This strawberry-rhubarb salad is one of my favorite spring dishes. It’s vibrant and colorful with a nice balance of bitterness and sweetness. And it’s so simple to prepare. There is no fancy vinaigrette, no oil, no vinegar. It’s just the base ingredients, strawberry and rhubarb, that really shine through.
It’s needless to say that this simple salad will only taste good if you start with flavorful ingredients. If the strawberries are watery, you will have a disappointing experience. The natural sweetness of the strawberries is much needed to balance the tartness of the rhubarb.
Speaking of rhubarb, be very careful when you cook it in the syrup. It will disintegrate if you overcook it. The rhubarb should retain a nice crunch.
I urge you not to use too much sugar for poaching the rhubarb. I only use 1/2 cup of sugar for 2 cups of water in my syrup. I know that some people like their rhubarb sweeter, so going up to 1 cup of sugar is ok but not recommended by me.
It’s ok if the rhubarb tastes tart. You will drizzle the salad with the flavorful and sweet poaching syrup anyways. That will add plenty of sweetness in combination with the strawberries.
I love to sprinkle this salad with spearmint leaves. Peppermint tastes a bit too harsh and aggressive for me in this salad. It covers the strawberry and rhubarb flavor. If you don’t appreciate mint, you can sprinkle the salad with basil or lemon balm instead or enjoy your salad without any herbs in it.
Of course, this salad would make a great dessert. However, I also like it paired with savory dishes. Especially with asparagus or roast game meats. It adds a nice crunch and freshness to a savory meal.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Salad (‘Erdbeer-Rhabarber-Salat’)
- 4 cups (14 ounces | 200 g) sliced rhubarb stalks
- 1/2-1 cup sugar, to taste
- salt, to taste
- 1 star anise
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups (9 ounces | 250 g) finely diced strawberries
- a handful of spearmint leaves, for garnishing
- In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, salt, and star anise. Add about 2 cups of water, just enough to fully submerge the rhubarb (add more water and sugar if necessary). Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Once it boils, take the pot off the heat and let the rhubarb poach for 2-3 minutes or until tender to your liking. Be careful to not overcook the rhubarb so that it doesn’t disintegrate. Once cooked, place the saucepan in an ice-water bath to quickly cool down the mixture.
- In a bowl, combine the strawberries and rhubarb slices. Mix well and divide among individual serving plates. Spoon over a couple of tablespoons of the rhubarb syrup per serving and garnish the salad with mint leaves just before serving so they don’t discolor.