Healthy rhubarb crumble is a delicious seasonal treat. If you are lucky enough to have rhubarb growing in your garden, there is nothing like pulling the first stems. But certainly in the UK, rhubarb is widely available in the shops from mid Spring until early summer. So make the most of the season while you can, as this is one of the best healthy rhubarb recipes.
Oat crumble topping
This recipe has an oat crumble topping, without flour. That gives it a lovely flavour and texture. And because oats are a wholegrain, they are also packed with health benefits. High in fibre, they are particularly good for your heart and for lowering cholesterol levels. They will also help to stabilise your blood sugar levels.
This oaty crumble topping also contains butter and a small amount of sugar. If you want you could replace the butter with a different fat such as coconut oil or olive oil. But the butter does provide a lovely flavour. I know there's a lot of conflicting health advice, but personally I'm quite happy to include moderate amounts of butter in my diet. The addition of cinnamon (which also has benefits for blood sugar levels) will add a sweetness which means the recipe needs less sugar. Most types of sugar would be fine, depending on what you have in the cupboard: brown, demerara, granulated, castor or golden castor sugar. I prefer brown sugar or golden castor sugar, as it adds a lovely caramel richness. If you don't have a food processor to make the crumble topping, just melt the butter in a pan and stir in the sugar and oats.
Provided that you use certified gluten free oats, your rhubarb crumble will be gluten free.
Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable with thick fleshy stalks. It's important to remember than just the stalks are edible, as the leaves are poisonous. In some places you might be able to buy forced rhubarb which is available earlier in the year. It is grown under pots which results in a paler colour and more delicate flavour. But for crumble, I like the robust maincrop rhubarb which is available in Spring. Although the pink colour of the stems looks beautiful, they are no sweeter than the varieties which have more green stems. As you'd expect from the fleshy stems, rhubarb is rich in fibre. It is also high in vitamin k1 which is important for blood clotting and helps wounds heal properly. It may also help keep bones healthy.
If you have a garden with a bit of space, I'd very much recommend growing rhubarb as it so easy and comes up every year.
Preparing rhubarb is incredibly easy. Just remove the leaves, rinse the stems and chop into 2 cm pieces. If any stems are particularly stringy, remove the strings as you cut them.
Low sugar rhubarb crumble
Although I try to cook with minimal levels of sugar (see How to eat less sugar) I find it essential to add some sugar to rhubarb as it is very tart. The addition of a pinch of ginger and cinnamon, which both complement rhubarb perfectly, will also add some sweetness. You can add either honey or sugar to the rhubarb. Honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, so works well. Maple syrup would also add a nice flavour to the rhubarb. Rhubarb does vary in it's sweetness though, so you may have to adjust the amount of honey or sugar that you add. If you'd like to experiment with using other fruit to sweeten your rhubarb, orange, strawberries and apple all complement the rhubarb perfectly. I sometimes add an eating apple, finely sliced, or orange zest.
Healthy rhubarb crumble is delicious served hot or cold (or somewhere in between!), especially with a helping of easy homemade custard. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. I prefer not to freeze cooked crumble as the topping can lose its delicious crunchiness. But raw or cooked rhubarb will freeze well. I just chop it into pieces and pop it in a bag, but if you want further detail about how to freeze rhubarb, see here . And you can also freeze uncooked crumble topping, so you can knock up a healthy rhubarb crumble in no time, in or out of season.
You might also enjoy summer berry crumble , apple and almond crumble and gluten free apple and blackberry crumble. And these rhubarb flapjacks are a great way of turning crumble into an anytime snack.
Any leftover rhubarb can easily be turned into stewed rhubarb and apple.
Healthy Rhubarb Crumble
- 250 g rhubarb chopped into 2 cm pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 50 g butter
- 25 g sugar
- 150 g oats certified GF if required
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Put the chopped rhubarb in an oven proof dish and sprinkle with the honey, ginger and half the cinnamon.
- In a food processor, blitz the butter, sugar and remaining cinnamon. Add the oats and pulse briefly until mixed. (You don't want to turn the oats into flour as they will lose their texture). Cover the rhubarb with the topping and bake for 30 mins.