My mother has a very industrious rhubarb plant, which has come out in full force this summer, producing pounds of the blushing green stems. Much to my delight, a shopping bag full of rhubarb stalks made its way to my door and now I have more rhubarb than my imagination could cook up. But I will try, and I will hold firm to my beliefs that despite rhubarbs delicious crisp properties, it is a vegetable not a fruit (although in a spirit of full disclosure, I did make a rhubarb blackberry crisp- it was based off my Strawberry and Japanese Knotweed Crisp and it was amazing).
A fruit is defined in botanical terms as being the seed or seed pod of a plant, where vegetables are the leaves, stalks and roots. This means that many of the plants we think of as vegetables are in actuality fruits we prefer savory. Of course there is the tomato, but also peppers, squash, cucumbers, avocados, beans, corn, olives and all grains. That leaves very few players fighting on team vegetable, so when I see one of the remaining veggies only being used in dessert applications, I have to put my foot down. I will use rhubarb as a vegetable, and it will be good.
This salad is good, but it is also intense. It is sour, although the bell peppers add a touch of sweetness. Both of these flavors are fresh, bright and crisp, which is highlighted by the clean mint that adds a layer of complexity to the salad.
This recipe is fairly simple to make- there are two basic steps. First chop the vegetables and let them marinate in a little bit of brown sugar for about an hour. The sugar will get some of the rhubarbs juice flowing, which helps to make the dressing. I like to point out at times like these that while not all sugar is vegan (bone char is used as a bleaching agent), some is. The only way to find out is to do a little research on the brand you’ve picked.
The second step is to add oil, lemon juice and mint and toss. It’s that easy!
Rhubarb Mint Salad
- 4 or so stalks of rhubarb (two cups when sliced)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 4 TBSP olive oil
- 10 mint leaves
- Thinly slice down the stalk of the rhubarb and place in a large serving bowl. Cut the bell pepper first into thin rings, and the rings into small pieces about the same size as the rhubarb. Place with the rhubarb in the bowl.
- Take the brown sugar and sprinkle on top before tossing it in. Place the well mixed vegetables in the fridge and let it sit for at least one hour.
- After it has marinated for an hour, take out of the fridge and add the oil and lemon juice. Toss well. Slice the mint thinly and toss into the salad right before serving.