A simple recipe for rhubarb compote, or stewed rhubarb, without the added sugar. This simple recipe is refined sugar free and tastes fantastic. Delicious for dessert or a healthy breakfast.
Stewed rhubarb must be the quickest and simplest way to cook this strangely fruit-like vegetable. Yes - rhubarb is actually a vegetable!
In this easy recipe for healthy rhubarb compote all you need to do is:
- chop your rhubarb
- add in some sweetener
- and a little vanilla extract if you like, and
- pop it all in a saucepan for 15 minutes.
Why is rhubarb usually cooked with a lot of sugar?
Rhubarb has rather a tart taste that many people don't like.
For this reason it is usually cooked with lots of sugar. I took a quick look online for other rhubarb compote recipes and found that sugar was added that weighed anywhere from a tenth to a sixth the weight of the rhubarb used. That means that if you used 1kg of rhubarb you'd add at least 100g sugar.
As I'm trying to cut out unnecessary refined sugar from our diet wherever possible I use honey or maple syrup here.
Personally, I rather like the tart taste of rhubarb and so I just used a small amount.
If you prefer a sweeter taste you can increase this of course - just taste as you go. And if you want to go traditional and use caster sugar go for it - I'll never know!
How to cook rhubarb without sugar
Of course if you really want to cook rhubarb without sugar feel free to leave it out altogether.
Alternatively adding berries is a great way to naturally sweeten rhubarb, if you don't want to use honey or maple syrup. Strawberries go particularly well with rhubarb.
Try my strawberry rhubarb crumble.
Do you need to peel rhubarb?
No. I never peel my rhubarb. I do usually cut off both ends however and discard those.
Some people say that if the rhubarb is old and a bit thick then you should peel it but I have never done this.
When to serve this low sugar rhubarb compote
My healthier rhubarb compote is delicious however you serve it.
It's a lovely dessert with some yoghurt, or why not have it for breakfast with some bircher muesli? That's my favourite way to serve it.
See below for some other ways that you could use stewed rhubarb.
How to use your stewed rhubarb
- on top of pancakes for breakfast
- stirred through bircher muesli
- to make rhubarb muffins
- with granola
- mixed into Greek yoghurt
- as a crumble or pie filling
- in my rhubarb tea loaf recipe
- with strawberries for a gorgeous summer pudding
- with mead in a semifreddo as in this recipe by Jenny Eatwell's Rhubarb & Ginger
- as a filling for Danish pastries as seen on Jess Cantoni's blog.
Other healthy rhubarb recipes:
- Rhubarb and earl grey tea loaf
- Vegan rhubarb and ginger muffins
- Rhubarb and strawberry oven baked risotto
- Strawberry and rhubarb crumble
- Vegan healthy rhubarb bars
- Spiced rhubarb chutney
Pin rhubarb compote for later
How to make simple spiced rhubarb compote
If you have made this recipe I would love it if you’d leave a comment and rating below. Thank you!
Simple rhubarb compote (refined sugar free)
- 400 g rhubarb ends cut off and discarded and then chopped
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick optional
- 2 star anise optional
- 1 tsp ground ginger optional
- 2-4 tbsp maple syrup, honey or sugar of choice optional
- 1 tbsp water
- Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat. Start with 2 tbsp maple syrup or other sugar alternative and add more after cooking if needed.
- Stir well, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is soften and broken down.
- Stir occasionally to stop it sticking.
- You can also roast the rhubarb if you prefer.
NB: this recipe was updated in June 2019. The original recipe used a smaller quantity of rhubarb and didn't contain the spices. If you prefer you can leave the spices out.