Recipe Rhubarb Crisp - traditional taste yet low in sugar

recipe wellness May 26, 2019

When I set out to make a low sugar rhubarb crisp, my goal was to be able to capture the similar smell, taste and texture of my grandmothers recipe but with minimal glycemic impact on my blood sugar.

Because let’s face it, I’m not a physical labourer in the same way my parents and grandparents were. They would eat a large meal at lunch time and then head back out to the garden to weed it or to the mill to make wooden boxes and barrels.

Nor am I doing laundry by hand on a washboard and kneading a week’s worth of bread by hand. I have the deepest respect for the hard work and dedication it took (and still takes) to manage a household and family.

Today, our lives are much more sedentary. We need to schedule in time for movement and exercise. If we’re not burning calories and sugar through sweat and survival, we need to be eating the right foods that support our current lifestyle.

So how do we achieve this? Lessen the sweet and up level your recipes with beneficial fats that support your metabolism.

For this rhubarb crisp, I used ground almond flour in place of refined white flour. I used birch xylitol in place of cane sugar. I used coconut oil (room temperature) to give the texture and consistency that a white flour/white sugar/butter mixture would provide. 

I’m sure both of my grandmothers would have enjoyed baking with xylitol. It is made from birch tree bark. It tastes and bakes similar to refined sugar. It is as sweet as sugar but has 40% less calories than real sugar. A little goes a long way.


Recipe – Rhubarb Crisp


  • 2 – 3 cups stewed rhubarb (approx.. 8 long stalks of rhubarb)
  • 1 tbsp xylitol
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup ground almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)


Step 1 – stew the rhubarb

Wash and cut the rhubarb stalks in small sections and place in a pot. Add a ¼ cup of water. Simmer on low heat until the rhubarb is soft.

Add the xylitol to your stewed rhubarb, mix to incorporate and then taste test it. I like it still slightly tart. Use your best judgment and suit it to your taste buds.

Place the stewed rhubarb in a baking dish. Dust with ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt on top of the rhubarb.

Optional: drizzle 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup over the rhubarb for added flavor and sweetness


Step 2: make the topping for the crisp

For the topping, mix the ground almond flour and coconut oil together in a bowl (by hand like your foremothers did). Incorporate all of the coconut oil into the ground almond flour. It should have a crumble-like texture.

Spread the crumble on top of the rhubarb. Sprinkle on the shredded coconut.

Bake the crisp in the oven at 375C until golden brown (approx 20 minutes; may take longer or less depending on your oven).

Serve warm or cold. Keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. Also freezes well.

Happy baking and substituting ingredients!




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