Strawberry & Rhubarb Not Just For Desserts!

By Chef Melanie Robinson

When spring is here,  it’s strawberry and rhubarb time. At the cafe, we often use these two ingredients in a savoury way. It makes a wonderful salad,  that’s sure to be a new favourite. We prefer using a local spicy arugula, topped with your favourite toasted nut (almonds/walnuts/pine nut) and a salty cheese like feta, manchego, or a beautiful blue cheese!! Top with fresh strawberries, strawberry dressing, toasted nuts and the pickled rhubarb!! Enjoy the first tastes of early spring! 

Strawberry dressing 

  • 1 med shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled 
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 2–4 tablespoon honey 
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon  mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1–1½  tbsp poppy seeds 
  • In a blender or food processor add the shallot, strawberries, vinegar, honey, garlic, mustard, & salt and mix until combined.
  • With the blender/food processor running, slowly add the oil in until the dressing is emulsified (comes together).
  • After blended, stir in poppy seeds and refrigerate until ready to use. Pour in to a jar with a lid. The dressing may separate as it sits; shake to recombine before using.

Pickled Rhubarb 


  • 12 ounces tender red rhubarb sliced into pieces 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick
  • 3 medium cloves garlic smashed
  • 1¼ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 water 
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 6 cracked cardamom pods green or black   


  • Fill a quart jar with rhubarb and smashed garlic; set aside.
  • Add remaining ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately, carefully pour boiling liquid over the rhubarb, enough to just cover the rhubarb. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours, and up to 1 month. Pickled flavor and a softened texture will increase with time.