Owning It

vanilla bean rhubarb oatmeal-4
vanilla bean rhubarb oatmeal-7

Oh Rhubarb, are you enjoying your day in the sun?

Everyone is out on the weekend dancing to the banjo man at the farmers markets, celebrating Spring. You’re not the one we’ve been holding out for, but you put up a good fight, so gallant and lanky amidst the new and delicate green, never apologizing for your tartness or your withered nobs. Your arrival in the stalls and tents signals that winter has finally gone to rest and that there are so many good, new things to come.

I’ve taken some notes from you this season, notes on owning it. Not being bossy. Not being prideful. You just show up as you are. Like, hey, I’m not strawberries, but that’s cool that’s not what I want to be. Folks are like WTF sometimes when you gawk about too close to the beets and fennel but you shake it off, you already know that the ones who see your potential are who you want to take you home anyway. Those special folks gussy you up, simmer you down, muddle you with booze, coat you in sugar and butter. You end up really getting the royal treatment when it’s all said and done.

You won’t be around much longer, Rhubarb. Basil and summer squash will burst onto the scene and most will forget you. I won’t. I’m going to think of you all summer. Owning it. Loving it. Not trying to fight any of it. Showing up and being real. I will try my best to just come as I am, what do you think?  That’s all one can really hope to do in this life, right?


vanilla bean rhubarb oatmeal-11vanilla bean rhubarb oatmeal-15

Actual vanilla bean is clutch for this recipe. Extract won’t suffice. Treat yourself.

Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Oatmeal

  • 1 lb rhubarb
  • 1 large orange, juice and zest
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1-2 cups old-fashioned (thick cut) oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 400.’ Cut rhubarb into 1″ chunks and place in a glass baking dish. Cut open and scoop out the seeds of the vanilla bean onto the rhubarb. Toss in the emptied pods too. Coat with orange juice, zest, sugar, and a bit of water. Mix to cover evenly with sugar, juice, and vanilla. Bake for 15-20 minutes until soft.
Prepare oatmeal to your liking (I use part water part coconut milk for the liquid portion). Scoop a serving of oatmeal into a bowl, cover with rhubarb with a bit of juice, and sprinkle with chopped almonds.

  1. Margarita

    Love the ode to rhubarb! When I first moved to the US, I had rhubarb pie for the very first time and loved it. Little did I know that rhubarb itself is tart because in that pie, the rhubarb was sweetened to death. I loved it… But later on as I had it prepared different ways, I learned to appreciate the real taste that it lends. Oatmeal is my all time favorite early morning breakfast and I like sweetening it with fruits and honey. This rhubarb concoction sounds great… Love that it is sweetened by so little sugar and with fresh orange juice.


  2. la domestique

    Beautiful, Kelsey! I will never look at rhubarb the same way again. I do celebrate the color and savor the tart flavor of rhubarb, and it’s the ingredient of the week at la Domestique!


  3. Shannalee

    I love everything about this, especially rhubarb’s knowing it’s not strawberries but that’s OK.


  4. Rachel

    Dear rhubarb,
    I would love to have you in my oatmeal some morning. You once grew in my grandmother’s garden but that was very far away. Maybe I can find you at the farmers market some day.


  5. Lisa

    So sweet :)

  6. Sarah

    This looks really delicious! I cannot wait until my dad’s friend and my aunt give us rhubarb from their garden.


  7. Stacy

    Brilliant, Kelsey. I love it. And rhubarb, oh, I love that, too!


  8. Marissa | Pinch&Swirl

    An ode to rhubarb and authenticity – what a nice way to begin this sunny Sunday. Thanks Kelsey.


  9. Cookie and Kate

    This post is so great, Kelsey! I cooked down rhubarb into a sauce last month, and while it wasn’t quite right on buckwheat crepes, it was great with oatmeal. Love that you retained some of its texture by roasting it, yum.


  10. Sarah

    Recently heard a talk about being an “Owner” or a “Victim” and found I had some of both. Hmm…I’ve been thinking about it ever since – who wants to be a victim??? Not me! Love your thoughts! Thanks.


  11. Sarah B.

    Kelsey, work of art. Your writing is incredible. Such a beautiful piece, and I need more. Ps. I’ve been eating your carrot cake for a week straight. I made more. :)


  12. Hailey

    I have followed your blog for a while now and am not sure why this is my first comment. I love your photos, your words, and your recipes so much. (So much so that I downloaded your awesome iphone app recently!) But what you wrote for this post especially really struck me. Thanks for sharing. It reminded me of my word for 2012: BOLD. I carry it with me every day. :)


  13. patti

    I love where you take me with your writing! You had me at “dancing to the banjo man” and I’m all in with trying Rhurbarb now before she gets pushed aside & ignored by the arrival of summer squash! Love you!!


  14. Renee

    My rhubarb is just poking through the earth now (late bloomer!) but I’m dying to make this for breakfast when I get my hands on it!


  15. Ingredient of the Week: Rhubarb | La Domestique

    […] I’ve seen her in the garden, lengthy cherry-red petioles splaying unabashedly, voluptuous leaves basking in the sun. No need to worry about pests bothering rhubarb -the grand leaves are all for show, full of poisonous oxalic acid. I’ll enjoy the peak of rhubarb season from April to June, taking her home to my kitchen and straight to the cooking pot. Once plucked from the precious soil rhubarb quickly deteriorates, drying up and surrendering to her mortality. It’s best not to waste any time. Sugar is the only thing that can tame her brash tartness. A few minutes under the heat and rhubarb disintegrates into mush, politely called a compote, which I will spoon over ice cream or stir into my morning oatmeal. For this moment, rhubarb is the most beautiful taste of spring, and she owns it. […]

  16. sarah

    Oh you! {I know I write that every time}. A perfect piece. I am smiling and teary-eyed at the same time, thinking how I always wanted to be those darn strawberries, instead of being comfortable in my own rhubarby-skin.

    I am trying to eat a healthier breakfast, and have been loving all these oatmeal recipes popping up. My rhubarb is peeking at me through my kitchen window right now; I’m going to have to make this tomorrow!


  17. Lori @ RecipeGirl

    I suppose it’s time that I gave rhubarb a chance. Would you believe that I’ve never ever cooked with it?? Crazy. This looks like a wonderful way to utilize it. It’s the first time I’ve seen it served up for breakfast!


  18. lindsay | rosemarried

    I love that we both posted vanilla bean rhubarb recipes today. :) Great minds think alike! Rhubarb is totally owning it!


  19. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Oh hello amazing breakfast! This is being made on Sunday… no doubt about that!


  20. Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen

    FINE! Convince me that rhubarb is awesome. I love that you didn’t combine it with strawberries or anything else to cover up its flavor. Also, vanilla bean and oatmeal is awesome, obvi.


  21. Kasey

    I think you’ve perfectly captured the mood of rhubarb. While I am excited to see it at the markets, it’s hardly the fruit (or vegetable?) that I ‘hold out’ for. Yet, the humble rhubarb stalk does wonders for dishes savory and sweet. This oatmeal sounds pretty divine. I think rhubarb’s owning it pretty well :)


  22. Sheila

    Will have to give this recipe a try.


  23. mary braendle

    not a real lover of rhubarb but Love oatmeal…willing to try. I fell in love with the story.


  24. sara

    leave it to you to make market rhubarb so melodic and spunky.


  25. Patricia Scarpin

    Oh, I love rhubarb! It goes so well in so many ways. I have never had it with oatmeal, though – looks so good!


  26. brandi

    wow – this sounds so, so good.

    i love rhubarb! i made a simple compote of chopped rhubarb, honey, and a little vanilla to fill crepes a few weekends ago. I need to get more!


  27. adrienneats

    This might be my most favorite post from you so far, Kelsey. Love it. And girl, I think you do own it.


  28. Molly

    Great Post!!!! Was Laughing out loud :)


  29. kale

    I miss rhubarb. More so now after reading this post!


  30. Jennifer@ Baking and Pastry Schools

    Ahhha!!!!! Vanilla with almonds!!!! What a combo! You made me drool :)


  31. Thyme (Sarah)

    I wonder how many of us sing ‘odes’ to our in season food delights. I wish rhubarb could be readily found down here because just fell in love with Martha Stewart’s Roasted Rhubarb and Sabayon last summer. Wonderful read and photos!


  32. hiking in black & white plus a few inspired reads

    […] Show up as you are (plus vanilla bean rhubarb oatmeal), a terrific reminder from Kelsey at Happyolks). […]

  33. Maria

    We have four rhubarb plants so I am always looking for rhubarb recipes! Love this one!


  34. Happy Weekend | Lovestruck Social Events

    […] Rhubarb Oatmeal? Yes, Please! […]

  35. Melissa

    Just found your blog – love the recipes and pics! Rhubarb is one of my favorite things of spring!


  36. kickpleat

    Looks so good! I’m so not tired of eating rhubarb (I’ve been going a little nuts lately). Rhubarb goes so well with orange and vanilla and I’m sure this would be ideal for breakfast.


  37. susanna

    Oh YUM! Gotta try this. I wonder if there still rhubarb at the grocery store… thank you.


  38. Helene

    Just found your blog via Tartelette, I’m new to the blog world… Lovely writing and wonderful photography. And loving your recipes, have to make a to-do list of all the ones I want to try! :-)


  39. Sarah

    Hi Kelsey!!

    I am always looking for new ways to add excitement to my morning oatmeal. Despite my love for rhubarb, I never thought to combine the two! This looks SO good. Can’t wait to try.

    I’m going through your blog looking for recipes for my post-cleanse healthy life, and I’m basically bookmarking every single post. Homemade tortillas? Yes please! Thanks for making my so excited for wholesome food! Great catching up the other day, lets do it again soon.


  40. Heather

    This oatmeal looks so good! I love oatmeal and am always looking for new ways to spruce it up. Fruit and nuts are always my standard topping but I’ll definitely add this to my list. (Even if I have to wait until next spring.)


  41. Stacey

    You. Are. Amazing. Thank you for being a true inspiration.


  42. The Vanilla Bean Blog | blackberry and basil focaccia bread

    […] [So after the seventeenth time proof-reading this post, I realized I was highly inspired by this post by Happyolks. It's pretty wonderful, so I encourage you to hop over there and read it.] Also, the […]

  43. 30 Heart Healthy Oatmeal Recipes

    […] Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Oatmeal – Happy Yolks […]

  44. 55 Fun and Healthy Oatmeal Recipes | Laughing Lemon Pie

    […] Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Oatmeal—Bonus: this one features rhubarb for seasonal spring eating! […]

  45. Hezra

    This is exactly how I feel about rhubarb. In fact I think the Banjo man just be playing just for it on this sunny, finally warm spring day north of Boston. And with a heel click, and a toe tap – I’m off to cook up some rhubarb.


  46. murr-ma | Happyolks

    […] photo-set for you this week. I have, however enjoyed making and eating too much of the following: Strawberry Cornmeal Loaf (fan-freaking-tastic with creme fraiche), Avocado Asparagus Tartines, Vanilla Bean Roasted Rhubarb, […]

  47. How to Use Rhubarb

    […] by strawberries, but it also makes a great topping when stewed with sugar and dumped over warm oatmeal. Or for a savory twist, it can be quickly roasted and added to an arugula goat cheese salad. My […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *