There’s snow on the ground and currently the temperature in Illinois is sitting in the single digits.

Yes I know that rhubarb isn’t some magical snow crop (although, it would be pretty cool if it was!)

But, I have this huge bag of frozen rhubarb and I was beginning to get worried that the freezer was about to do it’s worst.  So I opted to make something with it and share it.  Still seasonal, just “summer produce frozen for use later.”  Well, later happened to be January.

Rhubarb usually means on thing to me: pie.  Sure I’ve added rhubarb to quinoa for breakfast but really, I don’t step out of my rhubarb comfort zone.  Rhubarb=Dessert.

Except now when I’m trying to watch what I eat and really, no one in my family wants me to make a pie.  In fact, they would probably be angry that I’m trying to sabotage their healthy eating.  So while scouring the internet for savory rhubarb recipes, I found this rhubarb bbq sauce and promptly decided that it sounded delicious.

I started off making the bbq sauce and then something happened. I don’t know if I got bored with making bbq sauce or what but when it came time to add the cinnamon, I stopped.

Then, as if I had this grand idea, I sprinkled chipotle powder in the rhubarb.  I stepped backed and realized that I had effectively steered away from bbq sauce and in to new territory.  I actually had to ask myself what I was making.

“well it’s some kind of sauce.  I guess it could go on tacos, maybe even some sort of enchiladas.  Hmph.”  (I was like this for five minutes)

Until it hit me:  I had made delicious chipotle rhubarb salsa!  There was this complex taste of sweet, tart, and spicy all in one.  It was delicious and I couldn’t stop dunking chips in it!

I can’t help but say that this was a happy accident.  I really didn’t start out making salsa but I’m glad I did.  I love trying different kinds of salsa (in fact one of my favorite is a cranberry orange one!)

Sometimes my experiments come out tasty!

Chipotle Rhubarb Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium onion
  • 4 cups diced rhubarb
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½-1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a larger pot, heat olive oil over medium. Add in onions and saute until the onions become translucent, 4-5 minutes. Stir in rhubarb and continue to cook until rhubarb softens , time varies depending on if you are using fresh or frozen.
  2. Next, add remaining ingredients. I start with ½ teaspoon of chipotle and taste at the end to see if I want more heat. Stir and bring salsa to a boil, the reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 15-20 minutes. If you want smoother salsa, use an immersion blender (or a regular one) to puree.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve warm or store in refrigerator for up to a week.
This salsa sits on the tart/spicy side. You may need to adjust the brown sugar- this recipe is very forgiving in that nothing really needs to be exact.


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