I’ve been seeing rhubarb in the market lately. Their long vibrant red stalks are hard to pass up. Standing tall amongst other vegetables, rhubarb is bold and versatile. You can use them in savory and sweet dishes with equal success.
I didn’t grow up eating rhubarb- it’s not a very commonly used vegetable in South Asian cuisine. When I started seeing beautiful pictures of rhubarb dishes on the Internet, I knew I had to try cooking with it.
One summer, I was very enthusiastic about making jam. I made all types: blueberry, strawberry, apricot and plum. There is extra effort that goes into making jam but compote is a bit easier. You don’t have to worry about reaching the right temperature to “set the jam” or canning it.
Compote is not fussy; it can be slightly chunky. It is easy to make and adaptable to most dishes. I decided my first attempt at rhubarb would be to incorporate it into a compote.
Rhubarb is considered to be a tangy vegetable, making it ideal for savory dishes. However when mixed with sugar, it is brought to life as a dessert. I wanted to keep this compote less sweet with tangy notes serving as the star.
This recipe is essentially a sheet pan dish making it super easy to prepare and clean up. The fruit is diced and mixed together with lemon juice, vanilla bean, sugar and a tiny splash of rosewater. Everything is spread out and roasted for about 20-25 minutes until you have sweet, tangy, jammy goodness. Mix in fresh thyme after roasting is complete.
Use the compote swirled into yogurt, atop pancakes, toast or spread onto biscuits. I like to make a parfait by adding one or two layers of coconut or greek yogurt. For smooth, even layers, pop your parfait jar, filled with desired amount of yogurt, into the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Generously top with compote, fresh fruit and any other topping of choice. Let sit for a few minutes or until yogurt thaws. Enjoy ❤️
Top 8 Free
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 pound rhubarb (about 3 stalks), washed. *See Notes
- 6-8 medium to large strawberries, hulled & sliced
- 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
- Pinch salt
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 1/4 tsp rosewater (optional)
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds and pod
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs, stems removed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Cut rhubarb stalks into 3-inch lengths. Slice strawberries. Make sure everything is cut essentially the same size so that the rhubarb and strawberries evenly roast. Add sugar, salt, lemon juice and rosewater. Set aside in a bowl.
Use the tip of a knife to split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the back of your knife, scrape out the seeds. Add the pod and seeds to the rhubarb-strawberry mixture.
Spread out rhubarb and strawberries in a single layer. If they are crowded, they will steam and become soggy. Tuck the vanilla bean pod in amongst the mixture.
Bake until the rhubarb- strawberry mixture is soft and juicy but not falling apart, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Remove vanilla bean pod. Pour entire mixture, with juices, into a clean canning jar. Add fresh thyme. Mix well with a spatula to incorporate together.
Serve swirled into yogurt or as a parfait, atop pancakes, waffles or on toast. Store in refrigerator for about 1 week or eat immediately.
- Discard any leaves from rhubarb-they are poisonous and should not be eaten.
- I haven’t tried this yet with strictly honey or maple syrup but you certainty could. A combination of 1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon honey is nice too.
- Use a rimmed baking sheet because as the rhubarb and strawberries roast they will release their juices. This is delicious contained in the baking sheet, not all over the floor of your oven!
- There is no need to peel the skin unless there are stringy parts. Simply peel off or they will melt away while roasting.