I might have mentioned this before, but back in 2011 when I was first starting out eating plant-based, I would scour the internet and cookbooks for recipes and keep them all on a Word doc on my computer. I liked to write notes on there, especially when I changed up the recipe. A few months ago I came across the printout of those recipes and have been going through them looking at the things I first experimented with. Some pages just have a big X over a recipe, while others have hearts or lots of notes detailing my veganized version.
When I remembered that rhubarb season typically starts in April, I dug through the stack because I remembered making a really yummy rhubarb pasta sauce back then. I was able to trace the original recipe back to a 2012 blog post by Naturally Ella. I have based this very much off of her recipe, with a few updates to make it vegan and oil-free optional.
Also, I have realized that many people have never tried rhubarb. It’s not very popular in America. My first experience is from when I was dating my husband and his mom made a strawberry rhubarb pie for dinner. I can’t describe to you how delicious and life-changing that pie was to me. It is still, nine years later, my absolute favorite dessert. In fact, when we traveled to the UK and Iceland, there was rhubarb everywhere. I think I had some type of rhubarb pastry or beverage just about every single day. I brought back some rhubarb gin from a distillery in Edinburgh and keep it in my cabinet for special occasions. We even ate at a restaurant called Rhubarb in Edinburgh. I’m basically obsessed with rhubarb.
So, the point is, if you have never tried rhubarb, I would highly suggest trying it combined with something sweet the first time, ideally mixed with strawberry and sugar in a giant pie made by my mother-in-law. Then maybe try out this more savory version on pasta, if you dare. Also, don’t eat the leaves. They are toxic. But most stores remove them ahead of time and if you’re buying it frozen, you have nothing to worry about.
- 1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh works best, but frozen will also work)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp coconut nectar (or vegan honey, agave or regular honey if not vegan. I have not tried using maple syrup, but that would likely work well too)
- 1 tbsp of avocado oil (OR if oil free, use 3-4 tbsp vegetable broth) for sauteing the ginger and onion
- 8 ounces of pasta. In the photo I used a gluten-free chickpea-based spaghetti style noodle, but my favorite noodle to use with this recipe is penne.
- 1 large handful of washed and chopped kale (bite-sized or smaller)
- Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat. If you are cooking oil-free, add vegetable broth to the bottom. If not oil-free, heat 1 tbsp of oil.
- Add minced ginger and green onions to the sauce pan and heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add in 1/4 cup of water, chopped rhubarb, coconut nectar and 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes. Allow this to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and using a spoon to break down the rhubarb chunks. It took mine about 15-20 minutes to get to a good consistency. Feel free to taste and add in more sweetener if desired.
- While the rhubarb sauce is simmering, cook your noodles and set aside.
- Once sauce has thickened up, remove from heat and stir in handful of chopped kale to wilt it.
- Serve rhubarb sauce over pasta, garnish with cilantro.