Rhubarb Vinaigrette

This here is my new favourite salad dressing. I feel oh-so virtuous when I skip (yes! skip! sometimes..) out to the garden with my wood salad bowl and pluck green leaves from the garden directly into it, then drizzle my greens with creamy rhubarb dressing, made with rhubarb I’ve also yanked out of my own (or my sister’s) soil. I should probably get myself a Little House on the Prairie-style bonnet.

Tart rhubarb makes a perfect base for a vinaigrette, in place of (or along with) whatever acid you’d normally use, like lemon juice. Simmer chopped rhubarb for a few minutes, then puree it with honey, oil and rice vinegar (which isn’t as harsh as other vinegars) – the fibre in the rhubarb will add body to the dressing, but puree perfectly smooth. The result is a lovely pink vinaigrette reminiscent of pink poppyseed dressing – and if you dribble the canola oil into the blender as it’s running, it will thicken and emulsify, like a creamy ranch dressing or aioli. It’s not like a vinaigrette that separates and you have to re-shake before using – it stays pure and smooth and pink and sweet and tangy. Brilliant.

I started out making this with precise measurements, and have since tossed all that aside and simply simmered rhubarb in water, then pureed it with honey, grainy mustard and rice vinegar, and drizzled in canola oil with the motor running. I made vats of the stuff to serve up at the kitchen theatre at the Stampede. Even people who are generally repelled by rhubarb loved it. (Either that or they were just being nice. Thanks guys!)

Rhubarb Vinaigrette

Adapted (with great thanks!) from vinegartart.com.

1 rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (red wine or raspberry vinegar would work well too)
2 tsp. grainy Dijon mustard (or to taste)
1/4 cup canola or mild olive oil

In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb with 1/4 – 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (I’ve done it warm too, and it’s just fine.)

Put the rhubarb into a blender with the honey, vinegar and mustard. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil. Makes about a cup.

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July 15 2011 10:32 pm | preserves and salads

23 Responses to “Rhubarb Vinaigrette”

  1. Fiona on 15 Jul 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Oh, I’m going to raid my parents’ rhubarb plant and make this! Thanks! It’ll motivate me to behave myself after a week of food debauchery.

  2. Erica B. on 16 Jul 2011 at 1:37 am #

    Perfect timing! I need salad dressing and I have an abundance of rhubarb to use up. Thanks!

  3. Richard & Barbara on 16 Jul 2011 at 3:22 am #

    Thank you for the recipe, we look forward to trying this. We live in ‘the Rhubarb Triangle’ in West Yorkshire, England, so we’ve tried everything from rhubarb wine to cheesecake but we’ve never come across a rhubarb salad dressing. The combination of sweet and sour should work well.

  4. Jennifer Jo on 16 Jul 2011 at 4:47 am #

    I like this idea.

  5. Lael on 16 Jul 2011 at 8:18 am #

    It’s so pretty! I’ll be making this:)

  6. Kalyn on 16 Jul 2011 at 8:34 am #

    Wow, I am fascinated by this! I’ve never been a rhubarb fan but this sounds good.

  7. Alyson on 16 Jul 2011 at 9:39 am #

    That’s really cool! I don’t think I’ve ever had rhubarb salad dressing before. What a great idea!

  8. suchalab on 16 Jul 2011 at 11:13 am #

    I have been enjoying your other rhubarb posts with success and this ones looks like it won’t disappoint either. Can’t wait-tonight perhaps!

  9. miri leigh on 16 Jul 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    This is a beautiful dressing….I look forward to trying this. Thanks!

  10. Danielle on 16 Jul 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    I don’t trust people who don’t like rhubarb :)

  11. Trudy in Red Deer on 16 Jul 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    My favorite way to spend time with rhubarb this year 1s to stew it down with a few lurking strawberries, a light touch of cinnamon & ginger, and as much sugar as I think is needed. I spoon heavily over Greek yogurt and get ready to hide the bowl if any anyone approaches because I do not want to share! I may just have to sacrifice a few stalks of this great plant to try your dressing recipe as it sounds and looks dreamy. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Barb on 17 Jul 2011 at 10:54 am #


  13. Ryan on 17 Jul 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Great Recipe Julia! We had it tonight with arugula fresh from the garden. The sweet/tart worked well with the peppery arugula.

  14. kickpleat on 20 Jul 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    This looks amazing. I love a good pink dressing – though usually anytime I add beets to a salad the dressing automatically turns a lovely shade of pink. I’ve got some rhubarb and a lot of lettuce. I’ll be making this soon.

  15. molly on 21 Jul 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Hey, HEY, this might entice my girl into dressing…


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  17. Wendy on 04 Jun 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Can you tell me how long this will keep in the refrigerator?

  18. Julie on 04 Jun 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    I’ve had success keeping it in the fridge for at least a couple weeks!

  19. Silvi on 08 Jun 2013 at 9:17 pm #

    I made this tonight (x4) and it is absolutely fabulous! I could drink it!! Mine didn’t turn out pink. It was kind of flesh coloured. My rice vinegar was quite dark. I hadn’t used it in a while. It didn’t matter, because the taste was amazing! This is my new favorite recipe to use and share!

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