Perhaps most often enjoyed alongside strawberries in a flaky pie crust, rhubarb is a seasonal produce commonly available from springtime through early summer. Although it may be thought of as a fruit, rhubarb is in fact a vegetable, boasting long celery-like stalks and large leaves, plus a slightly sour, tart taste. Since it’s naturally stringy and potentially fibrous, most recipes recommend cooking it slowly until it becomes tender and pairing it with something sweet, like sugar or fruit, to offset any bitterness. If you’ve never before cooked with rhubarb, pick up a ruby-colored bunch the next time you’re at the market, and put this fresh favorite to work in classic and creative dishes alike. Check out Food Network’s top-five rhubarb recipes below from some of your favorite chefs, like Ina, Guy and Iron Chef Marc Forgione, for a mix of traditional and deliciously inventive ideas for letting this in-season pick shine.
5. Lemon Bundt Cake With Berry Rhubarb Glaze — A make-ahead dessert that’s ideal for weekend entertaining, this crowd-pleasing cake is laced with fresh lemon juice plus tangy sour cream for moisture, and it is finished with a crimson topping of red berry jam and chopped rhubarb.
4. Rhubarb Compote — The secret to making this springtime recipe quickly and easily is letting the microwave do the work for you; after just a few minutes, the rhubarb will have broken down and become soft, ready for a topping of ice cream and crispy cinnamon-scented cereal.
3. Rhubarb Mimosa — Not just for eating with sweet desserts, rhubarb can also be made into refreshing cocktails. Iron Chef Marc Forgione reduces it to a simple syrup with mint and tops it with bubbly Prosecco.
2. Mexican Rhubarb Chocolate Chunk Brownies — Without adding intense heat to Guy’s walnut-studded brownies, chile powder and cinnamon offer warm spice and flavor, complementing the brightness of the sweetened rhubarb compote. Click the play button on the video below to watch Guy make this easy treat.
1. Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (pictured above) — Ina relies on juicy, sweet strawberries to balance the tartness of the rhubarb in her top-rated dessert, featuring a buttery brown sugar-oatmeal topping and scoop of rich vanilla ice cream for serving.