I don’t mind when terrific ingredients finally get their day in the spotlight, even becoming a little “trendy”, like kale or brussels sprouts. For years rhubarb was known as the vegetable trying to being a fruit. Too tart for some, not pretty enough for others. But now it’s abundantly seen on dessert & bakery menus across the country, recipes and pretty photos plastered in food magazines.
Earlier this week I posted a Rhubarb Fig Jam that sadly I have just about a spoonful left of, and yesterday I made these Gluten-Free Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars for my segment on Twin Cities Live. We talked about tips & tricks to eating gluten-free on a budget, like DIY ingredients such as the oat flour used to make this spring treat and starting a group buying club for specialty ingredients.
Batch cooking is another great way to save time and money. An example would be making a whole chicken and whole grains, or roasted vegetables on one day, then using them to recreate several meals throughout the week. There’s less waste, and the “new meals” are often better than if I follow a recipe.
But my main message on the show was also the focus of what I post here, or what you might see on Instagram of my everyday meals – that whatever way you choose or need to eat, it really comes down to eating real food.
Not to say that we don’t need pantry staples, and there are some great companies making excellent products from real ingredients. Those are in my kitchen too. But if 90% of what you buy is packaged and processed, it certainly is going to be expensive.
It’s about eating things that come from the ground, like vegetables, whole grains, fruit, nuts & seeds – as well as animals that are raised humanely and also fed with the things you would be okay with putting in your own body.
To do that more cost effectively, cooking with the seasons and shopping the farmers market will get you a lot for your dollar. Arranging bulk buys from the sweet corn guy, the tomato lady, or the couple that raises grass-fed beef can save a lot of money too.
And what you’ll start to see is that your meals just happen to be gluten-free, paleo, vegan or dairy-free, with nothing special done to them. They’re just real food, and they’re really delicious. Like these Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars, that are naturally gluten-free, no special ingredients needed thanks to the power of oats used in whole form and ground into a versatile flour. They have a natural salty sweet component that I love for baking, and make the texture of the top crumble just like the crunchy bits on those bakery muffins.
The combination of raspberries and rhubarb is one of my favorites. (I also made these Gluten-Free Hand Pies last year with that duo.) The tart rhubarb plays off the sweetness of the raspberries, and wow, does it create the most gorgeous magenta scene ever. I hope you enjoy this taste of spring, and make sure to tag me on Instagram if you make them in your own kitchen with the hashtag #heartbeetkitchen!
**A little health update: After nearly 70 days following the Autoimmune Protocol, the intense flares were telling me that something still was not right. I was being crushed by the headaches, hives, and fatigue…. so I went to bat for myself, knowing we needed to fix the Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, and fast. I have the methane type, which is typically more difficult to treat. Although real food certainly is a component of healing, sometimes we need help in the form of western medicine I am currently using a well studied antibiotic approach from Dr. Pimental, the guru of SIBO, and we’ll see how it goes from there. I have reintroduced egg yolks, coffee, and ghee.
Watch this video to see how to make the bars!
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup oat flour (105 grams)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup melted organic vegetable shortening like, Nutiva coconut/palm oil spread
- 1 1/4 cups raspberry rhubarb compote (below)
- 2 3/4 cups diced rhubarb
- 1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh organic raspberries (strawberries will work too)
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or tapioca starch
- For the compote, combine rhubarb, raspberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a hard boil, stirring, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add cornstarch or tapioca starch, and stir to dissolve. Let cook for 3 minutes longer, until mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oat flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon. Stir in butter and mix so that no white streaks remain.
- Using the back of a spatula or spoon, pack a heaping cup of oat mixture into a well greased 8x8 baking pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until crust is fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Top with 1 1/4 cups of rhubarb compote, then sprinkle the top with the rest of the oat mixture. Bake for additional 25 minutes, or until topping is browned. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate. Then cut. They taste best this way! And it gives them the best texture, firm and sturdy.
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