Are you ready for spring? Anticipating those first bites after a long winter? My family sure is. Well I’m excited to have the opportunity to share with you this recipe for healthy roasted rhubarb and nut granola parfait! Great for families who are avoiding dairy, grains, refined sugars or simply just want to live and eat healthier. -Kristin
Gazing out my large front window, cup of tea in hand, watching the sun slowly rise, I can see the beginnings of spring. The grass is a bright green, the buds on the trees have been growing in the last two weeks, and the birds are singing their morning songs. Before long, the first crops of the season will poke through the ground and eagerly folks will flock the market trying to get their hands on one of the first signs of spring. After the asparagus rush and excitement has dwindled, the next local produce that I love forward to is rhubarb.
This tart and yet sweet crop (rhubarb is technically a vegetable), is high in B vitamins including folate, niacin and vitamin B-6. Rhubarb is also a good source of vitamin K and the more red the stalks the higher in beta carotene, and sweetness too. Paired with a touch of honey, some crunchy nuts and a dollop of fresh cream, rhubarb can truly be enjoyed anytime of day.
It’s no wonder that with the decrease in price of white sugar over the years, the consumption of rhubarb sky rocketed. If you’ve ever bitten into a piece of rhubarb, you’d know why sugar and rhubarb seem to go hand in hand. But we don’t need to smother the plant in refined sugars in order to indulge. A bit of honey is really all that is needed to draw out the natural sweetness in rhubarb. Pure maple syrup can also be used as a substitution for the honey.
My family and I enjoy this treat various times throughout the winter, pulling out our frozen rhubarb from last spring. But oh, how delicious this recipe will taste with fresh rhubarb. I am really looking forward to our growing season beginning here in Southern Ontario.
Roasted Rhubarb and Nut Granola Parfait
3 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/4 cup honey
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
3/4 cup almonds*
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, chose your favorite variety!)
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon nut butter
fresh cream (optional)
honey or maple syrup to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. In a large bowl combine honey (if your honey has crystallized, simply leave it in the oven over night with the oven light on) and vanilla seeds. Toss in rhubarb to coat then lay evenly on a lined baking sheet or baking dish. Squeeze the orange over the rhubarb then zest half the orange peel over top. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, until tender, then carefully remove and set aside.
While rhubarb is roasting, add nuts and seeds to a food processor and coarsely chop. If you don’t have a food processor, this step can be done by hand with a sharp knife.
Pour in the shredded coconut and pulse a few times to combine everything.
In a saucepan, gently heat honey and coconut oil until they are in liquid form. Add in dollop of nut butter and stir to combine. Pour in the nut/seed mixture and coat well. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay granola on the sheet. Toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Next step is to whip the cream. Generally I don’t measure, simply pore the cream into a bowl and use a mixer on low speed and beat till the cream is mostly whipped. Then I turn the speed to medium and continue to beat for another few seconds. Once the cream has reached desired consistency, feel free to add in sweetener of choice. Or leave as is, since the rhubarb and nut granola are already sweet.
A great dairy free option is coconut ice cream. The flavors blend perfectly together!
Lastly, assemble your parfait. Begin with rhubarb on the bottom, topped with granola then a dollop of cream. Repeat until container is full.
This parfait can also be assembled in separate containers. When we are going out for an afternoon and I need a filling and healthy snack for my children, I put the rhubarb and cream in one container and the granola in another. Then if we are at a friends house or a park, I open the containers, sprinkle the granola on top, give them spoons (that’s an important step, otherwise my kids will use their hands!) and let them devour it, guilt free :). Our family has quite a number of food allergies and our friends and families are understanding and have welcomed us to bring our own snacks when we visit.
* Before eating nuts, I like to take the extra step of soaking and dehydrating them at a low temp to aid in digestion and reduce phytic acid.
Do you have a favorite spring crop? What gets you running to your local farmers market?
Kristin Jukes blogs at The Seasonal Family about the changes of life as a family from season to season. After the birth of her and her husband’s first child in 2008, she began to slowly change their families diet to one high in whole foods. With various food allergies, many of the recipes are wheat free, egg free, peanut free and refined sugar free. Now, a mommy of two little ones, her site content continues to expand to homesteading and homeschooling while striving to be a Godly wife and mother.