Months April through May are an ideal time to be purchasing rhubarb from your local farmer's market or grocery store. It adds a pop of pink to a wide range of recipes, and its flavor is suitable for both savory and sweet dishes.
In fact, its ability to be used in either has caused quite a debate as to whether rhubarb is considered a fruit or vegetable. Technically, it is a vegetable, but is commonly understood to be a fruit in America, especially since a majority of recipes incorporate it as such. (Think strawberry-rhubarb pie!)
Rhubarb is a great source of minerals, vitamins, organic compounds, and other nutrients that make it ideal for keeping our bodies healthy. Some of these precious components are dietary fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. In terms of organic compounds, rhubarb is a rich source of polyphenolic flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Because of this, eating rhubarb has shown to help with weight loss, cardiovascular diseases, digestion, bone health, and even Alzheimer’s.
Here are some great recipe recommendations, so that you can start incorporating the nutritional benefits of rhubarb into your diet today!
NOTE: Make sure to only cook with the rhubarb stalks. Rhubarb leaves are inedible and may cause severe illness if consumed.
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothies
(From One Green Planet)
MAKES 1 - 2 SERVINGS
1 cup fresh rhubarb, chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon date or maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 fresh banana
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla non-dairy milk of choice (You can read all about non-dairy milk options here.)
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1) Combine chopped rhubarb, orange juice, date syrup, vanilla and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for five minutes.
2) Set aside to cool slightly and place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
3) Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth and serve.
(Adapted from Dinner With Julie)
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
1 rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons rice, red wine, or raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard (or to taste)
1/4 cup canola or mild olive oil
1) In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb with 1/4 – 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2) Put the rhubarb into a blender with the agave, vinegar, and mustard. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil.
Coconut Sorbet with Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
(From Not Without Salt)
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
For the Sorbet -
3 cups coconut milk (2 13-ounce cans)
2/3 cup natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the Sauce -
4 cups chopped ripe strawberries
3/4 cup diced rhubarb
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped
1) In a medium pot, warm 2 cups of the coconut milk, the sugar, brown rice syrup, and a pinch of salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
2) In a large bowl, add the remaining cup of coconut milk and stir in the vanilla and cornstarch to dissolve. Slowly stir the warm coconut milk into the coconut-cornstarch mixture. Set the bowl in the fridge to cool completely.
3) Once cooled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Leave the mixture to set fully in the freezer.
4) For the sauce, in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, a pinch of salt, and the sugar.
5) Leave everything to very gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Give it a stir and barely simmer again, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes longer. You will have chunks of fruit between a loose liquid; this will set more as it cools to become a thicker sauce.
6) Allow the mixture to cool, uncovered, to room temperature. The sauce can be kept, covered, in the fridge for 1 week.
7) Serve the sundaes with a puddle of the sauce, a few scoops of sorbet, another drizzle of sauce, and pistachios on top.