40+ Incredible Uses for Rhubarb (Healthy Rhubarb Recipes) (2024)

Last Updated on February 16, 2024

Ready for some of the best healthy rhubarb recipes on the interwebs? No idea what rhubarb is or what to use rhubarb for? Here’s why to get to know this terrific plant, which can be used in soooooo many delicious recipes with rhubarb all season long. Find out how to cook rhubarb with some of these mouth-watering uses for rhubarb.

If you’re not familiar with this veggie that’s used like a fruit, you will be by the end of this post, one of the most viewed on HealthyGreenSavvy.

Here’s why I grow FIVE SEVEN rhubarb plants in our tiny urban lot and why you may want to get to know this cool seasonal vegetable. Plus more than 40 of the best healthy rhubarb recipes from around the blogosphere!

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What is Rhubarb, Anyway?

Rhubarb is a giant perennial vegetable (a relative of buckwheat) that thrives in a range of climates. It has big beautiful leaves that, by the way, are poisonous, containing toxic amounts of oxalic acid. What we eat are the (not poisonous) stalks, which are notoriously sour. Here’s more on poisonous rhubarb leaves and what you can do with them since you won’t be using them in rhubarb recipes!

Sour grass (also known as wood sorrel or oxalis, so named because of its oxalic acid content), like many other vegetables and other foods you eat often, also contains oxalic acid. Moderate amounts are fine for most people, though people with kidney conditions, gout, or arthritis are sometimes advised to limit their consumption of oxalic acid.

Though technically a vegetable, rhubarb’s sourness means it’s mostly used with copious amounts of sweetener that work against its healthy nutritional profile. But working a veggie into a healthied-up quick bread recipe is still a good move.

1 cup of fresh, unsweetened rhubarb (about 2 medium stalks) has only 25 calories and is a good source of potassium, which many of us are deficient in. It also has an array of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols to support your health. (source)

Just go easy on the sugar, k? (Here’s how muchsugar per day experts advise.)

40+ Incredible Uses for Rhubarb (Healthy Rhubarb Recipes) (2)How to Use Rhubarb (& Why You’d Want to)

Rhubarb was not really on my radar until I attended a workshop on dehydrating food,where Mary T. Bell, author of several books on the subject, passed around samples of something she called “rhubarb lace,” a fruit leather made from rhubarb.

It was A-M-AAAAAA-ZING.Before that I had no idea you could even make your own fruit leather, never mind one from a peculiar seasonal vegetable.

Rhubarb leather is the reason I grow rhubarb, hands-down the number one use for rhubarb in our house. After that workshop, I sought out rhubarb divisions and started growing it everywhere I could in our not-so-big yard.

Rhubarb leather is absolutely delicious and takes the place of candy as a special sweet treat for my kiddos and me. I’ve simplified Bell’s recipe a little over the years and reduced the amount of added sugar (as well as strawberry-flavored jello, which you totally don’t need, and absolutely don’t want in your healthy treats!)

Check out the easy recipe for homemade fruit leather made from rhubarb, and I bet it’ll soon become one of your top uses for rhubarb also!

In my opinion, rhubarb leather is reason enough to grow huge quantities of rhubarb, but there are plenty more ways to use rhubarb if you’re not convinced! If I could send you a taste of our rhubarb leather through this screen, though, I know you would be a convert as well.

Since I now have such an abundance of rhubarb, I’ve had the pleasure of trying it in numerous other relatively healthy rhubarb recipes. Some of my favorite uses for rhubarb are included below.

Because in some climates they’re ripe around the same time, rhubarb and strawberries are often paired, so you can also make strawberry-rhubarb sauces, breads, or crisps. I prefer to devour my strawberries plain, so they don’t make it into our baked goods, and the rhubarb’s great on its own.

–> Note that if you want to use rhubarb all summer long, you need to pick your plants somewhat regularly or the stalks will get tough.

Ways to Use Rhubarb

If you’re making recipes with rhubarb, cooking and blending the sauce will make tougher stalks usable, but they’ll have more stringiness than when you cook more tender stalks. I’d test out rhubarb late in the season if the plant hasn’t been picked regularly before serving your favorite rhubarb recipes to guests!

Extend the season for enjoying these yummy rhubarb recipes by freezing cut rhubarb chunks, which can be used in baked goods or cooked for rhubarb sauce or leather any time of year. We harvest a lot of rhubarb early on and pop much of it in the freezer for later use.

Here’s the lowdown on the simplestfood preservation methods to help preserve your rhubarb harvest. Note that if you’re using frozen rhubarb in one of these rhubarb recipes, you need to measure it before thawing as it loses a lot of liquid once it thaws. Here’s what to know about freezing rhubarb so you have the best-tasting rhubarb to use in these rhubarb recipes.

You can also can cooked rhubarb. Here are instructions for canning stewed rhubarb from Homespun Seasonal Living.

Canning, freezing, or dehydrating rhubarb will help you enjoy this eating seasonallyall year long.

Amazing Uses for Rhubarb: Delicious & Healthy Recipes with Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a great replacement for or addition to berries in healthy quick-breads or muffins (recipes pretty much interchangeable), and makes delicious rhubarb crisps and crumbles perfect forearly summer potlucks. Here’s my nearly fail-proof easy rhubarb crisp recipe. SO good!!

If you have a sour tooth, rhubarb is very tasty diced fresh with just a light sprinkling of sugar.

The sauce used in the leather recipe can also be eaten like apple sauce or as an ice cream topping. It’s really delicious and surprisingly addictive. Try rhubarb sauce over pancakes or swirled into some homemade yogurt.

Some folks even make homemade barbecue sauces and drinks, both alcoholic and otherwise, with rhubarb. Check out the healthy rhubarb recipes below for some incredible ideas for using this wonderful seasonal veggie.

Grow or Buy Your Rhubarb?

Growing rhubarb is *really* easy, will save you quite a bit over buying, and keep you in rhubarb for all these fantastic rhubarb recipes. Plus rhubarb is a gorgeous addition to your garden.

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You can buy rhubarb at farmers’ markets and grocery stores, but it’s so easy to grow rhubarb, I can’t imagine paying for it. Here’show to grow rhubarbin your garden.

It’s a readily divided perennial, so you might find a friend with one they’ll share with you so you don’t even need to buy the plant. Read more on how to getplantsfree in this post.

I started with just a couple little divisions from another gardener, and now I have seven giant bushy plants filled with big stalks ready for all our favorite rhubarb recipes, and for sharing with other gardeners!

If you don’t want to grow it yourself, one of your neighbors likely has enough rhubarb to spare for a crisp. Not everyone goes as nuts over rhubarb as I do. Yet. Seriously, try the rhubarb leather and you’ll be a convert, too!

If you keep picking it all summer, it shouldn’t get tough. Test out what you’ve got if you’re over a month into summer weather and your plant hasn’t been picked consistently.

Note that if you’re dealing with a shadier garden, rhubarb is one of the more than 40 vegetables that grow in shade!

Ready to dive into some luscious yet healthy rhubarb recipes? Here are some of the best healthy recipes with rhubarb to get you started!

Healthy Rhubarb Recipes: Use Rhubarb in Drinks

Rhubarb’s tartness makes it unbelievably refreshing in cool summer drinks, one of the many excellent uses for rhubarb. Best of all, you can get rhubarb juice and cooked rhubarb from the same stalks. Who doesn’t love 2 for the price of 1?

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Honey Rhubarb Water Kefir Soda (Raising Generation Nourished)

Refreshing Rhubarb Slush(HealthyGreenSavvy)

Fermented Strawberry Rhubarb Soda (Learning and Yearning)

Rhubarb and Honey Soda (And Here We Are)

2-Ingredient Rhubarb Juice (HealthyGreenSavvy)

Rhubarb Mead (Practical Self-Reliance)

Rhubarb Cherry Wine (Common Sense Home)

Homemade Rhubarb Wine (Practical Self-Reliance)

2 Ingredient Instant Pot Rhubarb Juice (All the Nourishing Things)

Rhubarbade(Common Sense Home)

Healthy Rhubarb Recipes:Savory Rhubarb Dishes

While most people are familiar with uses for rhubarb that involve a good deal of sugar, rhubarb can be used in some lovely savory recipes as well.

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Carrot Rhubarb Soup (Tasting Page)

Rhubarb Vinaigrette (Dinner with Julie)

Spiced Rhubarb Chutney (This is So Good)

Rhubarb Apricot Chutney (Perfect Pantry)

Rhubarb Salsa (Traditional Cooking School)

Fermented Rhubarb (Fermentools)

Healthy Rhubarb Recipes: Use Rhubarb in Muffins and Breads

Tart rhubarb chunks are a natural for all sorts of tasty muffins and quickbreads. Try these nourishing recipes and find more favorites ways to use rhubarb.

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Rhubarb Orange Quickbread(Strength and Sunshine)

Gluten Free Dairy Free Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins (Just Take a Bite)

Rhubarb Honey Cobbler (Eat Beautiful)

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, Honey Sweetened & Gluten-Free(Common Sense Home)

Grain-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler (Recipes to Nourish)

Rhubarb Banana Bread (Kim’s Cravings)

Raspberry Rhubarb Bread (Eating Well)

Vanilla Rhubarb Yogurt Blue Cornbread (Strength and Sunshine)

Healthy Rhubarb Recipes: Sauces & Breakfasts

Rhubarb doesn’t have to be dessert! Try these yummy sauces and breakfast ideas for rhubarb.

Rhubarb Compote (Tasting Page)

Rhubarb Sauce (HealthyGreenSavvy)

Strawberry Rhubarb Butter (Grow Cook Forage Ferment)

Rhubarb Apple Sauce (Just Take a Bite)

Homemade Rhubarb Sauce (Learning and Yearning)

Rhubarb Chia Jam (Cookie and Kate)

Honey Rhubarb Granola(Raising Generation Nourished)

Rhubarb Quinoa Breakfast Porridge (Just Take a Bite)

Healthy Rhubarb Recipes: Use Rhubarb in Luscious Desserts!

If all you’ve ever had rhubarb in is pie, be sure to try some of these other creative ways to use rhubarb in delicious desserts.

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Paleo Instant Pot Strawberry Rhubarb Custard (All the Nourishing Things)

Strawberry Rhubarb Creamsicles(Raising Generation Nourished)

Cherry Rhubarb Jello (Just Take a Bite)

Rhubarb Sorbet (Paleo Hacks)

No Churn Honey Rhubarb Ice Cream(Raising Generation Nourished)

Rhubarb Pecan Ice Cream(Just Take a Bite)

Rhubarb Gelato (Food 52)

Traditional Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Maple Cream (Butter for All)

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake(Adamant Kitchen)

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Cake (Sassy Kitchen)

Need more inspiring uses for rhubarb? Here are a gazillion from some pinners who also love rhubarb!

I ran a search including the word “healthy” but I don’t think everything there qualifies. Try substituting whole grain flours where you can, use butter or coconut oil instead of margarine or canola, and be as sparing as you can with the sweeteners. You can also try subbing in some apple sauce so you can cut down on sugar.

What are your favorite uses for rhubarb? Share your favorite healthy rhubarb recipes in the comments!

Pin to save these amazing uses for rhubarb for next time you have rhubarb on hand!

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Find more inspiring ideas for healthy food, gardening, and natural remedies from across the blogosphere: Follow on Pinterest to see all my awesome discoveries!

Growing some of your own food is just one strategy for eating healthy on a budget. Find lots more in my e-book, The Savvy Guide to Eating Healthy on a Budget.

Additional uses for rhubarb photo credits: Jeremy Keith, stu_spivack, Whitney,Katherine, Meal Makeover Momsvia Flickr

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Susannah

Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.

40+ Incredible Uses for Rhubarb (Healthy Rhubarb Recipes) (2024)

FAQs

What's the healthiest way to eat rhubarb? ›

Other ways to enjoy the vegetable include:
  1. Baking it into a pie or crumble.
  2. Making rhubarb ice cream.
  3. Adding rhubarb to fresh juices or homemade kombucha.
  4. Blending it into a sauce for meat or poultry.
  5. Pureeing and dehydrating it to make rhubarb leather.
  6. Roasting rhubarb with a drizzle of honey and tossing it in a salad.
Sep 16, 2022

What is the best thing to do with rhubarb? ›

Rhubarb is a truly special ingredient. With its vivid pink colour and distinctively tangy taste, it can be stewed, poached, roasted and puréed in a range of dishes as well as drinks. Use it in a comforting crumble, a classic syllabub, a fruity chutney or a zingy kebab sauce – the possibilities are endless.

Should you soak rhubarb before baking? ›

Wash rhubarb with cool tap water, but do not soak.

Can you freeze fresh rhubarb? ›

Yes, absolutely! Once washed, cut the lengths into rough 2.5cm pieces. Space out on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and freeze until frozen (around 2hr). Then decant into a freezer bag or freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months.

What are the side effects of eating too much rhubarb? ›

Side effects might include stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramps. Rhubarb leaves are possibly unsafe. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and death. When applied to the skin: Rhubarb is possibly safe.

Is it okay to eat rhubarb every day? ›

Since it may be high in oxalate, you should avoid eating too much of it and try to select stalks from low-oxalate varieties. If you are prone to kidney stones, it might be best to avoid rhubarb altogether. On the bright side, rhubarb is a good source of antioxidants, vitamin K, and fiber.

What does rhubarb do to your body? ›

Rhubarb is a rich source of nutrients providing 45% of the Daily Value for Vitamin K in a serving size of 1 cup. In addition, rhubarb provides phytochemicals to help our body prevent chronic diseases.

Should rhubarb be kept in the fridge or on the counter? ›

Rhubarb is best stored in the refrigerator. “Ideally, remove and throw away the leaves, then store fresh, unwashed, rhubarb stalks in the refrigerator wrapped in a food-grade plastic bag,” says Margarethe A. Cooper, PhD, assistant professor of practice and Victor P.

Is cooked rhubarb a laxative? ›

Rhubarb has been widely used as a traditional Chinese herbal medicine since ancient times. Sennoside A and other dianthrone derivatives are reported to be the active ingredients causing rhubarb's laxative effect (6).

How to reduce tartness in rhubarb? ›

Although it can be eaten raw, rhubarb tends to be too tart this way, and it's usually best when cooked with plenty of sugar. It goes well with both ginger and strawberries.

Does rhubarb interact with any medications? ›

Interactions with Other Drugs:

A study by Jiang in 2016 showed that rhubarb might interact with melatonin which is used to regulate the sleep cycle. It might also interact with methotrexate and cyclosporin, which are immunosuppressants and are used for therapeutic purposes.

How do you get the most flavour out of rhubarb? ›

Roasting even the saddest of fruit is a brilliant trick. Because the roasting draws out and evaporates the water, you are left with a much more concentrated flavour. Roasting rhubarb not only gives great flavour, it also leaches out the most fabulous princess-pink juice.

When should you not pick rhubarb? ›

The harvest season for rhubarb lasts until the end of June. Until then, pick as many stalks as you wish. After harvest, allow the plant to keep all of its leaves, to build its reserves of energy for the next year. A common myth is that the entire plant becomes toxic later in the summer.

Do you peel rhubarb before you cook it? ›

Whether you need to peel fresh rhubarb or not depends on when you buy it. If you buy it during the peak season (April to June), peeling isn't necessary. But after peak season, the stalks can be tough, and peeling with a small and sharp knife might be necessary to help make it more palatable (via BBC Good Food).

Can dogs eat rhubarb? ›

Dogs cannot eat rhubarb due to the oxalic acid in the plant, which triggers a reaction in canines and makes rhubarb poisonous. All parts of the plant—including the rhubarb stalk and leaves—are hazardous to dogs. Since rhubarb tastes sour to your furry friend, most pets avoid eating it or will spit it out if they do.

Is it better to eat rhubarb raw or cooked? ›

Its stalks are deeper red and tinged with green, while its leaves are bright green. It has a more intense flavour and robust texture than the forced variety. Although it can be eaten raw, rhubarb tends to be too tart this way, and it's usually best when cooked with plenty of sugar.

How to eat rhubarb without adding sugar? ›

To keep it sugar free you could use a little stevia, for a low fructose option you could use either rice syrup or coconut nectar, or if you're a honey fan, a little raw honey would combine beautifully with the ginger and vanilla.

Does cooking rhubarb remove oxalic acid? ›

Total reduction of soluble oxalate amounts cooked with trim and standard milk were 65.9 % and 74.5 %, respectively when compared to those in the raw petioles.

What is the best sweetener for rhubarb? ›

In Jenny's mind, rhubarb needs little more than two additional ingredients and 30 minutes in the oven to come to life. It also can rely on some of nature's best sweeteners—honey and orange juice—to bring it to its sweetest, most flavorful heights.

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