I was never much of a rhubarb eater before starting on a low FODMAP diet. Although I remember an ever present clump of crimson stalks growing in the garden as a child, I don’t recall ever having tasted them. I know a lot of people have less than sweet memories of rhubarb from their own childhood, and perhaps my mother is one of them because she would always pass our cut stalks on my grandmother to make use of.
So, in more recent years, having to remove some fruits from my diet that contain excess FODMAPs, it was time to give rhubarb a go. I some ways I wonder if the absence of rhubarb in my young life was a blessing as I don’t have sour memories to contend with. Instead I am free to discover this low FODMAP vegetable/fruit in all it’s goodness.
One of the first preparations I tried with rhubarb was in a rhubarb and raspberry sponge pudding that features in The low FODMAP cookbook. The little red berries, stirred into just cooked rhubarb, add a nice fruity burst in your mouth. I thought to try a spoonful of this mix in my winter porridge with a satisfying result. In fact, it was just so simple to cook up a bunch of rhubarb , stir through some frozen raspberries that are a staple in my freezer, and have it on hand to add to my breakfast all through the week.
Oats make a great start to the day with energy to get you through to lunch and hold the mid-morning munchies at bay. The addition of quinoa to this porridge gives a boost of protein which is especially good if you are eating a vegetarian diet. If you have never tried quinoa before I urge you to give it a go; it has a kind of nutty flavour, a texture similar to couscous, and is very versatile in how it can be prepared. Just be sure to rinse these little seeds well in a fine sieve under cold running water to remove the soapy-tasting outer coating.
2 Grain Porridge with Rhubarb and Raspberries (makes 1 serve of porridge and plenty of rhubarb and raspberries to see you through the week)
2 tablespoons quinoa, well-rinsed
2 tablespoons rolled oats
1 cup milk (lactose-free if required)
generous pinch of cinnamon
1 bunch rhubarb, approximately 400g without leaves
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
¾ cup frozen raspberries
Combine quinoa, oats, milk and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to makes sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom. When the quinoa is cooked a little spiral will curl off each seed and it will be tender to the bite.
Meanwhile, wash the rhubarb stalks and trim off any leaves. Cut into 2cm lengths and combine in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat; cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes until tender. Taste the rhubarb for sweetness, adding a little more sugar if you prefer. Stir through the raspberries.
To serve, spoon the porridge into a bowl and make a little well in the centre. Fill the well with a generous spoonful of rhubarb and raspberries.