If there’s one garden vegetable that signals to me that spring is really on its way, it’s rhubarb. I’m always excited to see it starting to grow, because it means everything else will be coming up soon, too. When I saw that my plant had survived the dusting of snow the stalks got this year, I knew I needed to make vegan rhubarb curd ASAP. There are plenty of vegan lemon curd recipes online, but I couldn’t find any vegan rhubarb curd recipes, and my efforts last year didn’t yield an egg-free rhubarb curd recipe I was happy with. I finally got it this time, though!
Now the only problem is deciding what to do with it. Spread it on toast or pastries, add it to granola and yogurt, or bake it into bars, pie, or a tart? Whatever I make with it, I’ll probably try to figure out a way to distract from the color. Despite adding food coloring when the rhubarb curd alone failed to be the right color, it’s not the bright pink I was hoping for. Or even pink at all, really.
Maybe this is why there aren’t vegan rhubarb curd recipes online, because food bloggers haven’t figured out how to make it pretty enough? It tastes damn good, but the color is not its strong point. I guess it’s what happens when you blend together the red from the skin with the green inside the stalk. The color of non-vegan rhubarb curd seems to vary a lot, too, so I suspect the color might depend on the variety of rhubarb.
Listen, you know what IS pretty? Spring flowers. Just look at all those lovely pink flowers! I went outside to clip some cherry blossoms, and then realized I could use some camellias and flowering quince from my yard, too. They look as good as this vegan rhubarb curd tastes.
It’s sweet-tart and creamy and fruity, and tastes like spring in a jar. I can’t wait to combine it with strawberries a little later in the season.
Are you ready to make your own?
Vegan Rhubarb Curd (Egg-Free, Dairy-Free)
5-6 medium stalks rhubarb, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 8 oz/215 g/2 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar (divided)
1 14-ounce (414 ml) can coconut cream*
1 tsp lemon zest (from about 1 small lemon)
2 tsp lemon juice (from about 1 small lemon)
2 Tbsp (14 g) arrowroot powder/starch
1 tsp vanilla extract
Red food coloring**
Place sliced rhubarb, water, and 1/4 cup sugar into a medium saucepan. Stir to combine, and heat over medium heat until the rhubarb is soft and coming apart, about 5 minutes.
Cool slightly, and add lemon zest and lemon juice. With an immersion blender, or in a traditional blender, blend until smooth.
Place coconut cream in a medium saucepan (you can use the same one as above), and add arrowroot powder. Heat over low heat to liquefy the coconut cream, and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla extract, pinch of salt, and 2 Tbsp additional sugar, or to taste.
If you pureed your rhubarb in a blender or another container, transfer it back to the saucepan with the coconut cream. If you want to try to get your curd to be red/pink, whisk in a few drops of red food coloring.
Raise the heat to medium and bring to a low bubble – not boil – whisking often. Once it starts bubbling and getting thick, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking. Switch to a rubber spatula for stirring to ensure the curd isn’t sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan. Continue cooking while stirring, until a visible ribbon forms when spooning a bit of the curd across the top. This might take a while. It should be thick in texture, almost like caramel.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity/brightness, or sugar for sweetness.
Let rest for 15 minutes, then whisk once more and transfer to a glass bowl or jar and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the curd – otherwise a film may form.
Refrigerate for 5-6 hours, or overnight, or until completely chilled and set. Will keep in the refrigerator 7-10 days.
Makes 24 fluid ounces.
*Not coconut milk, coconut cream. I recommend the canned coconut cream from Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find that, this one comes in 5.4 oz cans, so you can substitute 3 of those. You can also try substituting full-fat coconut milk, but you’ll probably have to add more arrowroot starch to help thicken the curd.
**I tried making this without food coloring at all, and it was even more of a greenish beige color. So next I tried adding beet root powder to color it naturally, and after I added 1 1/2 tsp, I gave up and added a few drops of red food coloring. The color of your curd will vary with your rhubarb, though, and the color is entirely optional.