Rhubarb when raw is so tough,
And its leaves contain poisonous stuff,
But when cleaned and de-soiled,
Dipped in sugar and boiled,
Then the stalks are quite tasty enough. (A Rhubarb Limerick from The Rhubarb Compendium)
Rhubarb is available at the farmer’s markets now. Like a conjoined twin connected at the hip with the strawberry, it seems as though it can’t be served with anything else. Intrigued with this super tart veg, I wanted to try something different than the usual strawberry-rhubarb thisor strawberry-rhubarb that and instead use rhubarb in a savory dish.
Rhubarb stalks look a lot like celery only with a pinkish hue. As the limerick suggests, the leaves are highly poisonous and should not be eaten. With a high water content, rhubarb is very low in calories at about 26 calories per cup. High in fiber, calcium, vitamin A and C rhubarb is also highly nutritious.
This Chickpea and Rhubarb with Indian Spices is an adaption of a recipe I came across in an issue of Vegetarian Times long ago. The toasted Indian spices imparts such a fragrant and full flavor. This dish was easy enough to prepare and was ready in a matter of minutes. If I would have thought about it before scarfing it down, it would've been lovely served over a bed of Basmati rice.
Question: How do you like your rhubarb?
Chickpea and Rhubarb with Indian Spices (adapted from Vegetarian Times recipe with lentils)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. mustard seed
- 2 1/2 tsp whole cumin seed
- 3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 medium onion, minced (Local Harvest Grocery, Kirkwood, MO)
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarse chopped (or almonds)
- 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 pound rhubarb cut into 1/4 inch slices (Shirks Country Market, Centertown, MO)
- 6 cups fresh spinach (Green BEAN delivery)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a skillet, add mustard and cumin seed and toast over medium low heat for about 2 minutes until mustard seeds start to pop, stirring to be sure not to burn.
- Add in ginger, garlic and onion, saute about 3 more minutes.
- Next add in chickpeas, rhubarb and broth, bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add in spinach and hazelnuts, cook about 3 minutes more; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.