The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
Profile photo of Erika (TK)

The Theme Is … Rhubarb!

Posted by in The Theme Is...

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Rhubarb!

Rhubarb Fool with Whipped Cream & Gingersnaps from coonkincanuck Rhubarb Upside Down Cake from ericalea Rhubarb Butter from Karenpie Rhubarb Strawberry Smoothie from missamy

The season for rhubarb is upon us, and I can tell not so much by the appearance of these crimson stalks in my grocery as by the number of new recipes coming in featuring this vegetable. Or fruit (according to the US courts).

The rhubarb has an interesting history. It was originally cultivated in the general area of Western China, Tibet, Mongolia, and Sibera. The name “rhubarb” was coined by the Romans, from the Latin “rhababarum” or “root of the barbarians.” It was prized for its medicinal properties, which caused its value to skyrocket. At one point in the mid-17th century, its value soared to twice that of opium in England. In fact, some historical documents attest that some prisoners earned their freedom from jail simply by passing on tips about the medicinal uses of rhubarb to persons in authority.

All of a sudden, rhubarb doesn’t sound like a lowly vegetable (fruit) anymore.

But I know you didn’t come here for a rhubarb history lesson. You want recipes. And I don’t blame you. Not only does it have that gorgeous red color, but when prepared properly, that wonderful play of tart and sweet just brings such an interesting dimension of flavor to the dish.

We’ve got quite a few rhubarb recipes here, so let’s start with a few simple drinks: a luscious smoothie and a cocktail for the grownups. (Margaritas are always a good place to start.)

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Rhubarb! (Drinks)

Rhubarb Strawberry Smoothie from missamy Rhubarb Margaritas from whatsgabycooking

(Look, Ma! No links! But don’t fret. Just hover your mouse over each recipe image to see the name of the recipe, and click to go to the recipe page.)

Rhubarb also lends itself well to canning. Again, it’s that whole tart-and-sweet thing going on. Here are a few recipes for rhubarb jam and butter, as well as one for a jellied treat called pâte de fruit.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Rhubarb! (Preserves and Jellies)

Rhubarb Butter from Karenpie Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam, Cooked from Trish Boese Rhubarb Pâte de Fruit from Tracy (sugarcrafter) Strawberry-Rhubarb Freezer Jam from kathyingreendale

Of course, we all know the most popular way to use rhubarb. We’ve got loads of rhubarb crisps, crumbles, bars, pies … I don’t know about you, but I kinda want to take a spoon to all of these and take a bite of everything.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Rhubarb! (Baked Goods)

Rhubarb & Berry Crumble from Mike (Verses from my Kitchen) Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Streusel Topping from Melanie - Mel's Kitchen Cafe Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie from Very Culinary Rhubarb Crisp Bars from adenscrazymom Rhubarb Crumble from Tracy (sugarcrafter) Blueberry Rhubarb Bars from kelleydee Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from tallmisto

But you know we can’t leave well enough alone, right? Because we’ve got more than just the popular rhubarb versions. If you’re looking for something just a little bit different, how about muffins? Or cheesecake bars? Or try your hand at making an upside down cake (it’s calling my name).

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Rhubarb! (Baked Goods)

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake from ericalea Fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Muffins from aspicyperspective Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars with Gingersnap Crust from cookincanuck Rhubarb Muffins from Amy Jo Rhubarb Shortcakes with Lemon Ricotta Cream from rainydaygal

Let’s get even crazier. Our Tasty Kitchen members never fail to amaze me with their creativity, and I can always count on finding something unique and different in here. From a simple roasted vanilla rhubarb to a novel rhubarb risotto, rhubarb is spreading its wings and widening out beyond the dessert table.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Rhubarb! (Creative Uses)

Roasted Vanilla Rhubarb from Mike (Verses from my Kitchen) Strawberry and Rhubarb Risotto from eatplaylove Chilled Rhubarb Soup with Strawberry Puree Garnish from RITK Rhubarb Chutney from Kate @ Diethood

And to close out this rhubarb roundup, let’s look at a few parfaits and fools. No, not me—I’m referring to the English fool, which is a dessert of cooked and pureed fruit folded into whipped cream.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Rhubarb! (Parfaits)

Rhubarb Fool with Whipped Cream & Gingersnaps from coonkincanuck Rhubarb and Blackberry Yogurt Fool from In Sock Monkey Slippers Yoghurt Parfait with Rhubarb Compote from Eating for England

Thus endeth the tour of some of our favorite rhubarb recipes here in Tasty Kitchen. (I didn’t even get to show you the Rhubarb Semifreddo from puckandkudzu, or a scrumptious Rhubarb Buckle from goodfruit.)

Do you have any favorite rhubarb recipes? Any wild concoctions? You know, having a few rhubarb recipes under your belt isn’t just good for the belly. It’s also a great survival tool. While most other vegetables in temperate regions are annuals and need to be replaced each year, only a handful of vegetables are perennials and can survive and produce on their own through many growing seasons. Rhubarb is one of them. (Bonus points if you can name the others.)

Now go forth and conquer the rhubarb! And take pride in knowing that you’re taming the “root of the barbarians.”



Comments are closed for this recipe.

TONY KIRK on 7.2.2011



Jenn on 7.1.2011

I’m going to Pittsburgh to spend the 4th with my boyfriend and his family!:-)

amandamae74871 on 7.1.2011

I am soo sorry i did not intend on entering twice! I am technologically challenged!!! lol

amandamae74871 on 7.1.2011

We haven’t made any plans this time, just looking forward to spending time together and having fun whatever we do.

amandamae74871 on 7.1.2011

We don’t really have any plans this time, plan on spending some time together having fun doing something or nothing, I love the color of this mixer!!!!!!!

Profile photo of callimakesdo

callimakesdo on 6.16.2011

I LOVE your “theme is” roundups Erika. It’s one of my favorite ways to find recipes on TK. There are about 10 rhubarb recipes here that I have to try! the Rhubarb Butter from karenpie is calling my name.

Brenda Diane on 6.16.2011

Thank you for the new recipes. I enjoy reading your Blog when I have time. I can not wait to try the Rhubarb Pate de Fruit.

LisaMarie on 6.15.2011

I make a mean rhubarb cheese cake. So so yummy:)

W MD Mtn Mama on 6.15.2011

I live in the Appalachian Mountains but used to live in OK (totally different soil). Here’s a tip for growing rhubarb. It doesn’t really like just garden or backyard soil. You need to dig a 2′ x 3′ space about 12-18″ deep per large root. Amend the soil with peat moss.Buy it if you do not have natural compost. Throw in leaves, grass, dirt, very dry horse manure (Ree’s got plenty),then water deeply. Really work it. Should be very light and loamy. Set your root just below ground level. As the soil settles, just a bit of the root should be above ground.Then add grass or leaves so it won’t dry out too fast. Bet you’ll have rhubarb next year! In very cold climate…mulch, mulch, mulch and try to plant on south side of a building or out in full sun. Sorry guys, you can’t eat it the first year,it will make you sick. Wait for the second year. AND ALWAYS–the leaves are POISON. Now I’m gonna get started cooking!!! Thanks everybody:)

Kristi on 6.15.2011

Great…now I am salivating all over my keyboard. Thanks alot!!!! I love Rhubarbl….almost as much as my husband does. We live in South Dakota so we will have lots of opportunities to try some new dishes! Yay! I think the Margarita is a must try. And SOON!

Patty on 6.15.2011

Sounds yummy!! We have tried to start a rhubard patch for 3 summers now!! Not having much luck. Weather isn’t co-operating!!

Mrs.T on 6.15.2011

Um, this just became my new food obsession. . .Why, WHY didn’t I plant rhubarb in my garden. . .gersh-dernitt!

Delishhh on 6.15.2011

You missed my banana, chocolate chip and rhubarb bread – it was awesome!

Carmalee W on 6.15.2011

I have no recipes to offer, but have any of you seen the Rhubarb tables or birdbaths made by using a rhubarb leaf to cast concrete? Here’s a pic:

One of my FB friends posted a pic of one she painted yesterday. I had never heard of it!

A Swedish Chef on 6.15.2011

I am drooling. Thanks in advance for making me gain 5 lbs.

Somer Pinic on 6.15.2011

Other Perennial Veggies:

Jerusalem artichokes, Walking onions, Asparagus, Green artichoke, Root parsley…uhhh…does garlic count? That’s all I’ve got.

Jill D on 6.15.2011

This is the easiest rhubarb recipe ever…and so yummy!

Rhubarb dump cake

Layer the following in a 9×12 pan. Do not mix! Do not add the usual extras to the jello and cake mixes. Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes.

4-5 c. chopped rhubarb
1 c. sugar
1 small pkg. strawberry jello
1 white or yellow cake mix
1 c. water
1/2 c. melted butter

SarahLouWho on 6.15.2011

AHH!!! I LOVE rhubarb!!! These recipes look delicious!

Rivki Locker on 6.14.2011

Incredibly, I had never cooked with rhubarb before…until this year. Now that I tried it I can’t get enough! Muffins, crisps, and a fantastic upside down cake similar to the one here!

Samantha K. on 6.14.2011

Next time you’re visiting your pesky little sister in Seattle, tell her to take you to Flying Fish (it’s in the South Lake Union neighborhood) and have the rhubarb pie for dessert. It’s so delicious!

Also, I really want a rhubarb margarita now.

Cindy L. on 6.14.2011

I just returned from the store with a few things so I could try the perfect iced coffee that Ree posted yesterday…now it looks like I’ll have to head to the fruit stand to pick up some rhubarb!!

Rachel on 6.14.2011

Rhubarb is one of my favorite foods…and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam is one of our best sellers here at Baer’s Pantry.
We live in southeastern Wyoming where the annual rainfall is 13 inches and the elevation, 6000 feet. I have been trying to get one surviving rhubarb plant to thrive for years but usually only get enough for one desert a year. This spring we dumped a bucket of compost on the emerging leaves and it is growing wonderfully! We recently attended a Living History Day that involved the site of a homestead settled in the late 1800’s and not lived in since the 1930’s, if I remember correctly. I was amazed to find rhubarb plants all over the area. How it survived in this arid climate, I cannot imagine, but there it was, possibly 100 years old!

Paula on 6.14.2011

I’ve never tried rhubarb but have wondered what it tastes like. Thank you for all the neat recipes.

[email protected] on 6.14.2011

I am definitely going to be getting some more rhubarb from the Farmers Market this weekend! I had no idea a person could make so many amazing things with rhubarb. We love really healthy yogurt smoothies for breakfast, we are going to try it with rhubarb. We also did a really great cherry rhubarb frozen yogurt following this tutorial:

Profile photo of Stephanie

Stephanie on 6.14.2011

Well, I’m trying to expand my rhubarb repertoire, but my go-to recipe is still Rhubarb Coffee Cake, which is in my recipe box here on Tasty Kitchen… I want to try and make a little strawberry-rhubarb jam this year. Of course I know where to find a couple recipes!

Anna Mcdonnell on 6.14.2011

These recipes is so delicious, we usually have them for breakfast! Enjoy!=-)
“Bluebarb” Coffee Cake

Crumb Topping:
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firm butter or margarine
Coffee Cake:
2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) chopped rhubarb
Vanilla Glaze:
½ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ to 2 teaspoons hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Grease bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan or 9-inch square pan with shortening or cooking spray.

2. In small bowl, mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup flour and the cinnamon. Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly; set aside.

3. In large bowl, mix all coffee cake ingredients except blueberries and rhubarb; beat with spoon 30 seconds. Fold in blueberries and rhubarb. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with topping.

4. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake (not fruit) comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan if desired.

5. In small bowl, mix all glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over warm coffee cake. Serve warm if desired.

Rhubarb Bread
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk (about a cup of milk and then a tablespoon of vinegar)
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups diced rhubarb
½ cup pecan (optional)

Mix together brown sugar, egg, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Blend well. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Pour into greased and floured bread pans, or 13×9 inch baking pan.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Enjoy!

Profile photo of bakedinmaine

bakedinmaine on 6.14.2011

I love rhubarb. We have some growing beside the house. I’ve made 3 desserts so far.
Everyone loved it. Here’s the recipe:

Profile photo of jojo0676

jojo0676 on 6.14.2011

:-( I need the links back. Hovering doesn’t work on an iPad :-(

Katrina on 6.14.2011

Rhubarb is such a yummy flavour. I love all of these! Yum!

Profile photo of kelleydee

kelleydee on 6.14.2011

What the heck….tasty kitchen you’re messing with me! First it was there, then it vanished, and now it’s back. I’m not supposed to play with technology today apparently! I think I need to eat a pan of these bars and call it a day. Sheesh. :)

Profile photo of kelleydee

kelleydee on 6.14.2011

I am the author of the Blueberry Rhubarb bars….and my recipe has vanished! What the heck?

NicoleD on 6.14.2011

Thank you for the timely post! I have some beautiful rhubarb in need of some love :)

Profile photo of Laurie - Simply Scratch

Laurie - Simply Scratch on 6.14.2011

I love rhubarb! I’ll take one of each please!!

Barbara in Texas on 6.14.2011

I haven’t had rhubarb since I was a little girl living in South Dakota. I may have to find some seeds and plant me some. THAT would be a first. I have a brown thumb.

Profile photo of Whitney

Whitney on 6.14.2011

You must be reading my mind! I picked about 20 rhubarb stalks from my garden just two days ago! And made that upside down cake with it! It was delicious. Can’t wait to try more of these recipes!

Melissa on 6.14.2011

First of all, these all look DELICIOUS! So nobody think I’m not delighted by the recipes. One thing that’s missing is any rhubarb recipe that isn’t sweet, though. Vegetarian Times recently offered five rhubarb recipes, including a pineapple rhubarb relish (great w/ black beans) and a rhubarb spinach lentil stew (pair w/ crusty bread), that absolutely knocked my socks off. I went looking through their archives for any other non-sweet rhubarb recipes and found what turned out to be my favorite: an apple rhubarb salad, with Granny Smiths, sour cream, blue cheese, walnuts, scallions, and rhubarb. HOLY MOLY! I made all three and will make them again. I’ll also be making me some sugar-loaded desserts off of this page…YUM!

Heather on 6.14.2011

I have yet to get my rhubarb on this year…I need to hop to it and there’s no shortage of recipes :)

Profile photo of Erika (TK)

Erika (TK) on 6.14.2011

Bonus points for DessertForTwo!

Kathy, you’re making my mouth water. Eating rhubarb raw dipped in sugar is right up my alley.

Emily on 6.14.2011

I recently had rhubard cobbler for the first time and it was delicious. Was a little unsure of it at first but it had a great sweetness to it! Thanks for sharing some more recipes to try!

Kathy on 6.14.2011

My father was military. We lived in France for a couple of years and had a HUGE rhubarb plant in the garden. My sisters and I would cut it up and while taking a walk in the village, we would dip it in sugar and eat it. What fond memories.

Ethan on 6.14.2011

I may have dreams of rhubarb tonight!

DessertForTwo on 6.14.2011

Wow, now I have an intense rhubarb craving.

You’ve totally piqued my farmer’s heart: other perennial vegetables include asparagus and artichokes! I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I got right now.

Peggy on 6.14.2011

When I was a child we used to go into the garden and pick some rhubarb and eat it raw with salt on it.
We ate almost everything raw with salt.

[email protected] on 6.14.2011

Hmmm…missing a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler! here is a low cal, low fat version that is wonderful!

Profile photo of sparkysticks

sparkysticks on 6.14.2011

I love rhubarb! There is a fantastic recipe in Rustic Fruit Desserts by by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson for Lemon Buttermilk Rhubarb Bundt Cake. SOOOO GOOD!

aleshia on 6.14.2011

rhubarb! i grew up in alaska and this stuff is everywhere! i still encounter tons of people (in arkansas!)who have never heard of it…or who have an are afraid. ha! strawberry rhubarb pie is GREAT. and of course rhubarb crisp is a fave. im excited to try some new concoctions with this wonderful food! it always brings back memories of home!

Profile photo of Wenderly

Wenderly on 6.14.2011

All so gorgeous! Think I must pick up some rhubarb this weekend while at the Farmer’s Market!

Diane on 6.14.2011

My Dad is making rhubarb wine as we speak, uh, as I write. ;-))

SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen on 6.14.2011

We LOVE rhubarb :) This is the first year we have our own garden patch and we’ve been making rhubarb everything lately. Just polished off a blueberry rhubarb crisp last night. Here is a link to our favorite rhubarb recipes, which include a pineapple strawberry rhubarb dump cake, my grandmother’s rhubarb cake and rhubarb meringue!