As Spring slowly transitions to Summer, I continue to be amazed by the bounty of fresh produce available locally in Canada. And, like any true foodie, I jump at the opportunity to enjoy both strawberries and rhubarb while they are in season. While traditionally rhubarb containing dishes are accompanied by their fair share of sugar to cut the tartness, I chose to use stevia in this recipe; in combination with a little sea salt, it works perfectly well to cut the tang imparted by this fruit-like-vegetable, while keeping the sugar and calories moderate.
Firstly, let’s talk a little about rhubarb. The compounds that give the edible stems of rhubarb their vibrant red color are powerful antioxidants; and as we know, these molecules have tremendous benefits when it comes to promoting good health and helping prevent disease. Rhubarb is also packed with vitamins, minerals, organic compounds, and other nutrients that make it ideal for keeping our bodies healthy. Some of its most valuable components are dietary fibre, vitamin C & K, the B complex vitamins, as well as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Yes, rhubarb is pretty amazing, but what about strawberries you ask? Check out my blog featuring berries (with additional reading resources) to have your questions answered!
Now let’s look at chia seeds; this little seed has a huge nutritional profile worth getting excited about. It contains calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats. And as the seeds are essentially tasteless, they won’t affect the flavour profile of your food – this makes them easy to integrate into your meals for added fibre and unsaturated fat. And as an added benefit, chia seeds can be eaten whole or milled (while flax seeds, for example, have to be ground before consumption in order to access their health benefits).
Chia seeds absorb approximately nine times their weight in water (pretty incredible I know). In celebration of this, in this recipe they are used as a fruit filling thickener (in place of, say, cornstarch). Because of this unique water-logging property, they help control appetite by providing satiating volume, and also provide sustainable energy to keep you going about your day. These are the makings of a true superfood.
Highlights of making this recipe:
- These bars contain less than a dozen easy to find ingredients, some of which you may already have in your pantry.
- This recipe takes under 20 minutes of prep time in the kitchen and there is no baking or oven mitts required, making this quite a kid friendly, no-fuss recipe.
- As the recipe does not contain raw eggs, the bowls are safe to scrape clean after creating your fruit filled bars (if you are so inclined… as I am).
- These sweet treats will stay good in an airtight container in the freezer for a couple of months.
Strawberry and rhubarb mingle for this true-to-Spring wholesome treat. These fruity bars provide ample nutrition, while not sacrificing on flavour or texture. Because, let’s be real, who wants a dry, crumbly, and tasteless snack bar in their life.
Macros per Bar
Protein: 20 g
Fat: 3 g
Carbohydrates: 20 g
Sugar: 2 g
Fibre: 7 g
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Protein Bars
- In a small bowl, melt the strawberries and rhubarb (microwave for ~4 minutes). Mash well using a large fork. Add stevia and chia seeds and stir until fully combined. Place in the refrigerator to set.
- Line a 4 × 8-inch pan with a large piece of parchment or wax paper (approximately double the size of the pan). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the non-dairy beverage and vanilla until smooth.
- Add the oats, wheat bran, psyllium husk, protein, salt, and stevia. Stir to fully combine.
- Transfer about 3/4 of the mixture to the pan. Press down very well, using the extra parchment paper to press it evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the prepared fruit mixture (from step 1) evenly on top of the oatmeal layer in the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining oat crumbles on top of the fruit layer. Gently press down using the parchment paper.
- Freeze until firm enough to cut 3 x 3 (~1 hour). Enjoy immediately, or return to freezer and store in an airtight container.
- For an ideal consistency, if bars are frozen solid from storage, remove from the freezer at least 1 hour before consuming.