Rhubarb. Yes, Rhubarb.

A couple of weeks ago, I acquired some rhubarb.

Rheum rhabarbarum - Rhubarb
Rheum rhabarbarum – Rhubarb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’d never cooked with rhubarb, and the only experience I’d had with it (aside from a vague memory of a song some high school friends used to sing that involved repeating “rhubarb” over and over) was when my mom would pick a stalk from my grandpa’s Ohio backyard and then eat it raw dipped in salt. One quick taste convinced me that this was not the way I wanted to enjoy my rhubarb, but neither did I care for the high sugar content of most rhubarb recipes I encountered. So, I kept looking while hoping the rhubarb would stay fresh-ish in my fridge until I found a recipe I wanted to use.

It’s officially summer, and that means that the ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer has taken up permanent residence in my freezer. With this in mind, I wondered if there might be an ice cream recipe I could make with rhubarb. I turned to my go-to vegan ice cream cookbook, Cathe Olson’s Lick It! Creamy, Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.

(Side note: Even though it’s my favorite book of its kind, I have a tendency not to recommend it because I feel too embarrassed to say the title. And I won’t even mention the cover art. But seriously, it’s got great vegan ice cream recipes.)

There I found a couple of very exciting rhubarb recipes that I ended up making: Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet and Ginger Ice Cream with Raspberry-Rhubarb Sauce. Both were fabulous. There’s a hint of ginger in the sorbet which harmonizes well with the tartness of the rhubarb. And the ginger ice cream with raspberry-rhubarb sauce was just an incredible combination of flavors and a wonderfully creamy consistency. I actually went out and bought more rhubarb and made that one twice, we liked it so much.

The publisher has graciously granted me permission to share these recipes on Imperfect Happiness, and I recommend that you pick up your own copy of Lick It! if you like these recipes.

All recipes reprinted with permission from Lick It! by Cathe Olson (Book Publishing Company, 2009). (I received no incentives or freebies for posting about these recipes.)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbet


3 cups sliced rhubarb (1/2-inch slices)

1/4 cup water

1 T peeled and minced fresh ginger

2 cups halved strawberries

2/3 cup agave syrup (I used more like 1/3 cup)

2 T vodka (optional) (I didn’t use this)

Combine the rhubarb, water, and ginger in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. Cool slightly.

Transfer the rhubarb mixture to a blender. Add the strawberries and agave syrup and process until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Whisk in the vodka, if using. Then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

NOTE: If you include the vodka, the sorbet will need to harden in the freezer for several hours or until it reaches the desired consistency.

Ginger Ice Cream with Raspberry Rhubarb Sauce


The ice cream:

1 1/4 cups soymilk or other nondairy milk

1/3 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger

1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar or agave syrup (I used agave and I used about half this amount)

3 to 4 T minced crystalized ginger (I didn’t use this, I just left the ginger mixture to steep for a lot longer than the recipe says to)

Pour the soymilk into a small saucepan. Add the fresh ginger and warm on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the soymilk just begins to boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.

Place in a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Pour the soymilk mixture through the strainer to remove the ginger. Whisk the coconut milk and sugar into the soymilk. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

About 5 minutes before the end of the freezing time, when the ice cream is almost to the firmness you desire, add the crystallized ginger. Process for 5 more minutes, or until the ice cream reaches the desired consistency.

The sauce:

3 cups sliced rhubarb (1/2-inch slices)

1/2 cup granulated sugar or agave syrup (I just used a squirt of liquid stevia instead. Worked great.)

1/4 cup water

1/8 t ground ginger

1 cup raspberries

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, water, and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Gently stir in the raspberries, cover, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes longer or until the rhubarb is tender. Serve warm or cold. (I run this through my blender to make it smooth. Otherwise, it’s got chunks of rhubarb in it, and I’m not a fan of chunky sauces.)

The texture of both of these is more like soft-serve when finished. If you’d like the ice cream/sorbet to be firmer, you can put it in the freezer for an hour or more until it’s how you like it. We, however, are too impatient, and we like soft-serve, so we always eat it right away, sometimes right out of the ice cream maker.

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