Sweet & Tart Rhubarb and Berry Dessert Sauce

Rhubarb is a mysterious vegetable, one that is loved by many despite its toxic leaves and puckering, tart flavor. It’s possibly one of the least versatile vegetables out there and resists most attempts at making it palatable, unless a cup of sugar is involved. There are some savory rhubarb recipes out there, but most make an unintentionally convincing argument that rhubarb really is best served for dessert.

So what’s a Primal rhubarb lover to do? If spring is not really spring until you’ve had a taste of seasonal rhubarb, but you want to avoid the sugar and flour in cakes and crumbles, then try Rhubarb and Berry Dessert Sauce instead. Rhubarb is simmered in butter, vanilla and just enough honey to sweeten it up without masking the tart flavor. Fresh berries are mixed in and then the sauce is spooned on top of full-fat yogurt or layered with homemade whipped (coconut) cream. The contrast of the tart, fruity sauce and rich yogurt or whipped cream truly tastes like an indulgent dessert. If you need a little crunch, sprinkle ground nuts or dried coconut on top. The bold flavor of this dessert makes small amounts really satisfying, so a little bit of the sauce will go a long way.

Lest you think that rhubarb desserts are all indulgence with no virtue, there are some health benefits to be had. Rhubarb is a decent source of calcium, fiber and vitamin C and can potentially reduce heartburn, cholesterol and hot flashes in menopausal women. As you’re eating your rhubarb and berry sauce with whipped cream, however, it’s unlikely you’ll be thinking about this. You’ll simply be enjoying a fabulous new dessert.

Servings: 4-6


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 stalks of rhubarb, peeled if needed and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries


If the peel on the rhubarb is thick and/or stringy, you can peel it off before cutting the stalks up.

Melt butter with honey and vanilla over medium heat.

Add rhubarb and simmer 10 minutes.

Add berries. You can remove the sauce from the heat immediately so the berries stay firm and fresh, or simmer for 3-5 minutes so the berries become soft and release their juice.

Serve over full-fat yogurt or with whipped cream or coconut whipped cream. To make homemade whipped cream, whisk a cup of whole cream and 2 teaspoons of vanilla by hand (or with an electric mixer) until soft peaks form.

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58 thoughts on “Sweet & Tart Rhubarb and Berry Dessert Sauce”

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  1. Goodness! That looks delicious! Wish my body could tolerate the dairy in it though. 🙁

  2. Cherice, can you tolerate coconut milk? Have you tried making coconut whipped cream? I love rhubarb. I want to try making this.

  3. Oops-I’ve been regarding full fat yogurt with homemade fruit sauce as a dietary staple, not as a dessert.

    Was thinking of getting so rhubarb and wondered what to do with it. I will make this! Thanks.

  4. I looove rhubarb! I will definitely make this.

    P.S first time first comment!

  5. Mmm – now I know what to do with all the rhubarb that’s sprouting in my garden!

  6. Yummo, was craving dessert last 2 days and this will help with the hot flushes too. Anybody got any winter “primallly correct” after dinner comfort food recipes… don’t want to put on the winter weight this year…..

    1. just been cruising and found out how to make coconut cream and a found a few other recipes … yeahhhaa

  7. Rhubarb is a known cause of kidney stones. I have been told to avoid it at all costs. Similarly spinach, kale and most dark green leafy vegetables.

    1. Kale, spinach and other dark, leafies do contain significant amounts of oxalic acid, the precursor to oxalate stones, but cooking them reduces the oxalic acid significantly. Making sure your diet contains adequate calcium, salt and friendly bacteria is vital in any reduced-carb scenario.

      There are four distinct types of stones, and oxalates are only implicated in one (the most common) variety: the calcium stone.

  8. Your recipes led me to this site. I love them. But here I have to disagree. Rhubarb is great as a vegetable. I use it with chicken, tuna, and lamb and it’s irreplaceable. It stays fairly crisp and has a mild, lemony flavor.

    1. Sounds interesting, I love liver with baked unions and apples a lot. Another mix of meat with fruits.

      Could you describe the preparation of Rhubarb in a bit more detail? How do you cook it, how long, how much.

      1. Happy to oblige. I’m pretty new here, do people post entire recipes? Here’s the one for tuna: scatter about 2 pounds, about 2 inches thick, cut into cubes across the bottom of a casserole. Top with 3 cups of rhubarb sliced thin, then add a cup of chopped tomatoes (drained diced are fine), 1/2 cup red wine, 2 T each olive oil and honey. Cover, cook in a microwave at 100% power for about 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

        The chicken one is more fun–radishes and scallions as well as rhubarb. It really tastes like spring. Would you like that too?

        1. Yes, people do post entire recipes here – and, yes, please do post the chicken one, too.

        2. Okay, here’s the chicken/rhubarb recipe:

          8 half-breasts
          3 cups rhubarb, sliced thin
          3 cups asparagus in 2″ lengths
          1 cup radishes sliced thin
          1/4 cup shallots, peeled and halved or quartered, depending on the size
          1 1/2 cup heavy cream
          3 T cornstarch
          2 T cold water
          1/2 cup scallions sliced thin

          Scatter the rhubarb across the bottom of a large oval dish that will go in the microwave. Chicken goes on top, with thick side toward the inside rim of the dish. Scatter asparagus, radishes, and shallots over the chicken. Lightly press on all the layers. Pour cream over all.

          Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cook for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking whisk cornstarch and water till smooth.

          Take chicken out and peel off the plastic. Spread scallions on top and pour in the cornstarch slurry. Use a spoon to mix it in with the cream without disturbing the chicken any more than you have to. Recover and cook 5 minutes more.

          I let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

          Oh, and I cut the rhubarb and asparagus on the diagonal. I like the way it looks. Coconut milk is new to me. Perhaps it could be substituted.


        3. Thank you very much. The two recipes sound great and are combinations I would never have thought of myself.

          I see your new: a recipe with corn starch. 🙂

        4. It didn’t even occur to me to use rhubarb in a savory way. Can’t wait to try. My rhubarb plants will be ready to harvest in a couple of weeks

        1. My standard recipe, which may be the German standard recipe is this. Bake one or two apples in a little butter. The normal version is probably with water. Stop well before it becomes apple sauce.

          Chop union in small pieces and slowly bake until they get a nice golden tan. Cut the liver in small pieces, heat up the pan with the unions and quickly bake the liver. Just so long that the colour changes and maybe one or two minutes more, but not much longer otherwise it becomes bitter. Add pepper and salt. I like chicken liver most.

          Before serving add some cinnamon to the apples. Depending on the apples used and your degree of primalness add some sugar or raisins.

  9. Cherise and Amber:

    KEY TO WHIPPING COCONUT MILK INTO WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM: Refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk for a full 24 hours before attempting to whip it. scoop off the fatty part that has risen to top. pour of the watery part and reserve for other recipes or smoothies. whip on high in a cold metallic bowl (put that in freezer for an hour). Cold and FAT are key to whipping coconut milk. add a splash of vanilla to “sweeten”. I have been known to add a shot of amaretto as well. hehehehe.

    Mark, thanks for such a great recipe idea. gonna go get me some rhubarb and try this

  10. I was going to look up a rhubarb recipe. It is the season. Didn’t have to search far. Sounds mmmmm good.

  11. It would never have occurred to me to use butter (yum!) but I’ve been making a simple rhubarb sauce for years: just cook it down with a little water like you would apples for applesauce. Tastes great on pork or mixed in with yogurt (or on ice cream, in my less primal days).

  12. Drool… Love rhubarb, love raspberries. They’re pretty good shmooshed together and topped with mascarpone too (if you do dairy).

  13. Rhubarb, like other large leafy greens/stalks are considered “tonic” and especially healthy in the spring/early summer. Rhubarb crumble (a mix of almond flour or just some chopped walnuts, butter,w/cinnamon, stevia or touch of honey) is my favorite dessert.

  14. Perfect! Today is my husband’s birthday and we’re headed to the farmer’s market this morning…now I know what I’m making for his birthday party dessert! Thanks!

  15. I grew up with strawberry-rhubarb pie as a Southern summer staple. I was starting to feel sad about missing out during my first paleo summer because of the sugar. I’ll give the butter/honey combo a try. Thank you!

  16. I love rhubarb and its great to see ways to use it in primal cooking. Thanks!

  17. I love rhubarb but even with really sweet berries that sauce is TART! Like others have said, rhubarb is really good with meats. I make a chutney like relish with onions and spices and it’s really good with pork roast.

  18. Incidentally, rhubarb leaves are toxic due to the amount of oxalic acid in them- same stuff that’s in barkeep’s friend and a few other kitchen cleaners. I wonder if you could use them in cleaning, somehow?

  19. We made this and put it on coconut crepes (recipe from “The Foodie and the Family”, except we use organic 2% instead of coconut milk). It was SO good. I told DH rhubarb will now be a staple on the grocery list whenever it’s in season!

  20. Just made this and it is amazing! I might add strawberries next time and try to decrease the honey. So good with coconut whipped cream, would be amazing with Greek yogurt. Thanks! Can’t wait to share with my friends.

  21. Made this recipe yesterday and was totally blown away. It’s sooooo suuuper yummy! I was a little impatient with the coconut cream so it was more like a coconut “mousse”, but that doesn’t make it worse imo. With the added honey the sauce also had just the right amount of sweetness which is usually the hardest part with rhubarb.

  22. I have a ton of cut up rhubarb in the freezer. How many cups does 3 stalks equate to? I’d love to try this recipe. Thanks for any input!

  23. I tried this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! It’s my first day trying the Paleo diet and with recipes like this, I’m looking forward to the next few weeks!

  24. Wow, I came to find a berry sauce recipe. Found a great new use for rhubarb (I have two varieties – my Mum’s and his Mum’s LOL and because I slackly let plants go to seed, I end up with oodles of plants as the main dies and baby plants come up). Next the great recipes in the comments…gee, I haven’t got time for this. I’ll come back!!! Thanks people, great site; great comments.

  25. This was wonderful! I think I’ll reduce the amount of honey next time. After living without sugar for some time, it tasted so sweet! But my kids loved it!

  26. Every web site I go to for Low cholesterol low carb recipes
    has stuff such as sauteed fish with cranberry raspberry sauce and tofu chunks.
    I live in the real world and also work at a factory.
    I’m used to burgers and also lasagna y understand real people foods certainly not fancy richie people stuff..

  27. The only problem is that rhubarb is available in the spring and fresh raspberries, and blackberries in mid-summer…at least here in New England. Guess I’ll have to buy California berries!

  28. I used a small bag each of frozen rhubarb and frozen mixed berries to make this, and it was really good! I had some with greek yogurt, which was a nice balance of taste.