Almost-vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

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I have a slight confession to make: Not everything on this blog is 100% Mr. Little Fish-approved. While I generally won’t post anything that he outright hates, there are certainly things that are far more for me than they are for him. Most of these things fall into the breakfast category (although he LOVES these muffins), because he isn’t a huge breakfast fan and because he leaves for work earlier than I do on the weekdays, which generally means that I do quite a bit of experimenting for my breakfasts. So, chia seeds? Yes, please. Spinach in my pancakes? Sure. Quinoa bakes? Absolutely. Some of these Mr. LF likes; others he would rather not have again.

So when I saw rhubarb at the farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago and knew that I wanted to make a breakfast crumble with it (after having seen this crumble from Smitten Kitchen), it was with some trepidation that I offered him a piece. His review? “This tastes healthy.” After more questioning, it turns out he doesn’t really like oats. Go figure. You didn’t think I called him picky for nothing did you?

Lucky for me, though, a ton of other people do like oats. And, also lucky for me, I have a very pregnant coworker who is more than happy to be my taste-tester for breakfast goods (she also approved the quinoa bake!). From her, this crumble got rave reviews (in ALL CAPS!). She was even surprised to learn that this crumble was vegan (I made it with all coconut oil that time), gluten-free, and refined sugar-free! Plus, if you’ve been making home-made almond milk and have been looking for something to do with the leftover almond pulp, here’s your chance (check the recipe for notes on substitutions!).

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen  and Oh She Glows
Serves 6

IMG_7502Ingredients:

IMG_7459For the filling:

1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen, diced
1 cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced small
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp real maple syrup
2 tbsp chia seeds (NOTE: if you can’t find chia seeds, you can also use 2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp warm water)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crust:
2.5 cups traditional rolled oats, divided into 1 cup and 1.5 cups
1/2 cup dehydrated almond milk pulp (NOTE: if you do not have this, just add another 1/2 cup of rolled oats)
3 tbsp butter, melted (NOTE: substitute for another 3 tbsp of coconut oil if you’d like to make this vegan)
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with parchment paper if you plan on serving these without the pan. I used a 9×6 glass baking dish, but an 8×8 would work as well.
2. In a medium pot, heat the strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, and maple syrup over medium heat until it comes to a low boil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium low, and stir in the chia seeds. Let the mixture continue to boil, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes, until the chia seeds thicken it.
IMG_74774. When the mixture becomes a thick, porridge-like consistency, remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside.
IMG_74785. While the fruit is cooking, you can start the crust (or, if you aren’t comfortable multitasking, wait until it’s done!). In a food processor or blender, add 1 cup of oats and the 1/2 cup of almond milk pulp (or another 1/2 cup of oats if you aren’t using the pulp). Blend together until it becomes a flour.

6.  Pour the flour directly into the baking dish, and add the remaining 1.5 cups of oats, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until well-mixed.
IMG_74807. Add the wet ingredients to the baking dish: butter, coconut oil, water, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix together until no flour remains visible. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture to sprinkle on the top, and use a spoon or spatula to press the mixture remaining in the pan into a flat, smooth layer.

8. Pour the berry mixture over the top of the oat crust and smooth out into another layer.

9. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the top, and then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is slightly golden brown.
IMG_749610. Allow the bars to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve as a dessert with ice cream or whipped cream, or for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt!
For leftovers, I like to reheat it for 45 seconds in the microwave, but it holds together better when its cold.
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And please tag me on instagram with pictures if you make these strawberry rhubarb bars so I can see your creations (@gwensfishfood or #gwensfishfood)! =) Happy cooking!

Almost-vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the filling:
  • 1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen, diced
  • 1 cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen, diced small
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (NOTE: if you can't find chia seeds, you can also use 2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp warm water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the crust:
  • 2.5 cups traditional rolled oats, divided into 1 cup and 1.5 cups
  • ½ cup almond milk pulp (NOTE: if you do not have this, just add another ½ cup of rolled oats)
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted (NOTE: substitute for another 3 tbsp of coconut oil if you'd like to make this vegan)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with parchment paper if you plan on serving these without the pan. I used a 9x6 glass baking dish, but an 8x8 would work as well.
  2. In a medium pot, heat the strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, and maple syrup over medium heat until it comes to a low boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low, and stir in the chia seeds. Let the mixture continue to boil, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes, until the chia seeds thicken it.
  4. When the mixture becomes a thick, porridge-like consistency, remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside.5. While the fruit is cooking, you can start the crust (or, if you aren't comfortable multitasking, wait until it's done!). In a food processor or blender, add 1 cup of oats and the ½ cup of almond milk pulp (or another ½ cup of oats if you aren't using the pulp). Blend together until it becomes a flour.
  5. Pour the flour directly into the baking dish, and add the remaining 1.5 cups of oats, the baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until well-mixed.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the baking dish: butter, coconut oil, water, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix together until no flour remains visible. Reserve ½ cup of the mixture to sprinkle on the top, and use a spoon or spatula to press the mixture remaining in the pan into a flat, smooth layer.
  7. Pour the berry mixture over the top of the oat crust and smooth out into another layer.
  8. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the top, and then bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is slightly golden brown.
  9. Allow the bars to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve as a dessert with ice cream or whipped cream, or for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt! For leftovers, I like to reheat it for 45 seconds in the microwave, but it holds together better when its cold.

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