Vegan and Gluten Free Lemon Lush
This Lemon Lush is light, airy, and the epitome of spring! Made with an almond flour shortbread, ‘cream cheese’ filling, lemon pudding, and vegan cool whip – it melts in your mouth!
Lemon lush is one of my favorite “guilty” desserts. It’s light, fresh, airy and just tastes like spring. My grandma has been making it since I was little, and it has been unanimously deemed one of the families favorite desserts. It literally melts in your mouth – a buttery shortbread, rich and creamy filling, lemon pudding, and an airy cool whip topping.
Since going vegan, I haven’t been able enjoy it *sad face*. So, I was on a mission to create a healthier version that’s both vegan and gluten free. Not the easiest task, but definitely worth it.
The reality of it is, sometimes we don’t have time to make a homemade dessert. Especially if we need to throw something together for a gathering but want it to look nice and taste good. So, I decided to share this family-favorite recipe as it’s somewhat homemade (but not completely) which makes it easy and simple (but will also impress a crowd). I mean, look at those layers? And the taste of lemon-y spring delight is sure to please!
Lemon Lush Ingredients
• Almond Flour – the base of the crust. It pairs perfect with the lemon and results in a buttery, moist, but crumbly shortbread-like crust.
• Walnuts – for the crust (+ omega-3s!)
• Vegan Butter – I use Country Crock or Earth Balance sticks of vegan butter. I recommend using the butter sticks as the butter spreads contain too much liquid.
• Vegan Cream Cheese – my favorite is Trader Joe’s brand, but any brand will work.
• SoDelicious CocoWhip – my favorite vegan whipped cream! It’s so light and airy. This is the one I use – you can find it at just about any grocery store.
• Powdered Sugar – just a little bit to sweeten things up.
• Jell-o Lemon Instant Pudding – surprise, it is accidentally vegan and gluten free! Also, no artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup (woop woop). You can find it on Amazon or any local grocery store. Alternatively, make your own vegan lemon pudding!
• Plant Milk – for the lemon pudding. Any kind will work. I used oat milk.
How to Make Lemon Lush
First, we prepare the crust. Simply mix together the almond flour, vegan butter and walnuts until well incorporated (I usually use my hands for this part to really get in there). Press the crust into a greased 8×8 or similar size baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Next, we prepare the first layer by mixing vegan cream cheese, cool whip, and powdered sugar. Once the crust has cooled completely, spread the cream cheese layer over top. Then, prepare the lemon pudding by mixing it with the plant milk. Spread on top of the cream cheese layer. Lastly, top it off with cool whip and garnish with chopped walnuts. It’s amazing!
Lemon lush is the perfect dessert for spring and summer gatherings. If you come to my house for Easter, you will always find this being served for dessert. It can be made in advance and left in the fridge overnight or for a few days. If you’ve never tried it, you must! And share with all those around you (as hard as it may be), because they will go crazy for it too.
More Spring Dessert Recipes
Vegan and Gluten Free Lemon Lush
'Cream Cheese' Layer
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese
- 1 cup CocoWhip
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Lemon Pudding Layer
- 2 3.4oz packets Jell-o Lemon Instant Pudding
- 2 cups plant milk plus more as needed
- Homemade Vegan Lemon Pudding
- 1 ½ cups CocoWhip
- chopped walnuts for garnish
- lemon zest for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease an 8x8 or similar sized baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour, walnuts and vegan butter. Use your hands or a pastry cutter until it is well incorporated. It will come together almost like a dough.
- Evenly press the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Add all of the 'Cream Cheese' Layer ingredients into a large bowl and beat with a stand or hand mixer using the whisk attachment until smooth.
- Evenly spread the 'Cream Cheese' Layer over the cooled crust.
- Make the Lemon Pudding Layer by adding the ingredients to a bowl and mixing with a whisk. Add more plant milk as needed 1 tablespoon at a time. The pudding should not be super runny, it should slowly fall (or glob) off the whisk. When you run the whisk through the pudding, it should leave a mark but go away after a few seconds. Alternatively, make your favorite Homemade Vegan Lemon Pudding.
- Evenly spread the Lemon Pudding Layer over the 'Cream Cheese' Layer.
- Dollop the CocoWhip on top of the Lemon Pudding Layer and smooth. Garnish with chopped walnuts and lemon zest if desired. Cover and pop in the refrigerator for a little to let it sit and thicken. Or, pop it in the freezer if you're in a rush.
- Cut into squares and serve!
- Lemon Lush can be made ahead of time, covered, and left in the fridge. I often make the crust the night before and let it cool in the fridge overnight. Then, the next day all I have to do is prepare and assemble the layers!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so it should only be used as an approximation.