These healthy rhubarb bars are easy to make and delicious. They’re vegan and free from added refined sugar and as well as having a portion of vegetables they’re also packed full of goodness from dates, nuts and chia seeds.
Rhubarb is one of my favourite summer vegetables. Yes – it is a vegetable, even though it’s usually treated as a fruit, in British cooking at least. I think many people agree, in fact my refined sugar free simple rhubarb compote recipe is the most popular recipe on my site at the moment.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve always loved rhubarb. I remember the pink and green stems clearly from my own childhood – with an allotment growing dad and a greengrocer grandad we had a lot of fresh produce around. For me rhubarb is as much a symbol of summer as trips to the beach and hot dusty days at the local park. It features heavily in my childhood memories, usually eaten in a crumble, sometimes stewed with cream or ice cream, always with a lot of sugar.
It’s hard to get my own children to eat it though. I think they’re perhaps put off by its appearance as well as its natural tartness. But I’m loath to serve them a pudding that contains almost the same quantity of added sugar as it does rhubarb! I only had a one out of three success rate with these rhubarb bars – and it was Miss R, 5, who liked them. R wouldn’t even try them and Little S did give them a go but wasn’t keen. Perhaps rhubarb will have to join broccoli as one of the rare things that he doesn’t like. But the two adults in the house – me and my husband – absolutely loved these and couldn’t get enough of them.
To make these bars I stewed the rhubarb and then added a little maple syrup to sweeten it and some chia seeds to thicken it into a jam. If you haven’t tried making chia jam yet then you really must give it a try – it’s so much easier than you might think and has delicious results. Here is a recipe for raspberry jam tarts made with chia jam.
Here’s how to make healthy rhubarb bars:
- 125g walnuts
- 75g dates ,chopped
- 50g coconut oil or vegan butter
- 30g wholemeal flour (I used spelt) or ground oats
- 400g rhubarb, chopped
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- Juice of half a lemon
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- Pulse the walnuts and dates together in a high powered blender or food processor.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and rub in the coconut oil or butter and spelt flour with your fingers.
- Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds until it comes together into a dough.
- Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Place the rhubarb and the lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat gently until soft and broken down.
- Add the chia seeds and maple syrup, stir well, set aside and leave to cool and thicken. You can put it in the fridge once cooled if you don't want to make the bars straight away.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6.
- Grease and base line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper. A loose-bottomed tin is ideal but if you don't have one leave a little bit of baking paper hanging over the edges to make it easier to remove the bars when they've been cooked.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Press into the bottom of the tin.
- Spread the rhubarb chia jam over the top and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the tin then cut into slices and remove.