Once known as "the pie plant," rhubarb is certainly delicious cooked into pastries and other desserts, but this curious vegetable can shine in soups, appetizers, chutneys, and more.
- Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro
Try a Little RhubarbAlthough rhubarb leaves are toxic, the ruby-hued stalks are edible and often cooked down into pies, jams, and other desserts. Rhubarb has been used for medicinal purposes in China for thousands of years, and was first introduced in America in the 1820s in Maine and Massachusetts. Here in the United States, it's freshest in April and May, though hothouse rhubarb is available most of the year.
Ready for some rhubarb? Read on for seven different ways to prepare this brightly colored, often overlooked vegetable.
Rhubarb-Lentil Soup with Crème FraîcheExplore rhubarb's savory side with this hearty lentil soup, which one of our reviewers described as "possibly the tastiest healthy soup I've ever made." One serving weighs in at less than 200 calories and just over 6 grams of fat, plus a whopping 7 grams of fiber. Need an easy substitute for the crème fraîche? Try sour cream instead.
Grilled Pork Chops with Rhubarb ChutneyWhip up a homemade chutney featuring rhubarb to really highlight these glazed, grilled pork chops. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green salad.
Raspberry-Rhubarb TartRaspberries make the perfect partner for rhubarb in this simple tart that bakes best in a cast-iron skillet. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for an extra-special touch.
Cranberry-Rhubarb CompoteThis cranberry-rhubarb compote can be made with either fresh or frozen cranberries and keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It pairs well with pork, poultry, duck, or wild game.
Brie, Rhubarb, and Green Peppercorn CrostiniThis unusual appetizer is sure to turn the heads of your party guests! Sweeten the rhubarb by cooking with honey in a saucepan, then add vinegar and peppercorns. Top toasted baguette slices with the rhubarb mixture and a slice of Brie, and serve.
Rice Pudding with Poached RhubarbAdd a little color and kick to this rich and creamy rice pudding by pairing with rhubarb that's been poached in a mixture of sugar, wine, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. The poached rhubarb also goes well with Greek yogurt.
Rhubarb LiqueurDid you know you can make your own liqueurs at home? All you need are a few fresh ingredients, spirits, and most of all - patience. For this rhubarb liqueur, simply combine a sugar-water mixture, chopped fresh rhubarb, vodka, and orange liqueur and let stand at room temperature for 2 or 3 weeks. Strain the finished liqueur and package as desired.