As I was ruminating over my birthday last week, I thought a lot about desserts. I like desserts but I only make them when we are having company. If your thirties are supposed to be about accepting yourself then I need to accept and embrace my sweet tooth.

My goal for my 32nd year is to make more desserts.

This might sound a little hypocritical after my soapbox last week on sugar. 

Let me clarify.

I am going to make more desserts but I am going to make them my way. Clean, healthy desserts with as little added sugar as possible.

I am hoping that by doing so, I can show more people that you don’t need all that sugar. You can find sweetness in natural sources like in this tropical twist on rhubarb crisp.

I added no sugar in this recipe. You get all of the sugar from pineapple and strawberries while the coconut oil adds to the tropical flair. It came together super easy and baked while we ate dinner. Even Manatee approved.

Tropical Rhubarb Crisp

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, if frozen: thawed and drained
1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple (approx. 1/2 cup), drained*
1 cup of fresh strawberries, quartered
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon rolled oats, divided
3 tablespoons coconut oil plus more for greasing the pan
2/3 cups nuts, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt (approximately 1/8 teaspoon)

*Find pineapple that is canned with pineapple juice and no added sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a pie dish with coconut oil.
  3. In prepared pie dish: mix together rhubarb, strawberries, and pineapple. Toss with 1 tablespoon of rolled oats.
  4. In a small bowl, combine nuts, 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and pinch of salt.
  5. Use a fork to cut in coconut oil with nuts and oats mixture. Work the coconut oil until is well combined. You can use your hands too if that is easier. 🙂
  6. Cover top of fruit with oat and nut mixture.


  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes until topping is golden and fruit is bubbly.

Recipe Review:

I couldn’t believe how sweet this was. Without the tartness of the rhubarb, it would have been too sweet. And that is just using the sugar from the fruit! Most fruit crisp recipes add a bunch of sugar to it. Who needs it?

The coconut oil added a richness that I didn’t expect. Forget butter, if you want a luxurious dessert, stock up on coconut oil!

Next time I think I would try it with fresh pineapple, but that is the only change I would make. I can’t wait until we get rhubarb from our CSA so we can make this again. This was a great way to kick off our year of desserts!

I also have to  mention how ridiculously easy this was. It seriously took about five minutes to throw together. While it baked, we ate dinner and cleaned up the kitchen.  There’s no reason not to make it, even during the week.

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What is your favorite healthy dessert?

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