Years ago I made my first fresh rhubarb pie with my roommate in NYC. I haven’t cooked anything with rhubarb since then, at least not that I can recall. Rhubarb just hasn’t been on my mind. However, here in Boulder, Colorado, rhubarb grows very well! It has naturally smiled its way back into my mind and into my belly! Here’s the story, recipe, nutritional check-in, and warning behind the slice…
One of the happiest plants on my block is undoubtedly my neighbor’s rhubarb plant. It looks like an unabashed smile stretching out in all directions and dimpling in upon itself. When I first noticed it growing, the plant was small and I thought it was red chard. I buy red chard from the grocery store frequently so I was excited to see it growing from the ground up instead, or so I thought. Gradually, I was astonished to witness just how big her “red chard” kept growing. So one day when I saw her in the garden, I had to ask: “What kind of red chard is that?” She laughed, “That’s rhubarb”!
Photo of my neighbor’s rhubarb plant
My neighbor joyfully invited me to take a plentiful selection of rhubarb stalks from her abundant supply. I asked if the delicious-looking leaves were edible like chard, but she warned me against that because rhubarb leaves contain higher levels of oxalate (oxalic acid) than the stalks and this can be toxic to humans (more info in the nutritional check-in below). Darn! I love greens.
Photo of sliced rhubarb thanks Kulbir via Pexels
Recently, I found a beautiful recipe for a vegan and grain-free 8-Ingredient Rhubarb Strawberry Pie (including a delicious 3-Ingredient easy pie crust) by Caitlin Shoemaker on her website From My Bowl. Please visit her website for the full recipe, but here it is in brief…
3-Ingredient Pie Crust & 8-Ingredient Rhubarb Strawberry Pie Recipe adapted from Caitlin Shoemaker:
- For the Pie Crust (make 2x for bottom and top)
- 1 ¼ cup Fine Almond Flour (ie. Bob’s Red Mill)
- ⅓ cup Tapioca Flour
- 2 tbsp Ground Flax + 5 tbsp Water
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- For the Filling (cook all on stove) *
- 18 oz fresh strawberries, chopped (1 ½ pints)
- 2 stalks of fresh rhubarb, sliced into ½” pieces
- ⅔ cup maple syrup
- 1 ½ tbsp arrowroot powder *
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of pink himalayan salt
- * I used Agar Powder instead of Arrowroot
- ** I also added a little more tapioca and almond flower to the filling to make it thicker
Pre-cook bottom layer of pie crust | For pie, pre-heat oven to around 400 degrees F | Use 9″ Pie Dish | Cook Time around 30 min.
Photo of pie by Caitlin Shoemaker / From My Bowl
As usual, I made a few adaptations to the recipe for what I had available, including the addition of fresh lime (make that a 9-Ingredient Rhubarb Pie) and the substitution of Agar Powder for Arrow Root Powder because that’s what I had and it worked wonderfully! Thanks to Caitlin for the recipe starter. My finished pie didn’t look as pretty as hers but it still tasted perfect!
Making the pie crust…
Making the filling… The fresh lime really added a delicious highlight!
Rhubarb is rich in antioxidants and fiber as well as Vitamin K (which promotes strong bones and a healthy heart). However, there is also a warning: according to folk tradition, rhubarb isn’t as safe if harvested past late June because its oxalic acid levels are said to rise from Spring to Summer. Oxalic acid (oxalate) intake can cause kidney stones and renal failure. “Although reports of rhubarb poisoning are rare, make sure you consume it in moderation and avoid the leaves. What’s more, cooking your rhubarb may reduce its oxalate content by 30–87%.” – Healthline
Meanwhile, Strawberries are packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. “The antioxidant-rich strawberry can help improve heart health and lower your blood pressure. They can also help better your brain function, and enhance eye and skin health, arthritis, and gout. The polyphenolic content of strawberries makes them beneficial for improving the immune system, and reduce the signs of premature aging.” – Organic Facts