130 Calorie Greek Yogurt Pineapple Bars
Summery squares. Lightened up with a cherry on top.
Maybe it’s the feet (plural) of snow, high-speed blizzard winds, and frigid temperatures responsible for my summer/pineapple/sunshine cravings. Seasonally challenged, remember? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that I’m headed to St. Lucia this week.
My sister’s destination wedding kicks off on Wednesday! We’re headed down to tropical paradise for 5 magical days where we’ll disconnect from the world, let our phones run out of batteries, sip fruity umbrella drinks, stick our toes in the sand, stay up late, wake up early for the sunrise, lounge by the pool, toast the happy couple, and lather our pale selves in buckets of sunscreen.
(Before I forget– more Vermont pictures on my photography blog today!)
Have you ever been to St. Lucia? This will be my second time. It’s perhaps THEE most serene, romantic, and relaxing place on the planet. Like, the second you step off the plane you feel all your worries and stress melt away. Or maybe that’s your forehead sweating because I remember that airport feeling like a sauna.
Since you can’t all join me on this beach getaway, I have the next best thing: a super light yet creamy, pineapple-infused Greek yogurt bar. Tip: slap on some sunscreen and wear sunglasses while eating to feel extra beachy.
Making them is a summer breeze. I channeled my recent Greek yogurt lemon bars, sprucing them up with a tropical makeover. Flavored with pineapple juice, topped with pineapple and cherries– frosty piña colada style. Scarfed them down because they’re only 130 calories each. I shared the recipe on Delish.com last week and decided I loved ’em too much not to share them here.
I’ve been focusing on healthier eating this month both on my blog and in my personal life. Like most of us, I felt the need for a total reset on January 1. I blame overworking and lack of sleep, but I really think it was the 78,926 Christmas cookies. Earlier this month, I read that one of the key recommendations from the New Dietary Guidelines for a healthy eating pattern is to consume a variety of protein foods, including eggs, as they include other important nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids. I’m happy to share that Eggland’s Best eggs ♥— with whom I proudly work AND what I use in my baking– provide more than double the Omega-3s, ten times more vitamin E, three times more vitamin B12 and 38 percent more lutein than ordinary eggs. For today’s Greek yogurt bars, you’ll need 2 large Eggland’s Best eggs and 1 large EB yolk.
EB eggs are 1 of the 6 simple ingredients you’ll need for the filling. With so few ingredients, each one serves an important purpose. Eggs (yolks especially), Greek yogurt, and cream cheese help set the filling. Pineapple juice and vanilla extract flavor the filling. Sugar helps it taste good. But the Greek yogurt pineapple bars aren’t super sweet– keep that in mind when you take your first bite. I reduced the sugar from traditional cheesecake bar recipes to a scant 1/4 cup for the entire pan. That, plus the sweet pineapple juice, is plenty.
The reduction of sugar is actually pretty refreshing. Without all that unnecessary sugar, other flavors can shine through like tart Greek yogurt, tangy cream cheese, and pineapple. Real food, tasting really good. It’s the cherry on top. (Ha!!!)
I forgot to mention the crust! So the crust for today’s pineapple bars is the same I use for my skinny chocolate chip cheesecake bars. It’s a thinner crust, really only to cut down on butter and save calories. If calories aren’t your concern– try my regular graham cracker crust instead.
Here’s a tip I learned after having the bars out for 500 hours shooting them: keep these chilled at all times. I find the longer the bars sat out, the softer they got and eating with a fork is your only option. Which isn’t a bad thing! I actually savor cheesecake-y bars more if I eat with a fork rather than hand-to-mouth-stuffing-my-face. Both means of eating are perfectly acceptable though. Not judging.
130 Calorie Greek Yogurt Pineapple Bars
Summer bars. Lightened up with a cherry on top. Don't skip the chilling step-- these bars need to properly set in the refrigerator like traditional cheesecake.
- 3/4 cup (85g) graham cracker crumbs (about 5-6 full sheet graham crackers)
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)
- 6 ounces (168g) brick-style light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (181g) plain nonfat or low fat Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 2 large Eggland's Best eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large Eggland's Best egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pineapple juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional: top with cherries and pineapple slices when serving
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the bars out of the pan before cutting. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Evenly press crust into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat in yogurt until completely combined. Then beat in the eggs and egg yolk until combined. Finally, beat in the sugar, pineapple juice, and vanilla extract until everything is combined and no lumps remain.
- Pour filling onto the crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center of the bars no longer jiggles (remove from the oven and gently wiggle the pan to check). Allow the bars to cool at room temperature set on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or even overnight.
- Once chilled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. For neat squares, I use a very sharp knife and wipe it clean with a paper towel after each cut. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make ahead tip: Prepare the bars 1-3 days in advance and store covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
You will need 2 large eggs plus an additional egg yolk making a total of 3 egg yolks and 2 egg whites.
Room temperature dairy and eggs mix easily and more evenly into one another. I always recommend room temperature, especially cream cheese, when making these types of bars.
Using SparkRecipes calculator, these bars come out to 129 calories, 6g fat, 13g carbs, 4g protein each. This is using Philadelphia light cream cheese, FAGE nonfat plain Greek yogurt, Eggland's Best large eggs, Dole 100% pineapple juice, and Nabisco graham crackers.
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Have you been enjoying my healthier recipes lately? I’ve had a lot of fun exploring lighter dessert and dinner options the past month, but nothing’s keeping me from cupcakes, chocolate bark, doughnuts, and cake. All new recipes coming soon!
In the meantime, check out my recent trip to Vermont as well as my new Tumblr page. I just got the Tumblr page up and running last week and am slowly loading pictures, videos, and other cool stuff for all us baking addicts.
Eggland’s Best provided me with eggs to bring you this recipe.