Most recipes using rhubarb have you cook the vegetable and use a ton of sweetener. If you have been blessed with an abundance of rhubarb but want some other options, try this! My strawberry rhubarb ice cream fluff has no added sugar and requires no cooking! You only need four ingredients to make this simple high-volume and low-calorie treat. Refreshing and delicious!
June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. However, you don’t have to create a holiday to encourage me to enjoy the season’s bounty! I am all over the fruit and veggie goodness that is at its most perfect in June.
Around here, I’ve noticed that the fresh rhubarb always comes in a little before our strawberries are at peak ripeness. By the time the best strawberries arrive, rhubarb has often disappeared from stores until next year.
My solution to this is generally to grab the rhubarb right away and make my annual strawberry rhubarb pie using the less optimal strawberries. In all honesty, the old family recipe I use has so much sugar that using slightly imperfect fruit makes little difference.
This year has been different with the pandemic as I’ve been doing most of my grocery shopping online. Since the shopper is picking my produce for me, I sometimes end up surprised by what gets delivered.
The rhubarb I’m used to seeing around here has very thin stalks, so I get maybe ¾-cup per piece. Imagine my surprise this year when I ordered 5 stalks and received behemoths yielding 2-3 cups of rhubarb each!
It appears the rhubarb crops did quite well this year. I certainly ended up with far more rhubarb than I could use in a pie. So let’s talk rhubarb!
The first thing I want to say about rhubarb is that the stalks are safe to eat, but do not eat the leaves!
The British government advised people to eat rhubarb leaves to help alleviate food shortages during WWI. Unfortunately, sicknesses and death were reported as a result of this practice.
There are published case reports of death from eating rhubarb leaves. You would need to ingest quite a lot of leaves for this to happen, but why take the risk?
(P.S. I also came across the case of a child who developed a GI blockage from consuming a bunch of dried rhubarb stalks. Please avoid doing that as well. There can be negative consequences from the overconsumption of even “healthy” foods.)
The toxicity of rhubarb leaves is often attributed to their oxalic acid content. According to some sources, however, common foods like spinach and beet leaves are even higher in oxalic acid than rhubarb leaves.
The oxalic acid content of the leaves does not appear to be the whole story. Anthraquinone glycosides in the leaves have been named as another possible contributor to their toxicity.
Stores (at least around here) typically sell rhubarb stalks without their leaves. Even though we don’t have a full understanding of what makes the leaves poisonous, it’s a smart move to avoid them.
Second, rhubarb is very tart and can benefit from some sort of sweetener.
Rhubarb is often paired with strawberries, but it typically needs more sweetener to be palatable. In my strawberry rhubarb salad recipe, I used a touch of Swerve.
Here, I added an overripe, frozen banana. If you are like me, you typically have 10-15 overripe bananas in the freezer at any given time. Lol There are so many great ways to use them beyond banana bread!
If you aren’t a fan of bananas, you could substitute a little Swerve here or use some pureed dates. If you do that though, the texture of this dessert will change. You might end up a more liquid strawberry rhubarb smoothie that you can drink with a straw.
Finally, though people usually serve it cooked, rhubarb stalks are safe to eat raw.
Almost every recipe I’ve ever seen for rhubarb has you cook it first. However, you don’t have to do things that way. Rhubarb stalks are fine to enjoy raw.
In this recipe, I froze the raw rhubarb before blending. This helped to soften the texture of the rhubarb a little bit.
If you want a high-volume ice cream-like dessert (as pictured), make sure you use frozen rhubarb and banana but fresh strawberries. You should also use an extremely large food processor because this stuff is going to expand!
I have a 10-cup Hamilton Beach food processor, and the finished recipe completely filled it! A 12-cup food processor would have been even better. If you have a high-speed blender, that is going to be your best bet to get a completely smooth texture.
As you can see in the photos, there were tiny flecks of strawberry and rhubarb in the finished dessert. We were all good with this, though.
A lot of the low-calorie, high-volume frozen dessert recipes floating around use fat-free whipped topping, sugar-free gelatin, and other ultra-processed foods. These recipes can be helpful to some during their weight loss journey. Honestly, though far from nutritionally “perfect,” desserts like these did help me out a bit.
However, and I admit that I’m biased (considering I am the recipe creator, haha), but I think this strawberry rhubarb ice cream fluff is so much better.
For only around 100 calories, you’re not only getting a delicious high-volume dessert. You’re also getting some fruit in, as well as additional nutrients from the milk. It’s a win!
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Strawberry Banana Nice Cream (Vegan, Plant Based Ice Cream)
- 2 cups frozen strawberries
- 2 medium bananas, frozen in chunks (overripe)
- ¼ cup unsweetened soymilk (plain or vanilla soy milk)
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb (stems only, rhubarb leaves are poisonous)
- 1 tablespoon Swerve, granular
- optional ice cream toppings (whipped cream, chocolate sauce, cherries, etc.)
- Chop the rhubarb into small pieces (0.5-0.75 inch/1.27-1.9 cm). You can peel the rhubarb first if it’s not pink and tender.
- Put the rhubarb, soymilk, and Swerve in a small saucepan. Heat it on the stovetop over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The rhubarb should soften and the Swerve should fully dissolve.
- Let the rhubarb mixture chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Chop the frozen strawberries and bananas into small pieces if they are large. The smaller you chop them, the easier they’ll blend into smooth nice cream.
- Put the chilled rhubarb mixture, frozen strawberries, and frozen bananas in a food processor. Blend until completely smooth. It will take several minutes. You will likely need to stop the processor a few times to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
- After it’s completely smooth, you can have your vegan nice cream as a soft serve right away. If it’s too soft, put it in a freezer-safe container and let it freeze for 1-1.5 hours before serving. It should be easy to scoop at that point. If you let it freeze considerably longer, scooping gets harder.
- Top your strawberry banana nice cream as desired, and enjoy!
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). I usually keep my level 1 snacks under 100 calories, but I thought I’d make an exception here. This high-volume and low-calorie treat is nearly entirely fruits and veggies. It completely blows most 100-calorie snacks out of the water in terms of phytonutrients. For example, strawberries are rich in anthocyanins, a group of compounds linked to a lower risk of nutrition-related chronic disease. These phytochemicals are especially abundant in berries. The downside is that this strawberry nice cream is nearly all carbs, with little in the way of other macros. You get a little protein from the soy milk, but it’s truly minimal. This dish definitely fits the “snack” category, as it’s not a balanced meal. Still, if you’d normally have fruit by itself as a snack, this recipe is a fun spin. And if you try to avoid “naked carbs” (i.e., carbs eaten by themselves without other macronutrients), you have some options. For example, top your vegan strawberry ice cream with chopped peanuts for a little more fat and protein. You could also use a whipped cream or whipped coconut cream topping for more fat. (Go for a sugar-free option if you’re trying to bump up the fat without adding more carbs.) Keep in mind that adding toppings to your ice cream will change the nutrition information. Depending on the toppings you use, you can take this from a low calorie to a high calorie dessert pretty easily. (This may or may not be a good thing, depending on what your personal goals are.) Nutrition information is for one serving and does not include optional toppings. Carbohydrates listed are net carbs (total carbs minus fiber and erythritol).
Have you ever tried eating raw rhubarb? (Stalks only, of course!) Please leave a rating below if you try this strawberry rhubarb ice cream fluff. I’d love to hear from you!