This Strawberry Rhubarb Salad is perfect for summer!
Early summer is my favorite time of year for fresh seasonal produce. The farmer’s market has gone from a few stalls featuring primarily root vegetables and kale to an abundance of stalls featuring all the vibrant colored produce you could imagine. Crisp sugar snap peas, spindly asparagus, vibrant red strawberries and rhubarb, golden beets, and so much more!
Before you keep scrolling, here’s a fun little animation of this salad coming together.
Why you’ll like this recipe
Summer perfection. Seasonal strawberries, peaches, and rhubarb with fresh mint and basil and citrus make for the perfect fun summer salad. It’s light, healthy, refreshing, and packed with fresh flavor. Take it on a picnic, bring it to a barbecue, or enjoy it for any other al fresco dining occasion.
Almost too easy to make. If you know how to chop up vegetables and fruits, you will have no problem making this salad! That’s all you need to do. Chop and mix.
Very Healthy. This salad is made primarily with vegetables, fruits, and herbs from nature. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber…it’s all in the bag (bowl). Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, Paleo, and refined sugar-free!
Unique. If you’re tired of eating the same boring salads, this is a non-traditional salad that will surprise and delight your tastebuds.
Rhubarb. In most climates, rhubarb is in season from mid-spring to summer. When shopping for rhubarb, look for crisp stalks that aren’t too soft/limp/bruised and have a shiny exterior. Also, do not eat the leaves, as they very high in oxalic acid and harmful for human health.
Raw rhubarb is quite tart and I definitely don’t recommend eating raw rhubarb plain. But when you lightly marinate it in a bit of sweetness, it’s actually quite lovely. Here, the rhubarb gets quick marinated in a mixture of fresh orange and lemon juice, orange zest, and maple syrup. This helps soften the texture and makes the tart taste much more palatable.
While the rhubarb is marinating (30-60 minutes), you can prep the other ingredients. Or, you can take a nap. Or catch up on Netflix. You do you.
Strawberries. As you might know, strawberry and rhubarb are a classic combination, but their harmonious pairing isn’t just limited to desserts! The sweetness of the strawberries is the perfect complement to the tart acidity of the raw rhubarb.
Peaches. I first started enjoying peaches in salad a few summers ago when I married them with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, bread cubes, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a summer panzanella salad. That salad inspired me to add peaches here!
Basil and Mint. I love using fresh herbs in salads, especially nontraditional salads like this one. And strawberry-basil is such a classic combination and I love rhubarb-mint together, so I figured the combination of all of them would be fabulous. And it was.
Almonds and Hazelnuts. Like with fresh herbs, I love adding toasted nuts to my salads. The crunch brings an interesting textural contrast, and toasting the nuts packs in more flavor, as the toasting process draws out maximal flavor from nuts.
If you don’t have both almonds and hazelnuts, you can use just one or the other.
How to make this Healthy Summer Strawberry Rhubarb Salad
Rhubarb. Slice off the ends of the rhubarb, and if any stringy peel starts to come off, peel it off and discard. Then dice the rhubarb finely. Mix it with the citrus-maple marinade, and place it in the fridge.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven. Once the oven is hot, spread the almonds and hazelnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. You can also toast the nuts in a dry skillet on the stove, but the oven method is more hands off.
Next, slice your strawberries, fresh mint, basil, and peaches. Finally, mix all of these ingredients and the toasted nuts with the marinated rhubarb salad. Toss to combine, and that’s it! I told you it was extremely easy :)
How to Serve Healthy Summer Strawberry Rhubarb Salad
After combining the marinated rhubarb with the rest of the ingredients, I recommend tasting for seasonings and adjusting them as needed. For instance, if you want the salad to be a bit sweeter (perhaps your strawberries or peaches aren’t that sweet), add a splash of maple syrup and toss to combine.
Want a little richness in this salad? Drizzle in a fruity extra virgin olive oil and toss to combine. If you have access to vegan ricotta cheese or vegan feta cheese (Violife has a good one!), either of those would be fabulous in this salad.
For something tangy, try a drizzle of good-quality balsamic vinegar on top.
Or, just a sprinkle of sea salt and/or black pepper on top.
Tips for making this Healthy Summer Strawberry Rhubarb Salad
I like this salad best when it’s slightly below room temperature. Not cold but not warm. If your kitchen is warm (it is summer, after all), I recommend marinating the rhubarb in the fridge.
I also recommend using ripe but refrigerated peaches for this same reason, but also because refrigerated peaches are a lot easier to slice.
I also find that it’s best to slice the peaches at the very end, after all of the other ingredients are prepped. That’s because peaches are so delicate, bruise easily, and sliced peaches get brown spots the longer they sit out.
That’s all you need to know about this Healthy Summer Strawberry Rhubarb Salad. If you give recipe a try, be sure to tag me on Instagram with your recreations and please comment with your feedback below!