Nourishing Rhubarb and Rolled Oat Crisp
This sweet-tart rhubarb crisp has a nourishing rolled oat and hemp heart crisp layer and just a hint of ginger and vanilla. It’s an easy, one bowl dessert that is as delicious with a scoop of ice cream for dessert as it is with some yogurt for breakfast…and yes, it’s vegan, low FODMAP and gluten free, but no one will know!
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You might expect that a dietitian is going to tell you that fruit makes a wonderful dessert all on its own but the reality is that in my mind, plain fruit is a snack and you’ve got to fancy it up to qualify as an actual dessert…whether it’s a rustic rhubarb galette, a refreshing blueberry sorbet or a peach and blackberry crumble.
And one of my favourite fruit desserts of all time is a crisp: I grew up eating rhubarb crisp all summer long, so this is such a nostalgic dessert for me! My grandmother always made her rhubarb crisp with cinnamon but I love the combination of tart, fragrant rhubarb with a bit of ginger and vanilla because it creates this beautiful complexity and fragrance that is so special.
As far as plant-based recipes go, this rhubarb crisp has got it all: a hearty, fibre-rich crisp topping made from rolled oats and omega 3-rich hemp hearts to sneak in a bit of extra nutrition and a fragrant, jammy rhubarb base that is sweet enough that NO ONE will think of this as just a “healthy” dessert. It’s satisfying, flavourful and 100% delicious.
Because to me, eating well isn’t just about being free from everything…including sugar. It’s about creating a plant-rich pattern of eating that keeps you feeling energized and well nourished enough to enjoy your sweets from time to time with zero issue.
And if that is the kind of healthy eating philosophy you can live by, you should check out my book Good For Your Gut, which will change your mind about what gut-friendly food tastes like! It’s got 90+ delicious recipes designed with gut health in mind, including over 30 low FODMAP recipes for anyone with IBS who needs to follow a low FODMAP diet.
Gather your ingredients to make this yummy rhubarb crisp!
This nourishing rhubarb crisp is made from mostly pantry ingredients! It is vegan, low FODMAP and gluten free (when made with gluten free oats) and can be made nut free too.
- Rhubarb: look for firm stalks, with no mushy bits. And be sure to trim off any leaves, as they are inedible! You can totally make this with frozen rhubarb, just thaw and drain before using.
- Rolled oats: rolled oats are a nourishing whole grain rich in beta glucan soluble fibre, which helps to support blood sugar balance and healthy cholesterol levels as well as boost the gut microbiome.
- Hemp hearts: one of my favourite plant-based baking hacks is to swap in ½ cup of hemp hearts for ½ cup of the flour in a recipe. It works in most cookies and quick bread recipes and gives you a boost of minerals like zinc, plant-based protein and omega 3 fatty acids!
- Cane sugar: yes, I’m using real sugar here…and not a tiny amount. Why? Because A) rhubarb needs it and B) its a total misconception that coconut sugar or maple syrup is somehow healthier. Sugar is sugar. And this is a dessert! If you are used to low sugar desserts, feel free to reduce the sugar in the fruit mixture to ½ cup total.
- Cornstarch: cornstarch helps to create a thick, saucy texture in the fruit mixture. You can also substitute arrowroot starch if you prefer.
- Walnuts or almonds: I love the crunch of nuts in my crisp topping but if you are allergic, you can totally omit them or swap in some sunflower seeds.
- Extra virgin olive oil: whenever I can, I will use olive oil in my baking because it’s such a heart healthy fat. This works best in flavourful desserts with whole grains, richly flavoured fruits or chocolate… you won’t even notice it!
- Ginger, Vanilla, Cinnamon: I like a bit of extra flavouring in my rhubarb crisp because I think it really enhances the complexity of the flavours but in a pinch, you could leave them out!
How to make this gluten free rhubarb and rolled oat crisp
One of the beauties of a dessert like this is that it requires minimal skill and less than 15 minutes of hands on time! While it bakes, you can be doing other things…and it’s a great make-ahead dessert as it will sit happily on the counter all day.
Step One: make the fruit mixture. First, you’ll toss the rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, ginger, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl until rhubarb is well-coated. Scrape that into a parchment-lined baking dish.
Step Two: make the crisp topping. In the same bowl, stir together the oats, hemp hearts, walnuts, sugar, olive oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Then sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit mixture.
Step Three: Bake! Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, until the crisp topping is golden and the fruit mixture is bubbling. You can serve warm, room temperature, or cold…it’s absolutely delicious on its own or with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream or yogurt.
FAQ: what is the difference between a crumble and a crisp? While we (and by we, I mean I) use the terms crumble and crisp interchangeably, they are technically two different desserts! A crumble has a topping made from flour and a crisp is made with a rolled oat topping.
Tips, Tricks and Substitutions
- You can store this rhubarb crisp on the counter for a day, or in the fridge, covered for 3-4 days. Enjoy leftovers cold, or warm them in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
- Yes, you can decrease the sugar in this recipe if you like: take the sugar down to ½ cup in the fruit mixture if you enjoy your dessert tart!
- This crisp topping will taste delicious with any seasonal fruit. When not using rhubarb, I use just ⅓ cup of sugar to enhance the natural sweetness.
- One serving of this crisp is low FODMAP! All the ingredients are low FODMAP, including rhubarb which is low FODMAP in one cup servings.
More yummy rhubarb recipes!
Nourishing Rhubarb and Rolled Oat Crisp
- 2 pounds rhubarb stalks, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices
- ¾ cup cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, or arrowroot powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Rolled Oat and Hemp Crisp Topping
- 1 ¼ cup rolled oats, gluten free if needed
- ½ cup hemp hearts
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts, or almonds, omit for nut free!
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil
- ¼ cup cane sugar, or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 ℉ (175 ℃). Line a 9 inch (23 cm) square baking pan with parchment for easier clean up. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, ginger, vanilla and cinnamon until rhubarb is well coated. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan.
- In the same bowl (no need to wipe it out!), mix together the oats, hemp hearts, walnuts, oil, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined.
- Sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the fruit mixture. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, until the crisp topping is golden and the fruit mixture is bubbling and thick.
- Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. You can serve warm, room temperature or cold!