Who doesn’t love a good crisp in the summer with all those fresh berries and in season fruits, it is a perfect dessert for the warmer temps! Because it is warmer, it should be served with some ice cream, just saying! When I looked up a few recipes for a crisp, I was surprised at how much butter and sugar were involved. I mean really, how is all that added sugar necessary?! I thought to myself, this has to change, there has to be a better way to enjoy a good crisp other than one that is loaded with sugar and butter. Well, I changed it, so no this isn’t a traditional crisp, but that is ok with me because it is absolutely delicious and not overly sweet, perfect for breakfast and ice cream is optional 😉
How about we make this vegan strawberry rhubarb crisp the new normal or traditional crisp? Yes please!
Rhubarb, Celery’s Fruity Look-Alike
Ok, so truth, I have only had rhubarb straight up once. That was all it took for me, it was bad you guys…really, really bad! I thought it was going to be sweet if eaten raw because prior to that this was the only way I had it. It was not sweet and I immediately regretted ingesting it. So although rhubarb is not so great raw, it is absolutely fantastic when cooked and combined with other fruits. But did you know that rhubarb is actually a vegetable, but is considered a fruit because of the way we cook it here in North America?! I know, my mind is blown right now. That does explain why it looks so eerily similar to celery though. Like celery, you have to peel it a bit after you wash it and before you cut it, otherwise it can be stringy. Rhubarb is also really high in fibre, which is great for our digestion and is a good source of vitamin K which supports bone growth. I am sure that plenty of people eat rhubarb straight up as is, but I couldn’t do it. For that reason and due to the more sour taste it provides, it is important to let it sit with some sugar before hand and mellow a little.
Strawberries: To Buy Organic or Not?
Since we have just entered the beginning stages of fresh, in-season and local berries, it is important to have a discussion on the importance of buying organic. I actually really hate to come off sounding preachy or anything when it comes to the food people should buy and how they spend their own money, but it is important that people at least have the knowledge to make that decision for themselves. If you have ever perused the Environmental Working Group’s website, you would have seen the clean 15 and dirty dozen lists, if not, please see this link. They also have a post all about the issues with conventional strawberries grown in California, which you can find here. After some digging around on the web, it seems that buying in season, local and organic strawberries are your best bet. They won’t contain the same high levels of synthetic pesticides that conventional ones do and this makes them a healthier treat not only for us, but also for those workers on the farms. Organic farming goes far beyond just the food on your plate, it affects those that are working on the farms and those that live close to the farms. Buying organic is more expensive, but considering that strawberries are now labeled as the dirtiest of all veggies and fruits it may be something you want to choose to buy organic.
Not your traditional crisp
As I stated before, this is not your traditional berry crisp! I am well aware that traditional crisps don’t have chia seeds in them or have a gluten free topping made from almond flour, rolled oats and chopped almonds but I am ok with that. I personally don’t see a problem with tweaking a traditional recipe to make it your own and if people scrunch up their noses to my changes, I look at it as if that is their issue, not mine. In my opinion, this tastes way better anyways! Traditional recipes call for cups of sugar and sticks of butter, but honestly I think that is overkill, the sweetness of the berries when they are in season don’t need so much additional sugar. When they are cooked, the flavour intensifies and the addition of rhubarb helps to balance the sweetness with a bit of sour.
While we still have fresh berries and rhubarb in Ontario, lets make the best of it and enjoy some (not-so) traditional vegan strawberry rhubarb crisp!
For the arrowroot powder, I use this brand.
For the gluten free oats, I also use this brand.
Do you like making over recipes to be a bit healthier?
- 3 cups of strawberries (washed and quartered or halved, depending on size)
- 2 cups of rhubarb (sliced and shredded of the stringy bits)
- 2-3 tbsp. coconut sugar (I wouldn't do more than 3)
- 2 tsp. chia seeds
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
- 2 tsp. of fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup almonds (roughly chopped)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Wash and chop your strawberries in half or quartered, depending on their size.
- Wash and dice your rhubarb in small slices, ensuring that you trim off or peel off the stringy part. It comes off easily, just like celery would.
- Place all ingredients for the filling in a medium sized bowl and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
- Place all ingredients in a medium sized bowl except the chopped almonds.
- Mix it up with a fork until it has come together and sticks together.
- Then add in your chopped almonds and mix it p.
- Using a mini strainer, place the filling ingredients in your oven safe dish, being careful to strain the berries from all that accumulated juice.
- Now, crumble the topping on top using your hands. This should be enough to cover the whole dish quite nicely.
- Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Check at 30 minutes and if it is getting too brown, put a lid on it and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes more.
- Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.