Gluten Free Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Vanilla ~ I hate to sound bossy but you just have to make this rhubarb crisp at least once this spring, it’s too good to miss out on. Your reward will be a mouthwatering flavor and drop dead gorgeous color that only rhubarb can give you.
Once you’ve made one batch for yourself you might consider making one for mom this Mother’s Day, and then you will certainly want to make it every time you’re asked to bring something to a potluck this spring, it’s the kind of recipe that just makes you look good 🙂
If you’ve always been a little rhubarb-phobic and hesitate to cook with this gorgeous perennial, or been afraid to bake with rhubarb alone, I hope I can convince you to give it a try. Yes it’s technically a vegetable, yes, it looks like red celery, and yes, it’s famously tart, but omg, cook it with a touch of sugar and rhubarb is out of this world amazing. And like I always say, when you have an ingredient that’s only available for a short time each year, the payoff is so much greater than it is with stuff you can always find at the grocery store.
Rhubarb crisp is the first thing I make with the season’s first rhubarb. I love it because it showcases all that is special about this wonderful veggie aka fruit and it takes just minutes to throw together.
The next time you see fresh rhubarb, grab it and make it the star of your recipe. Most people mix it up with strawberries, and I get that, I’ve done it myself in my STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COBBLER, but if you haven’t tried rhubarb all by itself, you really should. The flavor of berries tones down what is so unique about rhubarb. Sugar does a perfect job of sweetening rhubarb, so ditch the strawberries, at least for this recipe.
I buy vanilla beans in bulk so I never have to feel stingy about using them. A vanilla bean is an easy way to take so many recipes to the next level, I think they’re worth the price.
The color, the flavor, the aroma of this rhubarb crisp is so good, I’m not sure I’ll do anything else with my rhubarb for the rest of the season. Be sure to freeze some fruit so you can enjoy this dessert all year long.
How to freeze rhubarb ~
- Wash and dry your fruit. Slice it in 1 inch slices.
- Place the slices in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and put the whole pan in the freezer until the fruit is frozen solid.
- Put the rhubarb in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag. Press the excess air out and seal. Keep in the freezer for up to a year.
- In most cases you’ll use your frozen rhubarb right from the freezer, no need to thaw.
Just look at that color, and seriously…how can you not fall in love?
Rhubarb Crisp with Cardamom and Vanilla
- 1 and 1/2 pounds rhubarb trimmed and rinsed
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 vanilla bean
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar not packed
- 1/2 cup oat flour you can use almond or regular flour as well, or a good gluten free baking mix
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp cardamom sub cinnamon if you like
- 5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter cut in pieces
- 1/3 cup walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Slice the rhubarb into small slices and add them to a bowl. If your rhubarb is very stringy, remove the tough outer fibers before slicing.
- Toss the rhubarb with the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch and then scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean in, too. Stir to combine, then cover and set aside to allow the juices to start to flow.
- Make the crisp topping by putting all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until the mixture is crumbly.
- Put the rhubarb in the bottom of a medium size oval gratin dish (mine is 8x10) or a 9x9 square baking dish. Top liberally with the crisp topping ~ you might not need all the topping if using a square pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the rhubarb is bubbling and the topping is golden.
- Dig in right away, with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you like.
notes and variations
- Despite what I recommend above, you can absolutely mix strawberries with your rhubarb if you like. Raspberries or peaches also work.
- Swap out the cardamom for cinnamon.
- It's no problem to omit the nuts, but you might add some rolled oats for texture.
- If your rhubarb is not super red, don't worry, the flavor will be the same, and as long as there is some pink you will get a subtle but pretty color to your crisp.