Monday, March 5, 2012

Vegan strawberry rhubarb crisp

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I love my job as a product manager at Deluxe Corporation and I love the people with whom I work. However, I rarely see them in person. Deluxe is spread out all over the place and I'm in an outpost. The people I spend most of my time working with are in Minnesota, Toronto, Massachusetts, Kansas City - in short, everywhere but here.

When colleagues come to southern California, I always invite them over to eat. Business trips involve too few vegetables, too many processed foods, night after night of crappy dinners. Everyone appreciates a home-cooked meal when they're on the road.

Two of my coworkers ended up in Los Angeles last weekend and spent a good part of their Saturday at my house. They'd come from the snow, so I wanted to make a meal that screamed "SoCal spring." We started with blood orange mimosas, then moved on to scrambled eggs with loads of chopped fresh herbs and a kale salad.

We finished up with this strawberry-rhubarb crisp, which my colleague Therese says is on her "best food I ever ate" list. How could it not be? I got the strawberries and rhubarb from the farmers' market an hour before the crisp went into the oven. They couldn't have been much fresher if I'd pulled them from my own backyard.

But here's the real secret to this crisp: I used Kelapo virgin coconut oil in the topping instead of butter. I was catering to a milk allergy and thought the lack of butter would be a sacrifice, but I'm telling you, the coconut oil made the dish. The nutty background flavor, ever so faint, complimented the tart fruit without adding anything overt. You would have noticed the taste of butter. Here you noticed something, but between the sweet-sour juices and the crisp topping, you didn't stop to think about it for more than a fleeting second.

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Vegan strawberry rhubarb crisp
Grab ripe strawberries and the first pink stalks of rhubarb and celebrate spring with this delicious dessert. Coconut oil instead of butter in the topping keeps it vegan and adds both a subtle nuttiness and a light, crispy texture, even with whole wheat flour.
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
  • 4 stalks rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
Toss the strawberries, rhubarb, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour and lemon zest in a large bowl. Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. The fruit will begin to release its juices, which will mix with the sugar and flour to create a sort of syrup.In another bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, oats, brown sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil and rub the oil into the dry ingredients. It will melt with the heat of your hands, but that's okay - keep mixing and rubbing until the coconut oil is evenly distributed. Store this bowl in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the crisp.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, then pour in the strawberry mixture. Scatter the oat mixture on top of the fruit, distributing it evenly. Bake the crisp about 45 minutes, until the topping is browned and the fruit is bubbling up around the sides. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving - it's best at room temperature.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings


Cathy @ She Paused 4 Thought said...

This looks fantastic. I am always looking for rhubarb recipes. I love the idea of using coconut oil instead of butter!

Rose @ Rose Bakes said...

Mmmm, I love rhubarb (although it's hard to find here in the south)! The next time I get my hands on some, I'll have to try this.

Erika Kerekes said...

Rose, if you can't find rhubarb you can do this with all strawberries. Or mix it up and throw in some raspberries, blackberries, pears...whatever you like, really.

Monet said...

Oh coconut oil! What a great secret ingredient. This looks so delicious, my friend. But I'm not surprised :-) Thank you for sharing with me! I hope you are having a blessed weekend.

New Zealand Kiwi fruit information website said...

Strawberries and rhubarb are sooo good together. This crisp would be a delicious way to celebrate the fact that school is almost over!

Best Rogue River Salmon Fishing site info, click here said...

I love rhubarb. That crust topping looks good, I am a big fan of oatmeal in crumb toppings.

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