Grab all the rhubarb while you can this season and bake this tart and subtly sweet rhubarb bread. Studded with walnuts, this hearty oat based quick bread is a wonderful way to celebrate spring.
I always describe this site to those who ask as “wholesome, healthy recipes with a seasonal spin”. It’s my one line elevator pitch if you will for the blog.
This rhubarb bread is probably one of the best examples of exactly that definition. Rhubarb stalks have finally made their appearance at the farmer’s market here. Last week, I took full advantage of that grabbing more than I know what to do with if we’re being honest.
The good news is, rhubarb freezes incredibly well and there’s always a strawberry rhubarb dessert crisp in a pinch.
The even better news is, this rhubarb bread resulted from that overzealous market buy and that is a mighty fine and delicious thing.
If you’ve never tasted rhubarb before, I’m going to beg you to change that this season. If you like tart fruits like cranberries and citrus, chances are you’ll be into rhubarb. It’s tart and tangy, although it sweetens as it cooks and really shines as one of the best parts of spring.
Rhubarb bread ingredients
This quick bread is oat flour based making it naturally gluten free. Oat flour is great because not only is it easy to make on your own (just blend oats until they become a flour), but it’s also a 1:1 substitution for regular all-purpose flour.
- Oat flour
- Sweet rice flour – one caveat to oat flour is its tendency to become gummy in texture when cooked. This is especially true if blending your own flour from rolled oats. It doesn’t happen as much when blending from steel cut oats. A little bit of sweet rice flour in the recipe helps counteract any gumminess. This ingredient can be omitted in a pinch.
- Baking powder, baking soda & salt
- Cinnamon & nutmeg – the flavor of freshly grated nutmeg with the rhubarb is perfect.
- Almond milk – another type of milk (non-dairy or dairy) can be substituted if desired.
- Coconut oil
- Raw honey – I prefer the pairing of honey with rhubarb but maple syrup can be used in its place.
- Vanilla extract
- Fresh rhubarb – depending where you live, start looking for rhubarb as early as March. Fresh is best for this bread but if you have frozen rhubarb on hand it can be used. Don’t thaw it before baking, add it to the batter frozen otherwise the bread may get soggy.
- Walnuts – the added crunchy texture from the nuts is a nice contrast to the soft cooked rhubarb.
- Chia seeds – this optional add-in is a great way to add some healthy fats to the bread. They have a subtle poppyseed-like appearance.
Making rhubarb quick bread
Combine all the wet ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and stir until combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined taking care to not over mix the batter in doing so.
Gently fold in the rhubarb, walnuts and chia seeds until just incorporated. Pour the batter into a parchment lined loaf tin.
Bake the bread at 350°F for 45-50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of the bread should come out clean and the top of the bread should be lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before removing the bread from the tin using the parchment paper sides and transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.
The full recipe with amounts and detailed instructions can be found below.
How to cut rhubarb
The best way to cut the rhubarb for the bread is to finely chop or dice it. This will depend on the size of your stalks but most are somewhat thick in nature. Trim both ends of the stalk then slice the stalk in half lengthwise for regular sized rhubarb or in quarters for thicker rhubarb, then chop.
The rhubarb pieces should be about the same size as blueberries or other small berries.
The rhubarb garnish on top of the bread is optional but makes a stunning appearance in the baked loaf.
To do that, cut the rhubarb stem to a width just slightly less than that of the loaf pan. Slice the stem lengthwise in quarters to get thin strips and lay them on top of the bread batter in the tin. Gently press down into the batter so they bake into it rather than sit on top.
Why you’ll love this bread
Quick breads like this tart cherry tea bread and roasted strawberry coconut bread are simple baking wonders. They feature one seasonal ingredient and highlight it in a delicious baked loaf. This rhubarb bread is no different.
At the first spotting of rhubarb, you’ll want to grab a bunch and get baking. This loaf lets the rhubarb shine with tender bites of the tart fruit perfectly balanced with just enough subtle sweetness and crunch. The crumb is soft, moist and somewhat loose.
Don’t expect a sweet quick bread like gingerbread banana bread, this bake is all about showcasing the natural rhubarb flavor and it would be a disservice to the vegetable (yes, it’s a vegetable not a fruit) to load up the bread with sweetener.
More on rhubarb
In most parts of the Northern hemisphere, field grown rhubarb is available at markets starting in April and extending through June. The season can be extended for greenhouse grown rhubarb but its unlikely to find it much past the middle of the summer.
Fruit or vegetable?
Although most consider it a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable. That said, it’s mostly treated like fruit when used culinarily and baked into desserts or breads. This rhubarb syrup is phenomenal for mixing into drinks.
What color is rhubarb?
Rhubarb stems come in both green and red/pink. Most are a combination of the two. A greener stem is not indicative of unripe rhubarb. All colors taste the same.
Can you eat it raw?
Rhubarb can be eaten raw but it’s even more tart, sour and acidic than when cooked. In its raw state its also very fibrous and stringy. Make sure to only eat the stems and not the toxic leaves if you do choose to eat raw rhubarb. Some people like to dip the raw stems in sugar and munch on them.
Tips for the best rhubarb bread
- If using frozen rhubarb, increase baking time by at least 5 minutes.
- Make sure rhubarb is cut into uniform size so it bakes similarly.
- Don’t over mix the batter. Doing so will lead to a gummy texture. Stir until just incorporated and you don’t see any more streaks of flour.
- Allow the bread to cool fully before slicing otherwise it will be quite crumbly.
- Store the bread in an air-tight container or bag for up to 4 days at room temperature.
Try these other quick bread recipes
For peach season later in the summer, try this maple peach bread. During the fall, this pear granola bread is a favorite. When the zucchini inundation happens in a few months, chocolate zucchini bread or cheesy zucchini bread for a savory twist are both great.
Also give this homemade oat bread a try for a hearty little loaf that’s easy to throw together and perfect with a soft pat of butter.
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! I’d love to know how it goes. Leave a comment below if you have any questions. Tag @runningtothekitchen on Instagram & Facebook.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups oat flour *see note
- 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Whisk together the egg, vanilla, coconut oil, honey and almond milk in a small bowl.
- Add the oat flour, rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to a large bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix lightly until combined.
- Fold in the rhubarb, walnuts and chia seeds until just combined. Do not over mix the batter as it will become gummy in texture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Garnish with rhubarb slices on top if desired and bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. The top of the bread should look lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use the sides of the parchment paper to lift the bread out of the pan and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.