It’s wonderful to warm it up in there, that has been tested but we shall see how it turns out tomorrow. :) Have a great evening, amie sue

      • amie-sue says:

        Wendy, I just pulled the dehydrated bars out and shared the outcome up above. They turned out great but much different in flavor and texture then if enjoyed fresh without drying them. amie sue

        • Wendy says:

          Oooooh!!! A Yummy looking dehydrated version
          Thank you Amie-sue
          What was the dehydrating temperature you chose for those 16 hours ?

          • amie-sue says:

            Always 115 degrees Wendy :) Well sometimes I do 145 degrees for one hour, then reduce to 115 degrees, but for these is just did the whole time frame at 115 because I had to leave the house right away and wouldn’t have been able to turn the temp down. :) Have a happy day, amie sue

  5. Gayle says:

    any suggestions for what to use if not in strawberry season? can I use frozen or what?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Gayle,

      You can use frozen, just thaw and drain any syrup from them. You can also use any berry as well. :) amie sue

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