Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars: Easy, light, and refreshing fruit bars, with a twist!

Veggies First Then Dessert: Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars

To me, nothing says summer better than sweet strawberries, and fresh, just picked basil. Both are highlighted in these mouth-watering strawberry basil crumb bars.

Fresh juicy strawberries have started appearing in farmers markets and local grocery stores the last couple of weeks, and they shine through in these bars. Adding fresh basil is an unexpected but delicious twist, that takes these bars to the next level.

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars: Veggies First Then Dessert

It's time for June's Improv Cooking Challenge, a group I belong to that gets together once a month, to create new and tasty recipes, with two ingredients chosen by the group's leader Nichole. This month's theme is Strawberry and Basil.

While there are several different steps required, I promise these bars are easy to make. On top of that, they're vegan and gluten free too!

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars - Veggies First Then Dessert

These bars taste amazing with a cup of coffee or milk for breakfast, or topped with a scoop of (dairy-free) ice cream for dessert.

Printable recipe

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars


1-1/4 cups gluten free baking mix
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, at room temperature
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 large basil leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup strawberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 8x8-inch pan with foil, and butter the foil.
Combine the baking mix, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Mix together on low speed until well-combined. Add 8 tablespoons of the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, to the mixer and mix on low until the crust mixture starts to hold together, and has the texture of wet sand.
Set aside 1 cup of the flour mixture in a medium bowl, then scatter the rest in the prepared pan. Press down into an even layer. Bake crust for 18-20 minutes, until it starts to turn a golden brown color.
While the crust is baking, prepare the crumb topping: add the brown sugar and pecans to the reserved flour mixture, and stir together to blend. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, working it into the mixture until you have a pebbly texture. Refrigerate the crumble topping until you're ready to use it.
Stir together the chopped strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, lemon juice, and chopped basil leaves in a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, until the strawberries start to release their juice. Add the strawberry preserves and gently mash them together to break up the berries a little bit.
When the bottom crust is done baking, spread the strawberry mixture on top of the crust, then top evenly with the crumble topping. Raise oven temperature to 375 F and bake bars for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top and filling is bubbling out around the edges.
Cool for one hour, then use the foil as handles to lift it out of the pan, to finish cooling completely on a wire rack. Cut into small bars and remove from foil.

Veggies First Then Dessert: Pan of Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars

  • Recipe adapted from: superhero.com
  • If bars aren't quit firm enough to cut, place in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing.
  • Bars will keep covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Can be  served cold, or reheated in the microwave.
  • Regular all-purpose flour can be substituted for the gluten free baking mix.

Veggies First Then Dessert: #improvcookingchallenge

The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page. You can also read more about the event on our our home page. If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.

Improv Cooking Challenge: June 2020

Ingredients: Strawberries and Basil


  1. Replies
    1. Yes it is, I don't think it would taste as good with frozen strawberries.

  2. Oh how I do love a good strawberry bar - love that you added basil to these!

    1. I love the addition of basil, I think it gives the strawberries a richer flavor. Now my husband on the other hand, says the basil makes the bars taste like pizza! lol


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