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DIY Kitchen: apple-rhubarb crisp (grain-free)

2014 June 16
by Rachel Turiel


The truth is that while this apple-rhubarb crisp was such a winner that even Rose (who has very refined and precise food tastes) announced, “You made it exactly how I like it!” (a proclamation as rare and precious as a thousand endangered butterflies taking flight for the very first time), well, the truth is…do you actually need a recipe for grain-free rhubarb crisp?

Because, if you’re like me, and you eat mostly grain-free (except occasional sushi, last week’s gluten free beer I’m still epic-ing over, and lusty stolen bites of the kids’ mac and cheese), you already know how to transmutate any recipe into its grain-free cousin. And if, more likely, you’re not like me, and have no problem with grains, then you’re going to look at this recipe and think, is this for the pet rabbit?

But, I was so happy with how this came out—sweet and tart, rich and nutty, the vanilla extract uniting every flavor like the peacemaker of the kitchen—I figured I’d share, and like everything else here, invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.


“Apple-rhubarb crisp in the pan” – or, my usual apologetically ambivalent food phototography.

Apple-rhubarb crisp

Makes one large panful (how’s that for accuracy?)


3-5 cups chopped rhubarb

5-8 cups chopped apples (or 4 cups applesauce if you still have some in the freezer from last fall; or strawberries…pears…berries)

3 cups nuts/seeds (I use equal parts sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, because they’re already the right size without any crushing needed, and OK, real truth: affordable).

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

1 stick softened butter

1/2 cup honey (Optional; I used honey first time, skipped it 2nd, didn’t miss it, so long as you have apples or some other sweet fruit to balance rhubarb’s tartness)

1 -2 TBSP vanilla

Cinnamon and salt to taste


“The crisp topping,” safe for rabbits.


Cut apples and rhubarb. Heat them in a pot on low heat with a splash of water and honey if you want for 20 mins. In bowl, mix butter, nuts/seeds, shredded coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, salt. When apple/rhubarb mix has softened, spread in bottom of large casserole dish. Put “crisp” mix on top. Bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes or until brown on top.

If this apple-rhubarb crisp doesn’t appeal to you, Rose is happy to sell you a mud pie:

9 Responses leave one →
  1. June 16, 2014

    Tell Rose her pies look delicious and I’ll take two. But your crisp looks delish has well! Thanks for the recipe. I made a nectarine blackberry one for f-day, also with the shredded coconut, but in reading your recipe realized I totally forgot the walnuts I bought! So now I’ve got a good excuse to use em up. Xo

  2. June 16, 2014

    I am always delighted to have a new grain free recipe, of any kind. It is like a dose of inspiration that recommits me to our healing journey, kind of like “look, wow, another amazing recipe someone discovered! I think I’ll make it and we can be joyful at our table…” even if it turns out to be something of my own improvising that is inspired by your own.
    And I am very happy to have a nut free (seeds!) recipe in my pocket.

  3. Barb permalink
    June 16, 2014

    R – do you (or your faithful commenters) have a favorite butter “substitute” for the vegans among us (not me, but a good friend is working it). I’m thinking traditional margerine doesn’t exactly cut it in the health dept. Thanks!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      June 16, 2014

      Barb – coconut oil is the new darling of the healthy fats community. I like it a lot, too.

  4. Ellen permalink
    June 16, 2014

    It sounds so delicious. Alas , it probably wouldn’t appeal to those who like their fruits and desserts very sweet.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      June 16, 2014

      Mom, “those” people (Dad), can add more honey. It’s true, our whole family has recalibrated our perception of sweet.

  5. Andrea permalink
    June 17, 2014

    it is amazing how the term ‘recipe’ evolves into: throw real food together, cook until done.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      June 17, 2014

      Exactly, which is why I trust everyone to decipher my Choose Your Own Adventure instructions (3-5 cups of *this*, *this* ingredient optional, etc…).

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