Rhubarb: Nutrition and Savory Side Dish Recipe

Medically Reviewed by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on August 15, 2014
From the WebMD Archives

Rhubarb's ruby red, pink, and green striped coloring makes it one of the prettiest garden sights from spring to fall. This veggie (though it’s also considered a fruit) is packed with nutrients and can add variety to your diet.

Sometimes it’s used in desserts, but there are lots of ways to cook rhubarb without overdoing the sugar.

Some research shows the fiber in rhubarb may help lower LDL or "bad" cholesterol. It has a lot of soluble (8%) and insoluble (66%) fiber.

One warning: Don't eat the leaves, which contain a toxic chemical.

Some other facts about rhubarb:

  • It’s low in calories. A half-cup of raw rhubarb has 26 calories.
  • It’s a good source of vitamin C and fiber. One cup of cooked rhubarb has 2.2 grams of fiber, about the same as a slice of whole wheat bread.
  • It also provides calcium. One cup of raw rhubarb has 105 milligrams.

One cup of rhubarb has 105 milligrams of calcium, about 2 grams of fiber, and 52 calories.

Rhubarb Recipe: A Side Dish to Grilled Meat

Rhubarb is good stewed into sauces, compotes, ketchups, and even "rhubarbecue" sauce.

As a side for grilled meat, oven-crisp 2 slices nitrate-free bacon and blot with paper towels.

Cook 1 medium chopped onion in a skillet with 1 Tbsp bacon drippings until soft.

Add 1 cup chopped rhubarb, 3 Tbsp maple syrup, 1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar, and a pinch of allspice and thyme.

Simmer 5 minutes until soft.

Mix with crumbled bacon and serve.

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Specialty Produce: "Rhubarb."

Ode, K. Rhubarb Renaissance, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database: “Nutrient data for 09307, Rhubarb, raw.”

Goel, V. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, December 1997.

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