Desserts

June 1, 2021

Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Crisp

This Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Crisp is naturally sweetened with fresh strawberries and honey, then topped with a gluten-free pretzel oat crumble. Each bite is sweet, a little salty, and refined sugar-free. It's the perfect dessert for spring!

Growing up, my family gravitated towards the chocolate-y kind of desserts, like chocolate cream pie, chocolate cake, and chocolate brownies. It was a safe flavor that everybody enjoyed and there were always lots of pre-made options to choose from.

Even on holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, we opted for chocolate or vanilla desserts rather than fruit desserts, so I don't really enjoy the "classics" like apple pie or fruit trifle.

As I've grown older and tried new flavors, I've come to love a really good homemade fruit dessert like these Strawberry Crumble Bars, this easy Lemon Blueberry Loaf Bread, or a fresh batch of my Dark Chocolate Strawberry Muffins. In fact, I've even come to prefer fruity desserts over more traditional desserts!

And let me tell you, today's recipe for Healthy Strawberry Crisp takes it all. It's warm, sugar-free, jammy strawberries bubbling under a salty, crispy, pretzel oat crumble that smells AND tastes like summer. It's quite literally the perfect dessert!

A spoon scooping out Strawberry Pretzel Crisp

Ingredients you'll need

  • Fresh strawberries: the key word here is fresh. Using fresh strawberries prevents this delicious strawberry pretzel dessert from being diluted from excess water. Fresh berries also have the best flavor and really bring out the honey and lemon!
  • Raw honey: a natural substitute for granulated sugar with a lower GI index. It also perfectly compliments the strawberries and brings an earthy sweetness to the crisp!
  • Fresh lemon: we're using both lemon juice and lemon zest to top off our healthy strawberry crisp. It's just enough that you really will taste the difference, so don't be lazy and skip the lemon!
  • Mini pretzel twists: the exciting twist that really makes this the best strawberry pretzel dessert. Traditionally, strawberry crisps are made with a simple topping of oats, flour, sugar, and butter, but I wanted to make this recipe new and exciting. By pulsing pretzels into a fine flour, we get a unique salty flavor that transcends the simple addition of salt. If you really watch your food processor, try leaving a few small pieces of pretzel to add another crunch too! (see the picture below for reference)
  • Rolled oats: for a boost of fiber, plant-based protein, and texture. I don't recommend using quick oats because they're too small to really contribute to the texture and they're more likely to burn in the oven.
  • Cooked quinoa: my secret ingredient that will totally change the game for you. Quinoa adds another layer of texture, flavor, and plant-based protein to this healthy strawberry crisp but you literally cannot tell it's there. It also helps bulk up the crisp topping so we don't have to use as much flour or butter. Win-win! Please please please just trust me and don't skip this ingredient!

A plate of Strawberry Pretzel Crisp

How to make healthy strawberry crisp

The process is really quite simple: you make the strawberry layer and the crisp layer, then you bake it all together in the oven.

However, because there's a few non-traditional ingredients in this recipe, there's a few extra steps. Don't worry, the total time commitment isn't that much more than normal and the extra TLC will take your healthy strawberry crisp from an average dessert to a 12/10 dessert!

Start by making the pretzel flour. Measure out the pretzels (I do it by weight) and add them to a food processor like this one. Pulse until you're left with a fine flour and some distinctive crumbs. Leaving these crumbs in tact will really bring out that beloved pretzel flavor!

Pretzels in a food processor

Once the pretzel flour is ready, combine all your dry ingredients for the crisp topping, including the quinoa, in a small bowl. Mix together your wet ingredients until smooth, then pour over the dry ingredients and cut in until a crumble mixture forms. It should resemble wet sand. Place the crisp in the fridge to "marinate" until the strawberries are ready.

In another bowl, toss the fresh strawberries with all remaining ingredients and pour into a prepared baking dish, including the juices. Make sure the berries are in an even layer so they all bake the same! Finally, crumble your crisp topping over the strawberry layer. Cover with foil.

Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes until the top is crispy and the strawberries are bubbling around the edges. Et voila! The best strawberry pretzel dessert you've ever smelled!

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between a crisp, a crumble, and a cobbler?

A crisp is a fruit dessert with a topping made from rolled oats, flour, sugar, and butter. A crumble is also a fruit dessert, but the topping doesn't include oats and doesn't get as crispy during baking. A cobbler is a fruit dessert with a biscuit-like topping and more resembles a pie. This Berry Cobbler from Broma Bakery is a great example of a cobbler!

A dish of Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Crisp

How do I store Strawberry Crisp?

Because this Healthy Strawberry Crisp is made with fresh fruit, it needs to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. I recommend no longer than 72 hours.

Can I make this Strawberry Pretzel Dessert ahead of time?

Technically yes, but it tastes best fresh. Remember that the crisp doesn't last longer than 72 hours, so if you do plan to make it ahead of time, I recommend no more than 24 hours in advance.

Can I use frozen strawberries for this healthy Strawberry Crisp?

I don't recommend using frozen strawberries because they retain too much water, which creates excess liquid that dilutes the sweetness of the dish. If you can't find fresh berries, thaw until room temperature, then rinse and strain out any excess liquid. Dry with paper towels and let sit out until you're ready to prepare the recipe.

Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Crisp with extra strawberries on top

I know you'll fall in love with this fun twist on a Healthy Strawberry Crisp! You'd never know that it was gluten-free, refined sugar-free, or had quinoa hidden throughout the crisp. But don't worry, the pretzels are obvious and delicious!

Be sure to leave a star rating and review if you try this recipe! It helps me and other readers know how you liked it and what types of recipes I should make in the future. Happy baking!

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Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Crisp

This Healthy Strawberry Pretzel Crisp is naturally sweetened with fresh strawberries and honey, then topped with a gluten-free pretzel oat crumble. Each bite is sweet, a little salty, and refined sugar-free. It's the perfect dessert for spring!

Author:

Brooke Harmer

Prep:

20

min

cook:

45

min

total:

65

min

servings:

6

Ingredients

For the Strawberries

  • 1½ lbs. strawberries, quartered
  • 1½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp honey*
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the Crisp

  • 1 C mini pretzel twists (gluten-free if necessary)
  • ½ C rolled oats
  • ⅓ C cooked quinoa
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp Country Crock 8% Butter Spread, melted
  • 2 Tbsp honey*
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray an 8x10 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Add the mini pretzels to a food processor or high speed blender and pulse until a fine flour forms. There should be a few small pieces remaining.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the pretzel flour, rolled oats, quinoa, and sea salt together until combined. In another small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, honey, and applesauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together until a crumble mixture forms. Chill in the fridge until assembly.
  4. In another bowl, toss the strawberries in the cornstarch until well coated. Add in the honey, lemon juice, vanilla, and half the lemon zest. Pour the strawberries and all the juices into the prepared baking dish, spreading in an even layer.
  5. Remove the crisp topping from the fridge and fold in the remaining lemon zest. Sprinkle the crisp topping in an even layer over the strawberries, then cover with foil.
  6. Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes until the top is crispy and the strawberries are bubbling around the edges.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

*To make this vegan, use maple syrup.

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of 1/6 of the pan, including the topping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 pan / Calories: 177 / Fat: 3g / Saturated Fat: 0.5g / Sodium: 152mg / Carbohydrates: 36.3g / Fiber: 3g / Sugar: 16.2g / Protein: 3.1g