Secret Ingredient Blueberry Crisp (Vegan + Gluten-Free!)

Since it’s July 4th weekend, let me be clear.

The secret ingredient here is RUM, and you’re going to absolutely love it.

This is the sort of effortless dessert you can rely on all summer long, but it’s particularly primed for the 4th. Not only are the bursting blueberries delightfully patriotic, but this is vegan, gluten-free, AND made in about 30 minutes!

Delicious doesn’t get much more efficient than this.

Since you’re going to be splurging all weekend  — I see about 8 hot dogs in my future — it’s good to find meals where you can rein it in. Obviously you’re not going to cut down on rosé, carbs, or drunken snacks at 2am. But baking a healthy-ish bbq dessert IS reasonable, so let’s get to it.

You start by buying the freshest blueberries you can find. You want them plump, tart, ripe, and juicy, so be sure to sample a few before purchasing. When you’ve got the goods, prepare the filling with blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, agave, cornmeal, and rum. Cornmeal is actually the second secret-ingredient here (so fancy!), because it creates an almost pie-like filling. Crisps and crumbles typically are more runny — see these strawberry crumbles for reference — but for this dessert I wanted the filling to be THICK, luscious, and creamy. The cornmeal thickens the consistency just  how I wanted it, so it’s a nice extra addition.

But the main surprise is, of course, the rum. White rum adds a mild sweetness + touch of edge here that lends a splendidly unexpected kick. It infuses a tropical-inspired flavor, while simultaneously intensifying the blueberries natural taste. It’s an easy enhancement that makes a BIG difference, so there’s no reason not to do it. And if you want an even deeper flavor, go with dark rum! Just make sure whatever you use, it’s high quality — Bacardi was my brand of choice.

Once the filling is prepped, make the topping chock full of oats, cornmeal, and brown sugar. The cornmeal makes the crust crispier, crunchier, and thicker, so again it’s the quiet hero. And after you bake this up + serve with dairy-free ice cream?


Major dessert success.

The ice cream practically sizzles when nestled atop the the crispy oats, the sound AND taste is truly divine. The filling is thick and juicy as expected, making it the perfect contrast against the golden shell and cool, creamy ice cream. And for a fun, herbaceous garnish, throw in some fresh thyme!

It looks pretty, tastes great, and takes this to ultra-posh levels of presentation. xo

Secret Ingredient Blueberry Crisp (Vegan + Gluten-Free!)


  • 1 1/2 lbs blueberries
  • 6 1/2 tbsps granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsps vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsps stone ground yellow corn meal
  • 2 tbsps white rum
  • a few drizzles of agave nectar
  • a pinch of salt
  • shortening to grease
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsps stone ground yellow corn meal
  • 3 tbsps dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • a drizzle of agave nectar
  • a pinch of salt
  • fresh thyme to garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 9″ or 10″ baking dish with shortening.
  2. In large mixing bowl combine all filling ingredients, stirring until well mixed. Spoon into the greased baking dish.
  3. In another mixing bowl combine all topping ingredients, tossing well. Evenly crumble the oat mixture atop the blueberry filling, then bake on oven middle rack for 25 minutes until browned and bubbling. Allow to cool slightly, then top with dairy-free ice cream + fresh thyme and serve!