All spring I’ve been trying to come up with rhubarb recipes, something with minimal to no sugar. I’ve marveled that most uses of rhubarb involve copious amounts of sugar. It’s a vegetable; surely there was some way to use it in savory dishes. But I’ve tried a couple things that utterly failed.
My friend Lee Conger (who I have never met and only know because we are both friends with wild woman Ruth Waytz, and she connected us through Facebook. She knows Lee and I share a love of cooking, gardening, farm fresh food (yeah, along with a million and a half other people)) was the impetus for this rhubarb salsa, and though his total contribution was the mere suggestion, it was all I needed to launch into this recipe.
A few weeks ago I harvested a huge bunch of rhubarb stalks and sorted them into skinny, medium and thick stalks. I usually reserve the thickest stalks for compotes and desserts. I chopped the thick stems into 2” segments and froze bags of them for later in the year. And since strawberries are so often paired with rhubarb, I’ll have rhubarb to last well through strawberry season.
For this recipe I used the thinnest stalks so I didn’t do much prep. I know that most people wind up buying their rhubarb and those stalks are usually thick. For thick stalks you will want to peel the outer skin, but it pulls off easily enough.
Rhubarb salsa is fresh, tart, spicy, crisp and madly good! I had considered buying jicama but since I had one big watermelon radish left in the crisper, I added that to the first batch for another layer of pink plus crunch.
3 c (approx) Rhubarb
½ Lime, juiced
1 c cilantro
1 c sweet Vidalia onion (or green onions/ scallions)
1 small jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed
½ c radishes
2T rice vinegar (or more to taste)
1t Sugar (to taste)
½ t Salt
½ t ground pepper
Optional: 1 c chopped fresh tomatoes.
Roughly chop the onion and the rhubarb (peeling the stalks if they are thick). Add all the ingredients (except for tomatoes) to a food processor and pulse several times until the vegetables are evenly sized.
If you are adding the optional tomatoes, hand dice and stir into the final batch. Adjust seasonings with cilantro, lime, vinegar or salt.
Serve with corn chips or as a topping for grilled fish, or stirred into a whole grain salad.
Store in a sealed jar. Keeps for several weeks when refrigerated.