It’s unfortunate that the word “lemon” is slang for something that doesn’t work or is faulty or defective. Nothing could be further than the truth for the lemon fruit itself. Lemons are beautiful and brighten up any dish you use them in. They work in both sweet and savory dishes as well as in salads, salad dressings and beverages. Lemons are inexpensive and we can use the whole fruit including its juice and peel.

They are also good for our health. Lemons may taste acidic to they are one of the most alkaline-forming foods we can put into our bodies. Lemons contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus. They are high in antioxidants and cancer-fighting properties. Studies have shown lemons to be helpful with diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion as well as teeth, skin and hair care. Lemons and their juice can help prevent and/or treat kidney stones.

It sounds like lemons are just the opposite of defective since they do so much good for our bodies, our health, and our food. Take advantage of the bounty of fresh lemons and make these yellow jewels a part of your everyday routine and menu. Here are 30 sunny and zesty lemon recipes that will brighten up your meals and your day.

1. 5-Ingredient Lemon Cheesecake

5 Ingredient Lemon Cheesecake [Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free]

You’re going to love the simplicity of this 5-Ingredient Lemon Cheesecake. You probably already have all of the ingredients you need in your kitchen right now: almonds, dates, bananas, a lemon, and coconut oil. It’s super easy to put together and no baking is required.

2. Zucchini Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Drizzle Icing

Zucchini Poppy Seed Cake With Lemon Drizzle Icing [Vegan]

If you have a surplus of zucchini or other summer squash you don’t know what to do with, this Zucchini Poppy Seed Cake is the recipe to make! The zucchini adds untold moisture and subtle sweetness to this cake, poppy seeds add a little crunch, and the lemon icing gives it a tangy kick. It’s a really pretty cake too, so enjoy a slice with a cup of your favorite tea. How sophisticated!

3. Lemon Herb Pasta Salad

Lemon Herb Pasta Salad [Vegan]

This Lemon Herb Pasta Salad is light and fresh, yet still satisfying enough to be dinner. Mint, parsley, and lemon really brighten up the dish and complement the zucchini and yellow squash really well. This goes without saying, but the leftovers are fantastic!

4. Lemon and Tangerine Cake

Lemon and Tangerine Cake [Vegan]

This zesty Lemon and Tangerine Cake is a great accompaniment to your afternoon tea or coffee. The tangy lemon balances perfectly with the sweetness of the tangerine, and the flecks of lemon and tangerine zest in the cake batter are like little jewels, providing an additional burst of flavor.

5. Lemon and Ginger Spiced Soda Bread

Lemon and Ginger Spiced Soda Bread [Vegan]

These Lemon and Ginger Spiced Soda Bread rolls are inspired by Irish soda bread. They make the perfect little side accompaniment to soups and stews. They are hearty and filling and best of all so quick to make as they don’t need to be kneaded or left to rise … that’s the beauty of soda bread!

6. Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie [Vegan]

Lemon Meringue Pie, made vegan! What was once the equivalent of the Holy Grail to most plant-based pie bakers is now easily within reach, thanks to the winning combination of tofu and aquafaba! This pie is the perfect combination of sweet and tart, and it’s sure to be a hit at family gatherings or with just you and a special someone on a Sunday afternoon.

7. Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Lemon Cashew Cream

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Lemon Cashew Cream [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Though nothing is easier than opening and heating a can of soup, very few canned versions are as good as homemade. This Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Soup is simple to make and the intense flavor from the roasted peppers is amazing. The lemon cashew cream is not absolutely required, but it adds a delicious flourish to the dish making a humble bowl of soup look gourmet.

8. Simple No-Churn Lemon Balm Ice Cream

Simple No-Churn Lemon Balm Ice Cream [Vegan]

Making this Lemon Balm Ice Cream version of “nice cream” is really the easiest thing in the world. Lemon balm has such a nice flavor though not as intense as mint so extra lemon bumps up the flavor. No sweetener is needed as the frozen bananas are sweet on their own. It’s really quick, easy and fuss-free to make this bright dessert.

9. Lemon Baked Oatmeal with Raspberry Filling

Lemon Baked Oatmeal with Raspberry Filling [Vegan]

This Lemon Baked Oatmeal is inspired by layer cakes. Layers of lemon oatmeal have bright raspberry jam in the middle. So is it dessert or is it breakfast? We say yes to both!

10. Lemony Baked Tofu


This Lemony Baked Tofu is bright, light and delicious. It’s a good building block for other recipes. They are great to use in sandwiches, salads, and in Asian-inspired soups.

11. Whole Wheat Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Lemon Breadcrumbs

Whole Wheat Pasta With Sundried Tomatoes and Lemon Breadcrumbs [Vegan]

The original inspiration for this Whole Wheat Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes dish was a recipe that relied on lots of oil, salt, and dairy. This healthier version relies on the tangy flavor of sundried tomatoes and a bit of soy cream to make the rich sauce. The breadcrumbs are made with whole wheat and are brightened up with lemon zest. You’ll be happy that the recipe only serves one because you aren’t going to want to share!

12. Super Easy Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This gluten-free Super Easy Lemon Cake is easy to make and super fresh. Nuts and coconut flour replace the traditional wheat flour and it can be sweetened with your favorite sweetener. It literally takes five minutes to whip out and just 15 minutes to bake. Eat it warm or cold, it’s delicious. And did we mention it’s easy?

13. Mixed Kale Salad with Rosemary Ciabatta Croutons and Lemon Poppy Vinaigrette

Mixed Kale Salad With Rosemary Ciabatta Croutons and Lemon Poppy Vinaigrette [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Mixed Kale Salad has a bounty of farmers’ market goodness. There is tender Red Russian and green kale, organic radishes, fresh blueberries, and basil. Even garlic scapes make an appearance. It’s all combined and topped with sliced almonds and rosemary ciabatta croutons. The slightly sweet lemon poppy vinaigrette brings together this delightful salad sensation.

14. Tofu Piccata

Tofu Piccata [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Tofu Piccata is a vegan version of the Italian classic dish usually made with veal. The tofu is cooked in a delicious sauce of vegan butter, white wine, garlic, lemons, and capers.

15. Lemon Lavender Truffle Bites

Lemon Lavender Truffle Bites [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Lemon goes with lavender the way jam goes on toast or the way peanut butter goes with chocolate. These Lemon Lavender Truffle Bites will go with everything and anything. They’re easy to make and you’ll love the way the zingy lemon balances the floral lavender. A perfect pairing.

16. 7 Ingredient Lemon Coconut Squares

Lemon_Cream_Bars-10 (1)

The problem with a lot of lemon bars is that they have too much sugar and not enough lemon. The solution is these Lemon Coconut Squares. They only have seven ingredients, are deliciously creamy and have a zesty lemon touch. You can add as much or as little sweetness as you want to make them perfect for you.

17. Portobello Florentine With Lemony Hollandaise Sauce

Portobello Florentine With Lemony Hollandaise Sauce [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

This Portobello Florentine with Lemony Hollandaise Sauce is a little bit appetizer and a little bit entrée. This dish pairs sturdy Portobello mushrooms with creamy, lemony hollandaise sauce and wilted spinach. This recipe easily doubles and you’ll want to make extra because it’s going to disappear in seconds.

18. Creamy Lemon Ziti With Roasted Asparagus

Creamy Lemon Ziti With Roasted Asparagus [Vegan]

No one will believe that the creamy sauce on this Lemon Ziti with Asparagus is made with beans, but it’s true. White beans, non-dairy milk, and lemon come together for a decadent dish that’s so much healthier but doesn’t taste that way.

19. Lemon Curd Ice Cream Cake with Taco Crunch

Lemon Curd Ice Cream Cake With Taco Crunch [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Some people hear the words “lemon curd” and immediately skip that recipe for fear that it’s complicated to make, but let us assure you, the simplicity of this recipe will amaze you. This Lemon Curd Ice Cream Cake with Taco Crunch has a base of taco shell, nuts, and dates, a creamy lemon curd ice cream layer and toppings of nuts, fruit, and chocolate.

20. Lemon Seitan With Creamy Polenta


This Lemon Seitan with Creamy Polenta is one of the most popular dishes at Blossom in NYC. Tender lemony seitan is served on top of creamy, luxurious polenta. It’s hearty, full of protein and has a delicious texture and flavor. This one is great for a fancy home-cooked dinner for two.

21. Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Enjoy the zingy taste of lemon zest in this adorable Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake. It’s topped with a sweet lemon glaze for even more lemony goodness and garnished with beautiful fresh blackberries.

22. Stealthy Lemon Birthday Cake

Stealthy Lemon Birthday Cake [Vegan]

You don’t need for it to be someone’s birthday to make this delicious Lemon Birthday Cake. The fact that this lemon cake is moist and light and covered with yummy lemon icing is reason enough to celebrate.

23. Lemony Kale Chips

Lemony Kale Chips [Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free]

Kale chips are the best alternative to potato chips and other unhealthy snacks. It may seem a little strange eating kale for a snack but once you try these Lemony Kale Chips, you won’t buy a bag of chips ever again. Beware, these are highly addictive! Once you start eating them, you won’t be able to stop, but that’s okay because it’s just kale.

24. Artichoke and Spinach Risotto With Lemon Cashew Cream

Artichoke and Spinach Risotto With Lemon Cashew Cream [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Everyone’s favorite combo comes together in this amazing Artichoke and Spinach Risotto. The lemon cashew cream adds brightness to this extra-rich, super-creamy dish.

25. Lemon Coconut Curd and Cupcakes

Lemon Coconut Curd and Cupcakes [Vegan]

These Lemon Coconut Curd Cupcakes have lemon all through them. There is lemon zest and juice in the moist, tender cakes. Then there is a lemon coconut curd that not only tops the cupcakes but runs all through them too.

26. Raw Lemon Macaroons


If you like lemon and you like coconut, you’ll love these Lemon Macaroons. They’re raw and easy to make with a dehydrator. A perfect snack for anyone who’s nuts about coconut and lemons.

27. Homemade Vegan Lemon Curd

Homemade Vegan Lemon Curd [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Lemon lovers, this recipe is for you! This amazing vegan Lemon Curd is so good and so easy to make, you’ll be licking the bowl clean before you know it! It’s as easy as lemon meringue pie! Use this lemon curd in your favorite dessert or to top the perfect vegan biscuits.

28. Moroccan Tofu in a Lemon-Olive Sauce Over Spaghetti


Lemons and green olives are a match made in heaven. They make a delicious sauce that’s bright and perfect over the Moroccan Tofu cooked with warm spices and gluten-free spaghetti.

29. Lemon Cashew Tarts

Lemon Cashew Tarts [Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free]

The only thing better than vegan cheesecake is a bunch of little personal-sized vegan cheesecakes. These Lemon Cashew Tarts have an almond crust and a cashew filling that is light, delicious, refreshing and the perfect size to keep all to yourself.

30. Raw Raspberry Lemon Donut Holes

Raw Raspberry Lemon Doughnut Holes [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Lemon and raspberries hit the perfect balance of tart and sweet. These Raw Raspberry Lemon Donut Holes also have coconut inside and coconut powdered sugar on the outside for the perfect treat on a summer day.

All of these lemony recipes will fill your days with bright and sunny goodness, no matter what the weather. For even more lemon deliciousness, check out these 24 Fresh Vegan Recipes for Lemon Lovers.

Lead image source: Zucchini Poppy Seed Cake With Lemon Drizzle Icing