When the backyard giveth rhubarb a plenty, it’s time to make one of the most iconic and all-American desserts with it: Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp! Despite being free of refined sugars, it’s pleasantly sweet and every bit as delicious as you remember.
Worth the wait!
I’ve been eagerly counting down the time to spring and early summer this year and not-so-patiently checking on the rhubarb in the garden because I’ve been dying to share this Grain-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with you. It’s tart and sweet and the cinnamon-y pecan-studded topping is perfectly crumbly and crispy, and the whole thing just begs to be topped with generous scoops of vanilla ice cream and shared with those you love.
Growing up in Minnesota, everyone I knew had a giant rhubarb plant (or several) in their backyard. And you could always count on a strawberry-rhubarb pie or crisp showing up at a potluck or Sunday dinner with family, so I have a particularly soft spot for this Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp. Every bite takes me ‘home’ and back to simpler times.
I hope you and your family love this Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp as much as we do!
Ingredients for Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
- Rhubarb – Available in late-spring and early-summer at farmers markets and grocery stores. Look for stalks that are thin and streaked with red and/or pink. Big stalks are likely to be dry, woody, and past their prime. Rhubarb is easy to grow in your garden or yard and requires very little maintenance.
- Strawberries – Select berries that are red and juicy with green tops.
- Lemon juice + zest – Lemon adds an extra element of brightness and 9 out of 10 grandmas will agree that it’s a necessary part of any fruit pie or crisp.
- Maple syrup – Maple syrup is naturally sweet and refined sugar-free, and it adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the fruit filling and topping.
- Vanilla extract
- Arrowroot starch – A gluten-free stand-in for the traditional white flour used to thicken the fruit layer
- Almond flour – A grain-free alternative to oats or flour.
- Coconut flour – Acts as a binder to create a crumbly topping without oats.
- Salt – Enhances the sweetness of the berries and maple syrup.
- Cinnamon – The ultimate spice for warm and cozy baked goods!
- Cardamom – While this spice is optional, it’s a lovely compliment to the cinnamon in baked goods.
- Butter – Butter gives the topping the butter goodness you expect in a fruit crisp, but it can be replaced by chilled coconut oil or vegan butter if you need a plant-based or dairy-free alternative.
- Pecans – It’s all about that buttery crunch.
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How to Make Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
- Slice your rhubarb and berries thinly and toss with lemon juice, zest, maple syrup, and arrowroot starch.
- Transfer fruit mixture to a greased baking dish. NOTE: A glass baking dish is recommended as the acidity of the rhubarb can react with aluminum pans causing the crisp to turn a funny color and develop a metallic taste (and the pan to rust).
- Make the topping by mixing the almond and coconut flours together with the salt, cinnamon, and ground cardamon.
- Cut the cold butter (note, the butter MUST be cold) into the flour mixture using a fork or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse sand with some pebbles in it.
- Gently fold the maple syrup and pecans into the flour-butter mixture and fluff with a fork. The mixture will be more wet than crumbly so you’ll need to use your fingers to break it up into small clumps and scatter it over the top of the fruit mixture.
- Place the baking dish onto a rimmed baking sheet to catch any juices that might bubble over the side (because no one likes to clean the oven!)
- Bake until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
- Allow crisp to cool for 15-20 minutes before digging in to allow the fruit and their juices to thicken and to avoid burning your mouth.
Top, Serve, and Savor
How you top your Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp is up to you, but here are few ways that we’ve come to love:
- Vanilla ice cream – Our go-to is Alden’s Organic Vanilla Bean because it’s made with organic ingredients and it’s egg-free. Dairy-free options are also delicious: we like So Delicious, Alden’s, Nada Moo, and Larry & Luna’s, to name a few.
- Whipped heavy cream – Sweetened with just a tiny splash of maple syrup, a dash of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, it’s a heavenly accompaniment texture-and flavor-wise to this Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
- Yogurt – Swapping out ice cream for yogurt makes this dessert ‘breakfast legal’ at our house.
Make ’em mini
Want to get fancy? Don’t want to share?
Try making this Grain-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp in 1-cup ramekins for cute individual servings. Not only will everyone get their own mini-dessert, but they’ll also bake faster (read: you’ll be enjoying dessert faster).
For the Filling:
- 2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- Zest + juice of ½ lemon (~ 2 tsp. juice)
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. arrowroot starch
For the Topping:
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp. almond flour
- 1 Tbsp. coconut flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ tsp. cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. ground cardamom, optional
- 3 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces (substitute chilled coconut oil for dairy-free or vegan)
- ¾ cup chopped pecans (raw or toasted)
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
For serving: Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or non-dairy whipped topping, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- Grease six (6) 1-cup ramekins or an 8×8-inch glass baking dish with coconut oil or butter. Set aside.
- Add sliced rhubarb and strawberries to a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon zest, juice, maple syrup, vanilla, and arrowroot starch. Pour over the berries and rhubarb and toss to coat evenly.
- Divide filling among the ramekins or pour into the baking dish. Set aside while you prepare the topping.
- Wipe out the bowl you just used for the filling and combine almond flour through cardamom. Add butter pieces (or chilled coconut oil) and using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse sand with some pebbles. Be careful not to overmix to the point that you have a paste—but if you do, don’t panic, it will still turn out well.
- Stir pecans into the flour mixture then drizzle with maple syrup. Toss everything together with a fork. The topping will be more sticky than crumbly at this point.
- Using your fingers, divide the topping evenly amongst ramekins or spread in a single layer over filling in the baking dish.
- Place the ramekins or baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any liquid that may bubble over) and bake 18-22 minutes for ramekins and 22-27 minutes for the baking dish or until the filling is hot and bubbling and topping is lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to stand 15-20 minutes before serving.
- Serving Size: 1/6th recipe (without ice cream, etc)
- Calories: 221
- Sugar: 13g
- Sodium: 104mg
- Fat: 15g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Carbohydrates: 20g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 3g
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About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.