Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, pecans, lemon peel, and baking soda. Stir in applesauce and oil; mix well. If necessary, knead by hand to combine. Measure 1 cup of the oat mixture; set aside.
Press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Carefully spread the preserves evenly over the hot crust. Sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture; pat gently into preserves. Bake about 30 minutes more or until top is lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Cut into bars.