Healthier Cherry Swirl Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Lemon Crust

Healthier Cherry Swirl Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Lemon Crust

These creamy Greek yogurt cheesecake bars get a pop of flavor from a swirl of cherry chia seed jam, fresh blueberries, and a lemon cookie crust – all for under 200 calories!

Man, that title is a mouthful. Pun fully intended. But seriously, I was initially just going to call them Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake Bars as that was the intention, but there were a few issues with that:

  • The cherry jam ended up being more purple than red…so not quite as patriotic as I was hoping, but still pretty
  • Other than once or twice a year in the U.S. how often do you search for red, white and blue desserts?
  • That simple of a name just doesn’t encapsulate all the flavors going on in these healthier bars

So there you have it. We’re sticking with Healthier Cherry Swirl Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Lemon Crust.

Healthier cherry swirl blueberry cheesecake bar on spatula

Now, let’s break down each of those components.

What Makes these Cheesecake Bars Healthier?

As much as I love cheesecake, the calories and sugar associated is just ridiculous – especially when you can make something that’s just as creamy and satisfying with far less calories, saturated fat, and sugar.

Ways we’re lightening things up:

  • Using just 1, instead of 2, blocks of cream cheese
  • Using ⅓ reduced fat cream cheese – not non-fat though!
  • To make up for that second block of cream cheese, we’re adding in plain Greek yogurt. I like to use 2% fat so it’s still nice and creamy, but you can use 0% fat if you’d like
  • Egg whites instead of whole eggs
  • No sour cream – the greek yogurt takes care of the tang
  • Nixing the added sugar in the crust, after all the lemon cookies contain sugar already
  • Decreasing the butter to 3 tablespoons

Phew, that’s a lot of changes! But trust me when I say these are still super creamy and a total crowd-pleaser (even more so once you tell your guests that they’re also lighter 😉 ).

Bite of blueberry cheesecake on a fork

Substitutes for the Cherry Chia Seed Jam

As it’s lower in sugar, and already in my fridge, I used this cherry chia seed jam recipe.

However, if you don’t have time to whip up your own, you can use a pre-made jam. Just make sure to choose one preferably without any added sugars.

Not a fan of cherry? Raspberry or strawberry would both work – and provide a stronger red color.

Note: if you do use my recipe for the jam, make sure to follow that recipe’s instructions for blending the jam otherwise it’ll be too chunky to swirl.

Substitutes for the Meyer Lemon Cookies

I’m a sucker for all things lemon, so when I saw that Trader Joe’s has Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins every Spring, they quickly became a staple in our household.

However, I have tried using other lemon cookies, such as Lemon Nilla Wafers. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a cookie that has the same lemon punch as the Trader Joe’s Meyer Lemon one’s.

While you can try out other brands of lemon cookies (I’ve thought that lemon oreos might be worth a try, just get rid of the cream filling – I’m sure someone in your household would be happy to take care of it for you 😉 ), a classic graham cracker crust would also work well!

Just use ¾ cup of graham cracker crumbs instead.

Healthier cherry swirl blueberry cheesecake bar with a bite taken out of the corner

What You’ll Need

For the Crust:

  • 30 Trader Joe’s Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins (about ¾ cups of cookie crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 8-ounce block ⅓ reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% fat)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cherry chia seed jam
  • ¼ cup blueberries

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1: Preheat Oven, Prepare Pan, Measure Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350oF and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.

Measure out ingredients, making sure to give your cream cheese time to soften. Melt butter in microwave.

Step 2: Make Crust

Place lemon cookies in a food processor and pulse until small crumbs form.

Pour crumbs into a small mixing bowl and toss with melted butter. Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan and press into an even layer.

Step 3: Pre-Bake Crust

Place crust in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Step 4: Make Filling

Mixing cream cheese filling in Kitchen Aide mixer

While crust is baking, start filling by placing cream cheese in a mixer and beating on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until whipped and creamy.

Add yogurt, vanilla extract, egg whites, and sugar. Mix again on medium until well combined.

Next, add flour and mix until just combined. Finally, add in lemon juice and give a final stir to combine.

Step 5: Add Cherry Swirl and Blueberries

Pour filling onto pre-baked crust, using a rubber spatula to spread out the mixture evenly.

Unbaked cheesecake bars

Drop ½ teaspoon-sized dollops of jam onto filling, with some space between dollops. Using the tip of a sharp knife, swirl the jam into the filling, being careful not to scrape the crust.

Sprinkle blueberries on top, lightly pressing them into the batter.

Pan of healthier cherry swirl blueberry cheesecake bars with lemon crust

Step 6: Bake Cheesecake Bars

Place cheesecake in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes, or until set.

You’ll know when the bars are ready as most of the cheesecake will be firm but the middle will still be a little jiggly.

Pan of healthier cherry swirl blueberry cheesecake bars with lemon crust

Remove from oven.

Step 7: Chill in Fridge then Serve

Allow bars to cool slightly before covering and placing in the fridge. Chill bars for at least 3 hours before serving.

Healthier cherry swirl blueberry cheesecake bars just cut into 12 slices

When ready to cut, remove bars from fridge and slice into 12 squares. Enjoy immediately!

Fork into a healthier cherry swirl blueberry cheesecake bar with lemon crust

Goodbye to Recipe Redux!

These bars are adapted from a recipe I initially made as part of a Recipe Redux Challenge back in 2016.

One of the things I loved about Recipe Redux was that it got me to think about recipes that I never would have challenged myself to come up with on my own – at least not that early on in my blogging career.

That original challenge was to use fruits and vegetables, but in creative shapes and designs.

Being far from creative when it comes to cutting or drawing, I was beyond nervous. But through that challenge I not only learned how easy it is to make strawberry roses, but also how delicious Greek yogurt cheesecake bars are.

While I’m sad to see Recipe Redux saying goodbye, I’ll always be grateful for the support and confidence that they gave me as a new blogger.

Sliced healthier cherry swirl blueberry cheesecake bars with lemon crust

Did you make these cherry swirl cheesecake bars? Let me know how they turned out by tagging @TheHealthyToast_RD on Instagram! And don’t forget to share this recipe on Pinterest!

Healthier Cherry Swirl Blueberry Cheesecake Bars with Lemon Crust

These creamy Greek yogurt cheesecake bars get a pop of flavor from a swirl of cherry chia seed jam, fresh blueberries, and a lemon cookie crust
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time3 hrs 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Blueberry Cheesecake Bars, Healthy Cheesecake Bars, Healthy dessert
Servings: 12
Calories: 159kcal

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 30 Trader Joe’s Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins about ¾ cups of cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 8- ounce block ⅓ reduced fat cream cheese softened
  • ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt I used 2% fat
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cherry chia seed jam
  • ¼ cup blueberries

Instructions

To Make the Crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350oF and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
  • Place lemon cookies in a food processor and pulse until small crumbs form.
  • Pour crumbs into a small mixing bowl and toss with melted butter. Spoon mixture into prepared baking pan and press into an even layer.
  • Place crust in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

To Make the Filling:

  • While crust is baking, start filling by placing cream cheese in a mixter and beating on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until whipped and creamy.
  • Add yogurt, vanilla extract, egg whites, and sugar. Mix again on medium until well combined.
  • Next, add flour and mix until just combined. Finally, add in lemon juice and give a final stir to combine.
  • Pour filling onto pre-baked crust, using a rubber spatula to spread out the mixture evenly.
  • Drop ½ teaspoon-sized dollops of jam onto filling, with some space between dollops. Using the tip of a sharp knife, swirl the jam into the filling, being careful not to scrape the crust. Sprinkle blueberries on top, lightly pressing them into the batter.
  • Place cheesecake in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes, or until set. You’ll know when the bars are ready as most of the cheesecake will be firm but the middle will still be a little jiggly. Remove from oven.
  • Allow bars to cool slightly before covering and placing in the fridge. Chill bars for at least 3 hours before serving.
  • When ready to cut, remove bars from fridge and slice into 12 squares. Enjoy immediately!

Notes

Nutrition for 1/12 of recipe: 159 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated), 15 g carb, 1 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 4 g protein
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About
About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Hi, I’m Kelli McGrane MS, RD! My mission is to show you that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. I believe getting to know your food is the first step to a healthy relationship with it. Follow along in my journey to learn all I can about ingredients and cooking with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

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