What is Rhubarb?
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp is one of those things that reminds me of my grandma. With a scoop of coconut vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream melting into the warm fruit filling, and the crisp topping lending a nice crunch, it’s just the perfect old-fashioned dessert to make you feel like home.
Rhubarb isn’t the most well-known piece of produce in the market, but it has a lot to offer. For one, it’s actually a vegetable. It’s low in calories, adds a bright tang to savory and sweet dishes alike, and has plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Eaten raw or plain, it is mouth-puckeringly sour, so most rhubarb dishes have quite a lot of sugar in them. I’ve found that I don’t actually need to load a recipe full of sugar to get a delicious dessert if I pair it with the right ingredients. My trick in this healthier strawberry rhubarb crisp is to use in-season strawberries that are naturally ripe and sweet, and a little honey (or, you can use agave or pure maple syrup). A little vanilla extract in the filling and a bit of cinnamon in the crisp topping make this an excellent balance of sweet and tangy flavors.
How to Make a Crisp Topping
As for the topping, I’ve been a big fan of nut flours since we went gluten free a few years ago for my daughter. Rather than substituting a starchy gluten free flour blend in place of traditional flour for a crisp topping, I instead use whole grain rolled oats and almond flour. The texture is still crisp and almost buttery (even if you’re using coconut oil) and it’s a great complement to the fruit filling. We just add a little tapioca flour to make the texture amazing!
Tips for Making a Dessert Crisp
If you’re dairy free, you can absolutely use coconut oil here. Likewise, if you don’t care for coconut, you can use butter in this recipe. Ghee and vegan butters also work.
If you’re vegan, agave or apple honey work very well in this filling. You can sub pure maple syrup if you prefer, I just find that I can taste it a bit more than honey or agave, and I like to let the strawberries shine through.
Have nut allergies? You can substitute white flour (or an all-purpose gluten free baking mix) in its place. Do NOT try to substitute coconut flour, or your topping will be a dry, crumbly mess.
You can make your own almond flour if you’d rather not buy some. You could also experiment by grinding up other nuts (like hazelnuts or pecans) and using those in place of almond flour.
If you don’t have or care to use tapioca flour, you can use 1/4 cup cornstarch in place of the 2 Tbsp tapioca flour.
Emily writes over at One Lovely Life, where she shares fresh, colorful recipes ideas and inspiration for living a healthy, happy life.
For the filling
- 4 cups diced strawberries
- 2 cups diced rhubarb
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour sometimes called tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the crisp topping
- 3/4 cup rolled or quick-cooking oats
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 3 tbsp coconut oil or butter
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Make the filling by combing strawberries, rhubarb, juice, honey, tapioca starch, and vanilla. Stir to combine and pour into an 8×8″ (or 2 quart) baking dish.
- Make the topping by combining oats, almond flour, coconut oil, syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Mix with two forks or a pastry blender until well combined. If after a few minutes your mixture is still a bit dry, you can add a little bit more coconut oil OR syrup.
- Crumble the topping over the fruit filling.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool before serving.