Fig and Prosciutto Salad

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For someone who, not long ago, would gag at the suggestion of a salad for dinner, it’s slightly unsettling that this has been the Summer of Salads. In just a few short months, I’ve brought you a tuscan kale salad, a cucumber caprese salad, and a watermelon mint steak salad. And just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more salads up my sleeve? I bring you this: a blue-cheese-stuffed and prosciutto-wrapped fig salad. If you think that sounds pretty fancy for a salad, it is. But whoever said salads had to be boring?

I’d been on the lookout for figs at the farmer’s market for months now. I remember one time in May, I thought I’d seen figs in the Central Market flyer, so I went determinedly to go find some. After painstakingly browsing each fruit bin, Mr. Little Fish decided to just ask a worker where we could find them. “See those bins with the bananas? Right next to them.”  Yes! I thought, as I quickly shuffled between the crowd to get to them. Alas, upon arrival, only lowly dates sat in their place. Of course, when we went to ask again, employee-man said he thought we’d said dates, but figs, well, they didn’t have any. Sigh.

So, I waited, drooling over the fig pictures that kept popping up on my instagram. I had never even tried fresh figs before, only dried, but I had convinced myself they would be my new favorite thing. So, I went to the farmer’s market every weekend, crossing my fingers that this would be the time. Once, I happened across Confituras (find them on instagram!), a local small-batch jam maker, at the farmer’s market and bought some of her sugar fig jam, which was so good that I temporarily forgot about The Search for Figs.

But then, one Saturday, my friend M realized that she had weekends to herself again, so we decided to celebrate. I suggested going to the lobster roll truck at the farmer’s market, because when else is a great time to buy a $16 sandwich than when you’re feeling celebratory? So, off we went, with butter lobster rolls on our minds, and all thoughts of figs forgotten. But lo and behold, at the tiniest table in the whole market: baskets and baskets of fresh figs. Despite the odd looks I was getting from my friend M, I couldn’t contain my joy. I strolled right up to the vendor, said “that one!” while assertively pointing at the cute container on the corner, and handed over the cash. I was a woman on a mission. Feeling giddy with accomplishment, I asked the vendor was his favorite way to eat the figs was, and he suggested wrapping them in prosciutto and grilling them. PURE GOLD, I thought.

The idea went even further when, two stalls down, I happened across my favorite goat-cheese maker, CKC Farms. The enabler than I am, I convinced my friend M to try their plain goat cheese while I sampled there baby blue. Although I’m not typically a fan of blue cheese, I loved this one! It was very silky and smooth and had that lovely creaminess that goat cheese has. Remembering my plan for the figs, I declared that before wrapping them in prosciutto, I would first stuff them with this cheese. Meanwhile, my friend M shot darts at me with her eyes as she handed over the cash for the goat cheese she couldn’t stop herself from buying. =)

Thus, this salad was born on a weeknight after work two nights later. I paired it simply with a bed of arugula, some walnuts sprinkled over the top, and with a dash of balsamic vinegar. You can add whatever you’d like to it. You could even go fancier by reducing the balsamic vinegar with some honey until it’s a lovely, sweet syrup.  If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, this would work just as well stuffed with regular old goat cheese or, if you’re dairy-free, no cheese at all. Also, I ate this as a meal itself, but it would definitely make a great side for a steak on a date night (you’re welcome. 😉 !

Fig and Prosciutto Salad
Serves 2

IMG_7881Ingredients:

1 pint fresh figs, gently washed and dried
3 oz prosciutto
1 small package baby blue goat cheese
4 cups baby arugula
1-2 tbsps walnuts
2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp bacon fat or butter, for grilling

Directions:

1.  Using a sharp knife, delicately cut each of the figs in half. If they are very ripe, they will be a little mushy and you don’t wanna squish them too much.
IMG_78852.  Use a spoon to put a tiny bit of blue cheese in the center of each fig half. The amount should be proportional to the size of the fig and to your own personal preference.
IMG_78873.  Then, since my figs were quite small, I tore each piece of prosciutto into threes and carefully wrapped each third around one fig half. Make sure to wrap it fairly tightly so that the fig stays in the prosciutto when frying.
IMG_78884. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat, and add the fat. Once the fat is melted and/or started to lightly smoke, use tongs to place each fig half in a circle lining the outside of the pan and work clockwise until you get to the center. This will help you remember which figs hit the heat first, so you’ll follow the same pattern when it comes time to flip. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Use tongs to flip each fig over, and allow to sit another 2-3 minutes, until desired brownness. Remove from plate and turn off the heat.
IMG_78905. On a separate plate, put down about 2 cups of the arugula. Top with 4-5 figs, a tablespoon of walnuts, and more blue cheese crumbles, and drizzle about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over it. Enjoy!
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Grilled Fig and Prosciutto Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 pint fresh figs, gently washed and dried
  • 3 oz prosciutto
  • 1 small package baby blue goat cheese
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1-2 tbsps walnuts
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat or butter, for grilling
Directions
  1. Using a sharp knife, delicately cut each of the figs in half. If they are very ripe, they will be a little mushy and you don't wanna squish them too much.
  2. Use a spoon to put a tiny bit of blue cheese in the center of each fig half. The amount should be proportional to the size of the fig and to your own personal preference.
  3. Then, since my figs were quite small, I tore each piece of prosciutto into threes and carefully wrapped each third around one fig half. Make sure to wrap it fairly tightly so that the fig stays in the prosciutto when frying.
  4. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat, and add the fat. Once the fat is melted and/or started to lightly smoke, use tongs to place each fig half in a circle lining the outside of the pan and work clockwise until you get to the center. This will help you remember which figs hit the heat first, so you'll follow the same pattern when it comes time to flip. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Use tongs to flip each fig over, and allow to sit another 2-3 minutes, until desired brownness. Remove from plate and turn off the heat.
  5. On a separate plate, put down about 2 cups of the arugula. Top with 4-5 figs, a tablespoon of walnuts, and more blue cheese crumbles, and drizzle about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over it. Enjoy!

Banana Oat Bread

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I had originally intended on posting a recipe that uses the Jalapeno Hatch Pepper Jam from HEB that I’ve been obsessed with, but then I realized that I had three bananas that were quickly getting on the ugly side of ripe, and I decided to make this recipe instead. Because, banana bread. Duh.

I don’t really have a fun story to tell today, so I’ll just tell you about this bread and save the stories for when I have more energy to tell them (something I think that this weekend’s beach time will go a long way towards restoring!). The original recipe came from pinterest, where one of my coworkers had pinned this recipe from the Healthy Apple. I’ve loved the idea of using oats as a flour since I first made my strawberry rhubarb breakfast bars a while back. I love using oats as flour mostly because I’m too cheap to buy fancy gluten-free flour mixes (or really, any specialty flour, coconut and almond included). I really try to stay away from the treats more generally (and making treats with coconut or other gluten-free flour are still treats!), so I also don’t really buy those things on principal–I know that buying them will make me feel like I need to use them and BAKE ALL TH E THINGS, which sort of defeats the purpose of clean eating.

So oats–>flour. What I especially like about using oats is that, even if you indulge more than you should in said baked good, all you’re really doing is eating oatmeal. And oatmeal is healthy sooooo the baked good is healthy too (right??! Right.)! It’s a little mindhack I use when I want to feel a little decadent but don’t really wanna ruin a good streak I’m on. As it stands, this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, refined-sugar free, and dairy-free. BUT the decadence can definitely be fine-tuned: want to err on the side of dessert? Add more chocolate chips and maybe a tablespoon more of maple syrup. Want to make this super healthy and nut free? Omit the chocolate chips entirely and substitute the walnuts for sunflower seeds and/or pepitas. Don’t care about being vegan? Use butter in the place of the coconut oil. You can make this recipe totally yours! And really, all it is is oatmeal. 😉

Banana Oat Bread
Serves 6

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Ingredients:  

2.5 cups gluten-free traditional rolled oats
3 tbsp real maple syrup
4 tbsp melted coconut oil+more for greasing
3 medium bananas, very ripe
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips if you don’t mind a bit of dairy
2 tsp ground flax-seed

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a tiny bit of melted coconut oil to grease your loaf pan well. Set the pan aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, add your rolled oats, and blend until you have a fine flour.

3. In the same blender/processor, add the baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon and mix everything together. I used a fork, but you could easily just give the blender/processor another couple of pulses to blend.
IMG_77904. In a large bowl, use a potato masher (or a fork) to mash your bananas together until almost smooth.

5. Add your maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla extract to the bananas and mix well.
IMG_77886. Then add the dry oat mixture, the chocolate chips, and the walnuts to the mixture, and mix until you can’t see any dry oats anymore.

7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and use a spoon to smooth it out so it’s evenly distributed.  Sprinkle the flaxseed over the top.

8. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

9. Remove from oven, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm by itself, with a pat of butter, or with your favorite jam!
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Banana Oat Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Bread
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups gluten-free traditional rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil+more for greasing
  • 3 medium bananas, very ripe
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup walnut pieces
  • ⅓ cup
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • or regular chocolate chips if you don't mind a bit of dairy
  • 2 tsp ground flax-seed
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a tiny bit of melted coconut oil to grease your loaf pan well. Set the pan aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, add your rolled oats, and blend until you have a fine flour.
  3. In the same blender/processor, add the baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon and mix everything together. I used a fork, but you could easily just give the blender/processor another couple of pulses to blend.
  4. In a large bowl, use a potato masher (or a fork) to mash your bananas together until almost smooth.
  5. Add your maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla extract to the bananas and mix well.
  6. Then add the dry oat mixture, the chocolate chips, and the walnuts to the mixture, and mix until you can't see any dry oats anymore.
  7. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and use a spoon to smooth it out so it's evenly distributed. Sprinkle the flaxseed over the top.
  8. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm by itself, with a pat of butter, or with your favorite jam!

Watermelon Mint Salad and How to Cook the Perfect Steak in the Oven

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Long title, I know. But really, this recipe is two recipes in one. You could easily make the watermelon salad by itself if you’re just looking for a nice, refreshing side. Or you could also make just the steak. Or, best of all, you could just make both.

Just like the restaurant in Denver where I first had it on a weekend trip with Mr. LF and our friends K and M a month ago. After two days of hiking in the wonderful Colorado mountains, we’d decided it was time to explore the city we were actually staying in. Our first stop was The Great Divide brewery, which was so great  (see what I did there?)that we didn’t actually end up exploring very far. But it was totally worth a lovely afternoon sampling all their beers and doing a fun tour around the brewery.

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Side note: While we were there, small world that it is, we actually ended up seeing one of M’s friends that she’d met while studying abroad! Isn’t that crazy? I love those serendipitous moments. But anywho, with the beer running through my system, both literally and figuratively, I became curious about this group of locals waiting in line with me for the restroom. I feel like typically only tourists end up going to these sorts of things, so I decided to chat them up. I asked their opinions on this brewery versus others, and they said Great Divide was a good one and also suggested a German-style brewery that Mr. LF and I spent our last day at. They also volunteered that if we were looking for a great place to eat that was close by, we should check out Steuben’s. Since yelp hadn’t actually been steering us in the right direction, we decided to give it a try.

Beer tends to fill me up, so I wasn’t actually that hungry when we got there. Which meant that I thought I’d take the opportunity to order a salad off the menu, something I rarely do. When the waiter came around, I ordered the watermelon mint salad, and he asked whether I wanted grilled chicken or flank steak on top. Although I typically don’t give in to these up-sells, the drunk munchies had me giving an enthusiastic, “YES steak please!”

Thus, this salad was born. It could definitely have been the beer talking, but it was the best salad I’d had in a long time. I knew that I would recreate it as soon as I got home, and here it is! Feel free to use any protein you want–I’ve made this with beef sirloin and ribeye and with the backstrap of a nilgai.. And, since it’s summer, feel especially free to put it on the grill instead of cooking it in the oven! =) Happy 4th!

Watermelon Mint Salad with Grilled Steak
Serves 2

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Ingredients:

2 cups seedless watermelon, diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
2 handfuls spinach or other leafy green (I’ve used arugula before with great results)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup mint leaves (about 15 leaves) or more, to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Optional: goat feta cheese
1 lb grass-fed steak of choice
1 tbsp coconut oil or bacon grease, melted

Directions:

For the salad
1. In a large bowl, mix together the watermelon, cucumber, and spinach.
IMG_75682. Mince your mint leaves.

3. Add the minced leaves to a small bowl, and add in the honey, olive oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
IMG_75744. Whisk together until well blended, and pour the dressing in the large bowl with the veggies. Mix until well-coated. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate while you make the steak.

For the steak:
5. Open the package of steak, and drain any juices. Place the steak on a cutting board, and use a few paper towels to blot the steak dry. Let the steak come to room temperature if it isn’t already.
IMG_75826. Turn on your oven’s broiler to high, and place an oven rack about 6-8 inches below the broiler. Put a cast iron grill pan (or regular skillet) on the rack to heat it up with the oven.
7.  Using a pastry brush, brush the coconut oil or bacon grease onto both sides of the steak. Generously season each side with the salt and pepper.
IMG_75838. Turn a burner on your stove to medium high. Make sure that your house is well-ventilated, as the pan and the steak are going to produce a lot of smoke (I put a fan in my window that pulls the smoke outside)!
9. Using an oven mitt, carefully take the cast iron pan out of the oven, and place it on the burner you turned on earlier. I like to put a little bit more of the bacon grease into the pan at this point to help keep it from sticking.
IMG_758510. Use tongs to place the steaks onto the hot grill pan. It will sizzle and smoke! DO NOT TOUCH IT. Cook the steak for 30 seconds. Then, flip it over and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
IMG_758711. Use your oven mitt to put the cast iron pan with the steak back into the oven. Turn off your stove burner, and cook the steak for 2 minutes in the oven. After two minutes, open the oven, and use your tongs to flip the steaks one more time. Cook for an additional 2 minutes for a medium rare to medium steak. If you’d like it closer to being well-done, leave for another minute.
IMG_759012. Take the pan and steaks out of the oven, and remove the steaks to a cutting board. Tent loosely with foil to allow them to rest (this is where the juices redistribute so you don’t get a dry steak) for about 5 minutes.

13. While the steak is resting, take your salad out of the fridge, and plate onto two large bowls. If you eat cheese, sprinkle some of the feta over it.
14. After 5 minutes, slice your steak against the grain, and then fan the pieces on top of your salad!
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Watermelon Mint Salad and How to Cook the Perfect Steak in the Oven
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2 handfuls spinach or other leafy green (I've used arugula before with great results)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup mint leaves (about 15 leaves) or more, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Optional: goat feta cheese
  • 1 lb grass-fed steak of choice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or bacon grease, melted
Directions
  1. For the salad
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the watermelon, cucumber, and spinach.
  3. Mince your mint leaves.
  4. Add the minced leaves to a small bowl, and add in the honey, olive oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together until well blended.
  5. Pour the dressing in the large bowl with the veggies, and mix until well-coated. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate while you make the steak.
  6. For the steak:
  7. Open the package of steak, and drain any juices. Place the steak on a cutting board, and use a few paper towels to blot the steak dry. Let the steak come to room temperature if it isn't already.
  8. Turn on your oven's broiler to high, and place an oven rack about 6-8 inches below the broiler. Put a cast iron grill pan (or regular skillet) on the rack to heat it up with the oven.
  9. Using a pastry brush, brush the coconut oil or bacon grease onto both sides of the steak. Generously season each side with the salt and pepper.
  10. Turn a burner on your stove to medium high. Make sure that your house is well-ventilated, as the pan and the steak are going to produce a lot of smoke (I put a fan in my window that pulls the smoke outside)!
  11. Using an oven mitt, carefully take the cast iron pan out of the oven, and place it on the burner you turned on earlier. I like to put a little bit more of the bacon grease into the pan at this point to help keep it from sticking.
  12. Use tongs to place the steaks onto the hot grill pan. It will sizzle and smoke! DO NOT TOUCH IT. Cook the steak for 30 seconds. Then, flip it over and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  13. Use your oven mitt to put the cast iron pan with the steak back into the oven. Turn off your stove burner, and cook the steak for 2 minutes in the oven. After two minutes, open the oven, and use your tongs to flip the steaks one more time. Cook for an additional 2 minutes for a medium rare to medium steak. If you'd like it closer to being well-done, leave for another minute.
  14. Take the pan and steaks out of the oven, and remove the steaks to a cutting board. Tent loosely with foil to allow them to rest (this is where the juices redistribute so you don't get a dry steak) for about 5 minutes.
  15. While the steak is resting, take your salad out of the fridge, and plate onto two large bowls. If you eat cheese, sprinkle some of the feta over it.
  16. After 5 minutes, slice your steak against the grain, and then fan the pieces on top of your salad!

Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal

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Another oatmeal post, you ask? Why, yes, another oatmeal post. I’ve had this recipe on the back burner for a while now.  I’m always looking for new ways to cook oats that doesn’t involve that much work.  Especially now that summer is in full swing, the less effort I have to make on my busy mornings, the better. I’ve done slow cooker steel oats, which were delicious but seem more “fall” to me. I’ve done these day-off oats, which were also delicious but definitely too much work for a weekday. I’ve also done overnight oats, which are really the lazy-woman’s oats, but also require a little bit of forethought and planning. And now, I’ve discovered baked oatmeal, which requires a little work up front but then gives you a solid breakfast for the next 6 days!

My first encounter with baked oatmeal was through this Oh She Glows recipe for heavenly baked carrot cake oatmeal. As advertised, it was heavenly. If you ever want to trick your body into thinking you’re eating cake for breakfast, that recipe is the way to go. Especially if you slathered some cream cheese on top.  Yum.

But I couldn’t leave things well enough alone, and my mind started racing. Sure, this had carrots, but what if we took this another step further and add everyone else’s favorite veggies for baked goods: zucchini? Luckily, I’d gotten a steal of a deal at the farmer’s market and was overflowing with zucchini. I’ve also always been a fan of the whole “morning glory” muffins thing, so I decided to put those flavors into my own spin of the Oh She Glows recipe: morning glory baked oatmeal with apple, zucchini, and carrots.

I am so happy with the results. My parents, in town last weekend for Father’s Day, were too. 😉 I streamlined the recipe, a la my strawberry rhubarb bars, to make it as one-pot  as possible, aside from the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can definitely use a cheese grater or even just a julienne peeler. The accolades on this dish are plenty: it’s refined-sugar-free, gluten-free (make sure to get them certified if you are allergic), dairy-free, and vegan (and can easily be made nut-free, if necessary)! Plus, veggies! I like to top mine with Greek yogurt and a little maple syrup or with just coconut milk poured around it. Feel free to use any nut you have on hand! My pictures below show both a pecan and a walnut version, and I liked both plenty!

IMG_7530Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal
Serves 6

IMG_7085Ingredients:

2 cups traditional rolled oats (NOT instant)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup grated/shredded carrots (I bought this already grated)
1 medium zucchini
1 organic green apple, cored and quartered (apples are on the dirty dozen list, so if you get it conventional, make sure to also peel)
2 cups non-dairy milk (both coconut and almond work well here)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Coconut oil, for greasing

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and lightly grease a 9×6 or 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil.
2. Using the shred-blade on your food processor or the large holes on a cheese grater, shred your zucchini and apple. I also shredded my grated carrots because they were quite thick.

3. Dump the shredded fruit and veggies mixture onto a kitchen towel, and squeeze out the water.  Zucchini produces a ton of water, so this step helps to give you better control over how watery your oatmeal will be. The veggies will be in a compact ball when you’re done.

4. In the greased baking dish, add the dry ingredients: oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Whisk together so that the spices are evenly distributed.

5. In a small bowl, mix together your wet ingredients: the shredded fruits and vegetables, applesauce, milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup.
IMG_75226. Pour the wet mixture into the pan with the dry ingredients, and mix together. Smooth out the mixture and press down the oats so that they are covered with the milk. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top and press them down into the mixture as well.
IMG_75247. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden brown along the edge and top. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. These are not bars so they are not meant to stick together, but allowing them to cool will keep it from becoming a crumbly mess.
IMG_75258. Serve with Greek yogurt and maple syrup….
IMG_7534or in a bowl with milk poured over like normal oatmeal!
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Morning Glory Baked Oatmeal
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups traditional rolled oats (NOT instant)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup grated/shredded carrots (I bought this already grated)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 organic green apple, cored and quartered (apples are on
  • the dirty dozen list
  • , so if you get it conventional, make sure to also peel)
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (both coconut and almond work well here)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Coconut oil, for greasing
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and lightly grease a 9x6 or 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Using the shred-blade on your food processor or the large holes on a cheese grater, shred your zucchini and apple. I also shredded my grated carrots because they were quite thick.
  3. Dump the shredded fruit and veggies mixture onto a kitchen towel, and squeeze out the water.  Zucchini produces a ton of water, so this step helps to give you better control over how watery your oatmeal will be. The veggies will be in a compact ball when you're done.
  4. In the greased baking dish, add the dry ingredients: oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Whisk together so that the spices are evenly distributed.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together your wet ingredients: the shredded fruits and vegetables, applesauce, milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Mix well.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the pan with the dry ingredients, and mix together. Smooth out the mixture and press down the oats so that they are covered with the milk. Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top and press them down into the mixture as well.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden brown along the edge and top. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. These are not bars so they are not meant to stick together, but allowing them to cool will keep it from becoming a crumbly mess.
  8. Serve with Greek yogurt and maple syrup....
  9. or in a bowl with milk poured over like normal oatmeal!

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.
IMG_7510

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.