Spring is for Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
by Meghan Rodgers
May 5, 2021
This gorgeous dessert is one of the easiest vegan recipes I know. It’s perfect for a spring night, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or as part of any Mothers’ Day brunch spread. And, of course, dessert leftovers make for the best breakfasts.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it grows together, it goes together”? Strawberries and rhubarb come into season at the exact same time, meaning, like tomatoes and basil or peas and carrots, they were just meant to be! Whether it’s pie, compote or crisp, when I think of my favorite springtime treats, I always go back to that most delicious duo of sweet strawberries and tangy rhubarb.
Can I Eat Strawberry Greens?
And what’s better? This recipe doesn’t have to create food waste.
How many times have you cut off the tops of strawberries and just eaten the fleshy, fruit part? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably every time you eat strawberries! Well, not only are strawberry leaves safe to eat, but they’re nutritious too.
Strawberry leaves are known for helping arthritis pain because they help reduce inflammation and relieve water tension from the joints. Strawberry leaves also contain good amounts of vitamin C (an antioxidant), calcium (to help with bone health) and iron (improves red blood cells).
Strawberries contain tannins that mean they can even help ease an upset stomach, cramps and bloating.
As you make this Strawberry Rhubarb Bars recipe, I encourage you not to cut off and toss those tops, but include them! What easier way to cut back on food waste and get a few nutritious greens in your diet than hidden in this delicious dessert?
Repurposing Rhubarb Leaves
As for rhubarb, well, rhubarb leaves are infamously toxic to both people and animals thanks to their high concentration of oxalic acid, so there is no safe way to consume them. BUT they can still give a great nitrogen boost when added to compost piles. Otherwise, lay the giant leaves over problem weed areas and they will work wonders smothering them out.
Strawberry Rhubarb Bars
Oat crumble crust and topping
2/3 cup rolled oats, chopped
2/3 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flour (all-purpose, almond, or whatever type fits your diet)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp solid coconut oil
1-2 tbsp water
Strawberry rhubarb filling
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
1 cup diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 maple syrup
1 tsp cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. (Alternatively, just grease the dish with coconut oil, but parchment paper will make the bars easier to lift later.)
2. In a medium bowl, add oats, walnuts, flour, brown sugar, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt. Mix until well combined. Add coconut oil and use fork to work into mixture. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, to moisture mixture. Work water in with fork. Add additional tbsp if necessary.
3. Spread about 2/3 of the mixture on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, and press to form crust. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust develops a slightly darker golden brown hue. Let cool for 20 minutes.
4. While crust is baking, prepare fruit filling. Add strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cornstarch to medium bowl and mix.
5. Once crust is cool, evenly spread fruit filling mixture overtop of crust. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 of crumble mixture on top. Bake for 15-20 more minutes or until top is lightly browned.
6. Let cool completely before removing from baking dish and slicing.