7 Ingredients to Pair with Rhubarb (Beyond Strawberries)

updated Dec 1, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

While I’ll never grow tired of the classic pairing of strawberries and rhubarb, I love rhubarb too much (like these yummy strawberry-rhubarb streusel bars!) to let it simply be a sidekick to those sweet berries. Not only can it hold its own, but it also begs to be matched up with a slew of other flavors that give it new life.

I encourage you to give these pairings a try — you just may find yourself leaving the traditional duo behind.

1. Lavender

While lavender can make something taste like soap if you’re too heavy-handed with it, be gentle and you’ll be greatly rewarded. The floral notes of lavender mellow out the tart bite of rhubarb and turn whatever you’re making into something quite delicate and lovely.

Get a recipe: Rhubarb Lavender Crisp

2. Dates

Sticky-sweet dates are the exactly opposite of sour rhubarb, which is exactly why this is a dynamic duo. The sharpness of rhubarb balances the intense, caramel-like sweetness and the two meet in the middle in perfect harmony.

Get a recipe: Poached Rhubarb Royale

3. Cardamom

While cinnamon may be a more common spice to pair with rhubarb, citrusy, herbal cardamon lends a warm, citrusy note to a dish. A big pinch of ground cardamom can be added to any cake, pie, or compote, or you can simply add a little to the whipped cream you’ll be topping your rhubarb dessert with.

4. Ginger

Both fresh and ground ginger bring a spicy kick that puts astringent rhubarb in its place. While the pair is great in sweet applications, it might be even better in savory recipes. They can be stewed together with onions and a bit of soy sauce to create a tangy sauce for braised meat.

5. Coconut

Sweet coconut adds a bit of tropical flair to rhubarb. Like dates, that sweetness acts as a nice contrast to rhubarb. You can fold shredded coconut into cakes or sprinkle it over crumbles. Or you can try making a custardy tart with creamy coconut milk.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

6. Tomatoes

Yes, tomatoes. Sweet tomatoes have a bit of natural acidity to them, but rhubarb gives them just a little more, which results in tomatoes that taste like a better version of themselves. Try the pair in a savory stew and you’ll have people guessing the secret ingredient.

7. Other Berries

Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries often feel left out when strawberries buddy up so closely with rhubarb. All three are just as wonderful of a match and definitely shouldn’t be left out.