Apple-Rhubarb Crisp


The apple uses two ingredients that are indispensable when making vegan desserts: agar-agar and kudzu. Agar-agar is a sea vegetable used as a gelling agent. Kudzu is a starch similar to arrowroot, which is used as a thickener for sauces and gravies. Combining the agar and kudzu yields a pudding that’s firm, yet creamy.

  • servingServings


  • 2 cups unfiltered apple juice
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. agar flakes
  • 1 Tbs. kudzu
  • 1/4 cup rice syrup
  • 2 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 lbs. tart apples, such as Granny Smith
  • 1 lb. rhubarb stalks
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces (optional)
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 4 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 8 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish


  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups apple juice into a small saucepan, add agar flakes and set aside. (The pectin in the juice helps to break down the agar.) After 10 minutes, place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat and cook 10 minutes to dissolve agar flakes.
  2. In small bowl, dissolve kudzu in remaining 1/2 cup apple juice. Add rice syrup, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix vigorously with a wire whisk until all ingredients are blended well. Add this to hot apple juice-agar mixture and stir often to keep it from lumping or scorching. Cook, stirring often, 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Reserve 1/4 cup for topping.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Core and cut apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Peel rhubarb and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  4. In an 11 1/2- by 7 1/2-inch baking dish, layer half the apples. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Layer with half the rhubarb and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour half of agar-kudzu mixture over fruit. Repeat layers once.
  5. In medium bowl, combine oats, rice flour, pecans if using, oil, maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt and reserved agar-kudzu liquid. Spoon mixture over apples and rhubarb. Bake until fruit is bubbling and top is lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  6. To serve, scoop out with large serving spoon, top each serving with a dollop of almond cream and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 8 Servings
  • Calories: 351
  • Carbohydrate Content: 68 g
  • Fat Content: 7 g
  • Fiber Content: 7 g
  • Protein Content: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat Content: 1 g
  • Sodium Content: 244 mg