Honey and Vanilla Roasted Rhubarb

Posted on 9 April 2013 | 6 comments | share this

Spring seems particularly beautiful and dramatic this year. Once again I am totally smitten with all of the blossoms.

Spring also means the return of another favourite, rhubarb.

I was delighted, a little giddy even, to see the first rhubarb at the farmers market this weekend. I have seen it coming up in gardens around the city and when poking around my Grandma and Aunt’s garden on Gabriola Island over Easter. But alas I do not have the space to grow my own so I rely on the kindness of others to supply me with this Spring delight. If I visit at the right time my parents or Grandma will send me home with some which is always a treat.

Thankfully Yolanda and Brian grow beautiful rhubarb at Shalefield Farm and brought the first picking to the market on Saturday. I asked if they knew which variety it was but they were unsure. What Brian did know is that he got the rootstock from a Mr Reinhart in 1973 from his backyard. I love it. I find rhubarb often has a story like this. It is handed down by friends, neighbours or family for generations. A friend of mine has a rhubarb plant that has been in her family for over 100 years. So special.

The first rhubarb of the season usually gets a simple treatment in my kitchen. Often a compote of some kind or crumble.

This year I thought I would try roasting it instead and it was really lovely. I liked the way it held its shape and colour. I wanted to let the flavour of the rhubarb shine so I kept things simple. I added a little fresh orange juice, some local wildflower honey, a vanilla bean and inspired by a tart that Aran at Canelle et Vanille was making a splash of orange blossom water for a twist. You could certainly add in a few strawberries too.

The aroma coming from the oven was sweet and heavenly.

The roasted rhubarb can be used as you would a compote. It would be very pretty served on top of pavlova or shortcake.

Last night we enjoyed it with some thick plain yogurt, lightly toasted pistachios and with a drizzle of the pink syrup on top. Simply delicious.

Happy Spring cooking!

Honey and Vanilla Roasted Rhubarb

Delicious on oatmeal, granola, or with thick yogurt and pistachios for a light dessert. It would also be very tasty as a topping for pavlova or shortcake. A few strawberries thrown in to roast with the rhubarb would also be nice.

Serves 2-4 people

1 pound (450g) rhubarb, washed and sliced into 2 inch pieces (pinky sized pieces)

juice of half a large orange (about 2 Tbsp)

1/4 cup honey

1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped out

optional: 1 tsp orange blossom water

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Toss the sliced rhubarb with the orange juice, honey, vanilla seeds and pod and orange blossom water (if using). Spread out the rhubarb in a baking dish or on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake until the rhubarb is tender and the juices have thickened, about 15 minutes. The time will vary a bit depending on the thickness of the stalks of rhubarb.

Let cool. Serve with thick plain yogurt and a few chopped pistachios. Drizzle with the syrup from the pan.


  • It’s delicious! I made some this weekend to have with yogurt as a breakfast dessert. It was all gobbled up in no time. Thanks!

  • Hi Rachel,

    So happy you enjoyed it!

  • Lovely dish! Would you be happy to link it in to the new Food on Friday which is all about rhubarb? This is the link . I do hope to see you there. Cheers

  • Hi Carole,

    Thanks so much for thinking of me for this. Sorry I didn’t see this before Friday to post my recipe. Hope it went well.

  • I just tried this with my not-so-red rhubarb! It wasn’t as pretty but so very tasty! And quick 😀
    Thank you for sharing!!

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