Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Refined Sugar Free - Egg Free - Tasty Full
Strawberry Rhubars are lightly sweetened with fresh strawberries and maple syrup. Rhubarb is often sweetened with loads of added sugars, so that you lose any hint of its true tart flavor. While these bars aren't as bitter as eating straight rhubarb (I've tried, it's not easy), I did intentionally leave the recipe with a hint of tartness, so as not to completely abandon the true nature of rhubarb.
The oat-based crust is absolutely no joke. It's like a cookie crust made from real food. This is a big deal to me, as I love both cookies and crusts. I have struggled to find that crisp, chewy, slightly crumbly aspect in the gluten free world. Typically, I find gluten free crusts made in the raw food realm. These contain a ton of nuts, dates, and oils which leave me feeling pretty crummy and dis-satisfied. Quite frankly, they make me miss the gluten filled counterpart. This, however, is just the crust for anyone looking for a baked, gluten free, crunchy crust (sans dates), that doesn't fall apart when you pick it up!
These bars make me grin from ear to ear because they symbolize the start of longer days, more sunshine, and the promise of fresh produce just around the corner. Rhubarb doesn't ease you into spring either, it gives you a swift kick in the pants wake up call with its tartness that says, "hey you! Wake up! Get out of your sleep trousers, open the windows, and head outside!"
Not only does rhubarb act as the calling to spring, it also treats your body well with loads of minerals and vitamins. It's rich in vitamin C, which replenishes those adrenal reserves to cope with life's many stressors. Vitamin K is the most prominent vitamin in rhubarb, which supports bone, brain, and neural health. Lastly, it's a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which is good for keeping bowel movements regular, supporting blood sugar balance, and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. All things that everyone can benefit from.
Cut yourself a square and enjoy every sweet tart bite and if you really want to get fancy, top your rhubar with some Sweet Cashew Cream or dairy free ice cream. Welcome to spring.
Prep time: 30 min., Bake time: ~1 hr.
Makes: 12 - 16 bars (depending on cut size)
1 1/2 cups gf oats
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 heaping cups of rhubarb, leaves removed and cut to 1/4" slices
2 cups strawberries, quartered/chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. arrowroot flour
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup gf oats
1/4 cup almond flour (or other flour of choice)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350° F and line a 9 x 9 inch pan with unbleached parchment paper.
Blend the oats, almonds, and sea salt in a food processor until ground to fine flour (no clumps).
Slowly add melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Continue to pulse until loose dough begins to form. It should hold together when pinched.
Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and press evenly throughout to form a solid crust with no cracks. The firmer the better, so crust holds together.
Bake 14 - 18 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside on a cooling rack.
Move quickly here. Complete the filling and topping, so they are ready to add to the crust shortly after it comes out of the oven.
While the crust is baking, combine all filling ingredients into a medium saucepan.
Over medium/low heat, heat the mixture until it begins to bubble. Frequently stir to avoid burning. The mixture will bubble, thicken, and become a bit snotty/slimy in texture.
Continue to heat, and stir, until the rhubarb begins to soften (~8 - 10 min.). Remove from heat and set aside while making the topping.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a pastry knife or fork to mix until a crumble mixture forms.
Put It Together
When you've completed all pieces, pour the filling mixture over the oat crust. Using a spatula, gently press the mixture down for even coverage.
Crumble and sprinkle the topping evenly over the rhubarb mixture. (This will be sparser than when making a crumble).
Bake at 350° F for 40 - 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling throughout and the toping is golden brown in color.
Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack for at least 2 hours. Once cooled, gently lift the parchment paper (and bars) out of the pan and cut on a cutting board.
Serve just as they are or add a dollop of sweet cashew cream or your favorite dairy free ice cream.
Storage: bars will keep 4 - 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Prep: pulse and combine the dry crust ingredients a day or two in advance. Store in an airtight container. When ready to use, just add melted oil and maple syrup.
Let us know what you think in the comments below!