All of a sudden it sure seems like it’s summer here in BC – so little rain, so many sunny days, and lots of heat. The kind of weather that has you rolling down the windows in the car, trading your pants for shorts, and breaking out the fans. The kind of weather than has you passing on those hearty comfort foods of the fall and winter, looking for cool, refreshing, lighter fare. The great thing is all the spring and summer produce that is appearing at the market is perfect for lighter meals – asparagus, rhubarb, local greens, strawberries and more. They are all definitely making an appearance in my daily eats right now.
As soon as it gets hot out, pretty much the only thing I crave for breakfast is a smoothie. I don’t want to start my day with something warm and heavy like oatmeal – I want something cooling that won’t take much time, and that doesn’t heat up my kitchen. And while my year-round go-to smoothie is great, I like to mix it up when I find myself having smoothies 5 or more days a week. Good thing spring and summer time means local seasonal fruits, so I don’t have to get bored with the same old same old.
One morning I was grabbing some ingredients to make a blueberry smoothie, when I remembered I had some stewed rhubarb in the fridge. I have always wondered how rhubarb would work in a smoothie, so I decided to throw some in. Turns out it was a great idea.
Hint – blueberry smoothies are great for hiding greens like spinach. You can’t even tell it’s in there once it’s all blended up!
What I love about rhubarb most is it’s tart flavour, and I liked the way it played with the sweet frozen blueberries in the smoothie. It made for a nice balance, and one of those flavour combos that makes you go “huh, something different, but I can’t quite put my nose on it”. I used stewed (or cooked) rhubarb because it’s what I had, and I’m not convinced that raw rhubarb would blend up quite as well, even with a fancy blender (I’m clearly Team Blendtec). Maybe something to try with future smoothies? Regardless, this one was great, and I’ve already made it a few times since. So head on down to your local farmer’s market, stock up on rhubarb, and get blending!
Berry Bluebarb Smoothie
Rhubarb isn’t just for pies and jams – try it out in a berrylicious smoothie! Blueberries, stewed rhubarb, spinach, and chia seeds all come together to make a fibre rich, antioxidant packed smoothie that makes a great cooling breakfast when you are on your way out the door to take on the day.
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/3 cup stewed rhubarb
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 1/2 cup yogurt or kefir (I’m on a kefir kick, so that’s what I used)
- 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- splash of vanilla extract
1. Combine all ingredients in your favourite blending machine. Whiz around until smooth and creamy. The smoothie will thicken as the chia absorbs some of the liquid.
Note: I barely sweeten my rhubarb when I cook it, because I love tart flavours. If you want, you can add a bit of sugar or other sweetener to either your rhubarb or the smoothie to suit your tastes.
What spring/summer produce are you loving these days?