By Joanne Bruno | May 18, 2011

Photo: Joanne Bruno

I don’t like to admit this about myself but I am the type of person who becomes enraptured by pretty things. 

Especially pretty in pink things.

I’ve also always kinda sorta wanted hot pink hair.  But my friends have always told me that I don’t have the right look for it.  That’s their nice way of saying, “Hey Joanne, your whole wardrobe comes from the Gap. Deal with it.”

They are right.  It does.

So the last time I was at the Gap, I bought a pair of hot pink leggings that I now traipse around in more often than is socially acceptable or age appropriate, all the while pretending that I have hair to match.  It’s a compromise.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

But there are some pink items out there for which there is no viable substitution.  It’s gotta be the real deal or no deal.  All or nothing.

And rhubarb is one of them.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

It took me about 21 years of life to see a real stalk of the stuff.  Before that, it was just some strange and elusive entity that was mixed with strawberries and thrown into pies and crumbles and cobblers and jams, all revelatory in my humble opinion.  So I knew that it tasted good, but was it a fruit, vegetable, mineral, spice, herb? I had no idea.

And now?  Now when I see it in stores, I almost always have to avert my eyes or muster up enough strength not to squeal with unbridled happiness and stuff pound after pound into my shopping cart.  After all, there’s only so much pie a girl can eat before she turns into one.

That’s where this recipe comes in.  The tart rhubarb combined with earthy Indian spices and sweet plump golden raisins is a flavor trilogy that just makes sense when you think about it.  Each component cutting the others’ intensity while adding a little bit of its own so that they come together in one deliciously coherent whole.  And it’s so good for you that, unlike pie (though there’s always a time and a place for pie, don’t get me wrong) you can eat it at just about every meal of the day with no fear for the state of your cardiovascular health.

A win/win situation.  For both your pretty in pink obsession and your taste buds.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Adapted from Vegetarian Times June 2011

Joanne Bruno is a food writer and second year medical student.  Find more of her delicious ramblings over at her blog: Eats Well With Others.

Photo: Joanne Bruno

Indian Spiced Chickpeas with Rhubarb and Spinach Recipe

Servings: 4


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/2 lb fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 6 cups spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the skillet, cover, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the mustard seeds start popping. Cook 1-2 minutes after that, or until they stop popping, shaking the skillet frequently so that they don't burn. They should smell nice and toasty! Like mustard seed popcorn. Remove from the heat, stir in the ginger and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in that same pan over medium heat. Add the onion and raisins and saute for 10 minutes or until the onion begins to brown.

3. Add the chickpeas and 3 cups broth. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to medium low and simmer for 25 minutes, covering for the last 15 minutes so that the chickpeas cook through.

4. Stir in the rhubarb and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cook for 6 minutes. Add the spinach, cover, and cook for minutes more. Stir the mixture to incorporate the rhubarb and the spinach. Stir in the spice mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

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