My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce + Grilled Veggie Sandwiches

I've just recently become a huge fan of barbecue sauce.  Sure, growing up we ate barbecue sauce from time to time but it was never a big thing and I could really take it or leave it.  But for some reason I'm currently hooked on putting barbecue sauce on everything.  Most everything.  Not breakfast.  Although I wouldn't put it past me.

Ever since making blueberry + pineapple barbecue sauce I've been trying to think of what flavor to play with next.  I thought of rhubarb but was hesitant.  Would it take too much sugar to mellow out?  Would it pair well with savory flavors?  Since it's most common to see rhubarb in pies o jam it seemed a little odd to try and make barbecue sauce with it.  

While it does require more than a handful of ingredients nothing is too out of the ordinary.  The item you might have the hardest time finding is the rhubarb!

Luckily, you can find rhubarb growing randomly all over our town.  A little urban foraging never hurt anyone, right?

The stalks you see above actually came from my cousin.  He has two gigantic rhubarb plants randmoly growing in his backyard.  I've never noticed rhubarb growing so freely in any other location, but then again, maybe I was never really looking for it.  I'm pretty sure they should be selling it for free around here and not having it shipped in from the other side of the country charging $7.00/lb.

I wanted to highlight this sauce in a simple way so I decided on a grilled veggie sandwich.  No tempeh, tofu, or portobellos here.  Just a pile of delicious summer veggies, grilled up in minutes, sandwiched between toast, and smothered in barbecue sauce.

To me, THIS is summer.

And the sauce??  Oh my.  The dipping got a little ridiculous.

It has a nice smokey-tang that you can not only taste but smell, and it's finished with a kick of heat from the jalapeno.  

Slather this on anything you like!  From corn on the cob to grilled veggie sandwiches, tempeh, tofu, or your protein of choice, on quinoa or millet, or as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies...or french fries.

Rhubarb barbecue sauce, who would've thought?

Print this!

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce gluten-free, vegan // yields ~2 cups sauce

adapted from: pineapple barbecue sauce

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb, 1/4-inch slices ~5 large stalks
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons diced + seeded jalapeno
  • 2 - 3 1/2 tablespoons muscovado sugar, sucanat or light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • oil for cooking
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the onion + jalapeno and cook until softened, stirring occasionally.  About 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add in the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add in the rhubarb, tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar, molasses, garlic, smoked paprika, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  5. Stir to combine and reduce heat to medium-low/low and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes until the rhubarb is tender and easily mashed.  Mixture should be thick.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes, then place in your blender or food processor and [carefully! hot liquid!] blend until fully smooth.  
  7. Return to the pot over low heat, taste and adjust seasonings [more sugar/salt/pepper -- I used 3T sugar total] if needed.  
  8. Serve immediately or allow to cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week.  Or, allow to fully cool, place in a sealable bag and freeze.  Thaw in the fridge 24hrs before using.

For the grilled veggie sandwich:  I used zucchini, eggplant, and orange bell pepper with a fresh slice of tomato on the bottom.

  1. Preheat grill to about medium/med-high heat.
  2. Slice veggies and toss with oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour out into an even layer on a grill pan or grate and grill for 4-5 minutes, toss, and grill another 3-5 minutes until grilled to your liking.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve.

notes/subs: The seeded jalapeno is optional if you want a medium spice level.  It is crucial to use smoked paprika and not plain paprika.  Costco sells a large container for about $4.

A little on the messy side, but I'd say it's worth it.


Reader Comments (24)

Whoa girl, love the unexpected twist in this sauce! I'm loving the looks of those veggies, summer in a sandwich!
The idea of this sauce is totally intriguing. I would never have thought to pair rhubarb with barbecue flavours but I can see how the sweetness and tartness would work together. Sounds so good!
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn
I was hoping you'd make a savory rhubarb recipe! This looks delicious. We have a rhubarb plant, so I've been cooking/baking with it for weeks now! I'd share some if you lived in PA. :-)
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarissa
I didn't see this coming... I love everything about this bbq sauce and sandwich! I still make the blueberry bbq sauce, and I know this rhubarb will be a new favorite... amazing creativity my dear! I need to send this to my mom, she's up to her ears in rhubarb ;)
I actually have all of those ingredients at my house! So making this tonite - didn't know what else to do with my leftover rhubarb stalks! Yay!
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaria Tadic
This sandwich looks scrumptious! Your lighting in the photos is excellent. What is your trick?
@Carissa - Glad you were looking for a savory rhubarb recipe!

@Christa - Hope you + your mom love it!

@Maria - Awesome! Hope you enjoy. :)

@Jillienne - Ahh, you are too sweet. I can't say I really have a trick! I use a side window that doesn't get direct sunlight. Yesterday was a bit of an overcast day but it worked for the veggies! I didn't have a light bounce or any type of screen set up in this shot. A few of the photos are backlit and a few are lit with the window to my left. :)
June 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
That sauce looks so good. I never wanted to grow rhubarb until you posted all your rhubarb recipes this spring. Although I'm sure your gluten-free doughnut cookbook is going to be out of this world, you need to do another book on seasonal eating. You just seem to come up with amazing combinations for recipes.
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke
Just thinking what else to do with rhubarb, I've got 3 old plants in my garden. Thanks for the delicious idea!
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteragi
So simple and flavorful!!! Looks delicious!
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. & Mrs. P
That sauce looks amazing and beautiful pictures (as always). I couldn't agree with you more, grilled veggies is what summer is all about. I'm just wondering how the heck you fit that sandwich in your mouth! ;)
Wow, what stunning photograpy and an equally stunning recipe. Very glad to have discovered your blog!
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Mulberry
Who would have thought?! So creative! This looks and sounds incredible
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannah
I would DEFINITELY say it's worth it! Looks amazing!!
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCait's Plate
Unique idea! I would have never thought of this... Will have to try it out. Thanks for sharing!
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeah
One of my husband's favorite things is rhubarb. I'm making this for him ASAP.
June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJade Sheldon-Burnsed
This looks mighty tasty and so creative. I might have to whip up a batch and store it in the freezer for those barbecue cravings, especially since we've been swamped with rhubarb recently. I just posted a rhubarb recipe today in fact!
June 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmma
this looks amazing! Love that saucy photo, mmm...
June 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeanine
Do you know how this might work canned? If it will even work canned?! And how!?
(I'm new to preserving food usually we just scarf it down. But canning would be a great way to make larger batches and gift out!)
June 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
Do you know how this might work canned? If it will even work canned?! And how!?
(I'm new to preserving food usually we just scarf it down. But canning would be a great way to make larger batches and gift out!)
June 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
Lovely work! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday which is about all things BBQ? This is the <a href=""> link </a>. I do hope to see you there. Cheers
June 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarole
I just did this, replacing the sugar and molasses by honey (it's what I had in the house) and I absolutely love it! I added a table spoon of honey at the end to make it less tangy but that all. I would love tho can this. I'm pretty sure it will work, it have enough acidity to it with the vinegar. I can salsa and it's about the same among. I ended up with 5 cup of sauce. Will freeze it this time as I did not had sterilized jar at hand.
June 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarine
@Kelly - Hmm, I haven't done any canning myself so I can't say for sure. Let me know if you find out!

@Karine - Thanks for letting me know you loved it! If you end up canning it let me know. Freezing is definitely a great option as well.
June 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterAshley
Your recipe is being featured in a rhubarb recipe round up today on Simple Living and Eating. I will be pinning and tweeting it too.
June 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Balch

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