Rhubarb gets a bad rap.
It ranks in there with cilantro, black licorice, and Diet Coke.
You either love it or you hate it.
I’m a lover.
I love how tart it is, how it offsets all things sugar-y, how it brings a balance to baked goods. We can’t all be sweet strawberries and peaches. Give me the awkward celery-like texture of rhubarb over a smooth plum any day.
Rhubarb demands attention. It is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. If you eat it raw, it will laugh in your face. But if you give it just a little attention, just a little love, it will work for you, adding dimension to your baked goods, a crispness to your pies, and a bite to your quick breads.
Rhubarb often gets paired with strawberries, but I have been a bit obsessed with pairing it with the common apple. This bread was an experiment. I wanted to bring something easily portable to a recent girls’ weekend and I also wanted it to be mild enough so the kiddos could enjoy it too. And let’s be honest, I had about five pounds of rhubarb in my freezer. Some people collect stray animals, I collect stray, un-loved produce. Cabbage, rhubarb, nettles, send them my way. I will provide a nurturing home for un-popular foods.
This bread is sweet, dense, and satisfying. It’s the first of many rhubarb and apple pairings. I hope you like it.
Vegan Rhubarb and Apple Bread
Makes 2 loaves or 8 mini loaves
Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod recipe
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup almond or soy milk
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sucanat or organic sugar
2 cups rhubarb, diced
2 apples, diced
2/3 cup walnut, chopped
zest from 1 orange (approximately 1 tablespoon)
Topping: 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar (or regular sugar)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans or 8 mini loaf pans.
Combine lemon juice and almond/soy milk in a large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add flaxseed, stir until combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and all spice.
Beat flaxseed and almond milk mixture with an electric mixer. Add oil, applesauce, orange zest, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add sugar and beat until smooth.
Slowly add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Fold in rhubarb, apples, and walnuts.
Pour batter into greased pans.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of batter.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool bread in pan for 15 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.
The bread tastes better the day after you bake it and the flavors have melded together.
I used one tart green apple and one honey crisp apple. Feel free to use any combination of your favorite apples.
If you will be storing the bread for more than 2 days, I recommend keeping it in the fridge.
Rhubarb: Yay or nay?