Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Dive into the delightful world of Strawberry Rhubarb Bars, a tantalizing treat that marries the sweet charm of strawberries with the tart zing of rhubarb in a symphony of flavors. Each Strawberry Rhubarb Bar is a masterpiece of textures, from its buttery, crumbly base to its juicy, fruit-laden filling, culminating in a golden, crispy top that begs for a taste. And it's lower in carbs than most bars and easy to make ahead and enjoy over a couple days.

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars shine brightest in the spring and early summer, when both strawberries and rhubarb are in peak season. This is when these fruits are at their freshest and most flavorful, making the bars especially delicious.

The vibrant combination of strawberries' sweetness and rhubarb's tartness makes these bars a perfect treat for picnics, garden parties, or as a delightful dessert that captures the essence of the season. Enjoying them during this time not only ensures the best taste but also celebrates the seasonal bounty of these fruits.

This is one of my favorite dessert recipes, as well as this Dairy Free Pudding on this site, and pairs well with this Asparagus Pasta recipe. Don't forget it's also part of my Low Sodium Easter Meal for people with CKD.

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Ingredients for Strawberry Rhubarb Bars Recipe

This is a very straight forward recipe that just takes a bit of prep and you have a delicious strawberry rhubarb dessert.

  • Flour and Baking Soda: These foundational ingredients provide structure to the crumb layer, ensuring it has the perfect texture to complement the filling.
  • Old Fashioned Oats: Oats add a hearty, chewy texture to the crumb layer, offering a delightful contrast to the soft fruit filling.
  • Light Brown Sugar and Granulated Sugar: A dual sugar blend enriches the bars with sweetness and depth, with brown sugar adding a hint of caramel notes.
  • Unsalted Butter: Melted butter binds the crumb layer together, giving it a rich, moist consistency that melts in your mouth.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla infuses the crumb layer with a warm, aromatic flavor that enhances the overall taste of the bars.
  • Strawberries and Rhubarb: The stars of the show, these fruits combine sweet and tart flavors for a filling that's both refreshing and satisfying.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Lemon juice brightens the fruit filling, accentuating the strawberries' sweetness and the rhubarb's tanginess.
  • Cornstarch: This thickening agent ensures the fruit filling is lush and jammy, perfect for layering between the crumbly base and topping.

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions For Rhubarb Strawberry Recipes

Step by step instructions for making this delicious dessert.

1. For the crumb layer: Preheat oven to 350'F. Butter a 9x9 inch baking pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Add in oats, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and whisk to blend. Use fingertips to break up small clumps of brown sugar.

3. Whisk vanilla into the melted butter, then pour melted butter over oat mixture. Stir with a spatula until mixture is evenly moistened.

4. Press ⅔ of the mixture into the prepared baking dish, set aside remaining ⅓.

5. For the filling: Add diced strawberries and rhubarb to a medium mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice.

6. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Pour sugar mixture over strawberry mixture and toss to coat.

7. Pour strawberry mixture over bottom crumb layer in a baking dish.

8. Evenly sprinkle remaining ⅓ crumb mixture over top. Bake in a preheated oven until top is golden brown and crisp and filling is bubbling, about 45-50 minutes.

Hint: Make these Strawberry Rhubarb Bars even more irresistible by letting the bars cool completely in the pan before cutting them. This patience pays off as it allows the fruit filling to set properly, ensuring each bar holds its shape and offers the perfect balance of textures and flavors in every bite.

Variations of Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars


Creating variations of Strawberry Rhubarb Bars that are friendly to those managing chronic kidney disease (CKD) involves modifying ingredients to reduce potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and sometimes protein content, depending on individual dietary restrictions and stages of CKD.

  1. Low-Potassium Berry Swap: Replace strawberries (which are medium in potassium) with blueberries, which are lower in potassium, for a delicious twist that's kinder to kidneys. Keep the rhubarb, as it's also low in potassium, making sure to adjust the sweetness as blueberries can be sweeter than strawberries.
  2. Whole Grain Reduction: Use a mix of all-purpose flour and almond flour instead of only all-purpose flour for the crumb layer to reduce phosphorus and add a nutty flavor. Almond flour is lower in phosphorus compared to whole wheat flour, making it a better choice for those managing their phosphorus intake.
  3. Sugar Substitute: For those monitoring their blood sugar levels, replace granulated sugar with a kidney-friendly, non-nutritive sweetener like stevia or erythritol in both the crumb layer and filling. Make sure to adjust the quantity based on the sweetener's sweetness level compared to sugar, as this can vary.

Storage of Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Storing Strawberry Rhubarb Bars properly can help maintain their freshness and texture. Here’s how to store them:

  1. Cool Completely: Before storing, allow the bars to cool completely at room temperature. This prevents condensation from forming inside the storage container, which could make the bars soggy.
  2. Refrigeration for Short-term Storage: For short-term storage, place the bars in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Refrigerate for up to one week. The cooler environment helps preserve the freshness of the fruit filling.
  3. Freezing for Long-term Storage: For longer storage, wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer bag or airtight container. They can be frozen for up to three months. This method is excellent for preserving the flavor and texture of the bars.
  4. Thawing: To thaw, remove the bars from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. If you prefer them a little warm, you can gently reheat them in the microwave or oven until just warm.

Remember, when storing in the refrigerator or thawing frozen bars, it's best to consume them within a short period after reheating or defrosting to enjoy their best quality.

Top tip

If you want to make these bars and your fruits are not in season, frozen fruit works perfectly well. Thaw and drain excess fluid to keep them from being too runny.

FAQs about Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

Is the potassium content in strawberries and rhubarb a concern for my CKD diet?

Strawberries and rhubarb have moderate amounts of potassium, which might be a concern for some individuals with CKD, especially those in the later stages who are on a potassium-restricted diet. However, in moderate servings, these fruits can often be incorporated into a CKD-friendly diet. Always consult with your healthcare provider or dietitian to tailor dietary choices to your specific needs.

Can I use a sugar substitute in this recipe?

Yes, non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia or erythritol can be used in place of granulated sugar to lower the overall sugar content, which is beneficial for those monitoring their blood sugar levels or trying to manage their weight. Be sure to adjust the amount based on the sweetness level of the substitute you choose, as it can vary from that of regular sugar.

Is the sodium content in the baking soda a concern?

The amount of baking soda used in this recipe contributes a negligible amount of sodium. However, if you're on a very strict sodium-restricted diet, every bit counts. You can look for low-sodium baking soda alternatives or simply ensure that the rest of your day's meals are adjusted to accommodate this.

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Recipe

Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

orange plate with Strawberry Rhubarb Bars

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Enjoy a delicious blend of sweet strawberries and tangy rhubarb in these easy-to-make, kidney-friendly Strawberry Rhubarb Bars. Perfect for spring!

  • Author: Mathea Ford, MBA, RDN, LD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Low Salt

Ingredients

Scale

Crumb Layer

1 ⅓ cup flour

¼ tsp baking soda

1 ⅓ cup old fashioned oats

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

1 ¾ cups hulled and diced strawberries

1 ½ cups diced rhubarb, sliced ¼ in thick

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions

1. For the crumb layer: Preheat oven to 350'F.  Butter a 9x9 inch baking pan.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.  Add in oats, brown sugar, and granulated sugar and whisk to blend.  Use fingertips to break up small clumps of brown sugar.

3. Whisk vanilla into the melted butter, then pour melted butter over oat mixture.  Stir with a spatula until mixture is evenly moistened.

4. Press ⅔ of the mixture into the prepared baking dish, set aside remaining ⅓.

5. For the filling: Add diced strawberries and rhubarb to a medium mixing bowl and toss with lemon juice.

6. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch.  Pour sugar mixture over strawberry mixture and toss to coat.

7. Pour strawberry mixture over bottom crumb layer in a baking dish.  Evenly sprinkle remaining ⅓ crumb mixture over top.

8. Bake in a preheated oven until top is golden brown and crisp and filling is bubbling, about 45-50 minutes. 

9. Cool on a wire rack until warm and then cut into 12 bars.  

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