Rhubarb and Ginger Thickie

by sophie on May 28, 2007 · 15 comments

Post image for Rhubarb and Ginger Thickie

Breakfast is a meal that I expect to work hard for its money (nutritionally speaking that is!). I’m very attached to the idea that if I start off with a good healthy breakfast then the rest of the day (food and everything else) will magically fall into place. A fruit smoothie for breakfast is a very tempting idea but it doesn’t really do it for me in practice – my stomach starts looking round for its next snack far too soon (I’ve no idea how those people who live on black coffee until lunchtime cope). I’m confident now that it isn’t just me being greedy because one of the top purveyors of smoothies in the UK, Innocent, have come up with a clever solution to exactly this problem: the Breakfast Thickie. Fruit, honey and yogurt blended with a handful of oats to make something substantial enough to call itself a Breakfast. I’d happily buy an Innocent Thickie every day (I can’t even whinge about creating unnecessary packaging as they are in a fully compostable “eco-bottle”) but Innocent only make one flavour at the moment (Raspberry and Blueberry) which although lovely is starting to get a bit dull, not to mention expensive.

Rhubarb is the “in” fruit in the UK at moment (by virtue of being the only fruit actually growing in the country). I don’t think anybody eats rhubarb raw (I could be wrong?) and so my technique for rhubarb is to roast it in a big batch with a sprinkling of sugar and to munch through that gradually during the week. I’m into rhubarb for breakfast at the moment; tart rhubarb plus creamy porridge is fantastic (I’m even considering freezing a few batches ready for the Autumn). But then the weather got a bit warm for porridge hence my first attempt at making a thickie, with roasted rhubarb and little stem ginger for added wake-you-up feistiness.


Rhubarb and Ginger Thickie

I’m sure you could try many different fruits and flavourings for a thickie, and the great thing is that all of them will work equally hard. By the time you’ve finished a thickie you will:

  • have already had at least one of those five portions of fruit and veg (possibly closer to two)
  • have eaten a bone-friendly portion of calcium-rich but low-fat yogurt
  • feel happily full until late morning because of those low GI oats, even more so if you use low GI agave nectar instead of honey
  • be busily lowering your cholesterol levels, thanks again to those oats

I love rhubarb but for anybody reading who is like my other half and thinks that rhubarb is just a bit tart, you can sweeten the thickie with a bit more honey or a little agave nectar. Agave nectar is an ingredient I was introduced to by Heidi Swanson’s new book, Super Natural Cooking. It’s a little like honey (slightly runnier) but made from the Tequila Agave plant. No bees required so vegan-friendly, if you ever need a vegan alternative to honey for a recipe. It’s a bit of a health-food store ingredient and I would normally just use a dollop of honey but I like the idea of using agave nectar in this recipe because it is low GI like the oats, and so hopefully adds to the ability of the thickie to outlast its smoothie competitors until late morning and beyond! The other way of reducing the impact of the rhubarb is to loosen the texture of the thickie using milk rather than the orange juice suggested in the recipe.

Recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger Thickie

Serves 2 to 3

Before you start you will need to roast a batch of rhubarb (chopped into 2 inch pieces and sprinkled with sugar) at a moderate oven temperature for about 15 minutes. This is a leisurely task that you can do a day or a few days before and keep in the fridge, using some for the thickie and some for other things.

4 tablespoons of oats
5 tablespoons roasted rhubarb (cooled)
150ml fresh orange juice
1 ball of preserved stem ginger
300g low-fat organic plain yogurt
Honey or agave nectar to sweeten

Place the oats in a blender, food processor or smoothie maker and blitz until they are in small pieces (porridge oat texture).

Add the rhubarb and ginger and blitz again, then the yogurt.

At this stage it is a case of adjusting the thickie to personal preference. Add orange juice (or milk) until it is just sloppy enough to be able to drink out of a glass, then sweeten to taste.

If you have any left you can make it look pretty by drizzling over a little bit of the pink rhubarb juices.

Leave a Comment

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Pille May 28, 2007 at 19:01

I’ve enjoyed rhubarb in ten different ways this summer, but haven’t had a thickie yet, nor roasted rhubarb to start with. Need to change that soon – the thickie looks delicious!

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Meeta May 28, 2007 at 19:54

A thickie is such a great idea for breakfast. I am not a huge rhubarb fan,but I’d be giving this with a few berries. Thanks for a great post!

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kathryn May 28, 2007 at 23:29

What a lovely idea and I do like the name! Rhubarb is just coming into season here in Australia – but I’m thinking it would go well with lots of fruits. Definitely a lot more sustaining than a straight smoothie. Thanks.

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Lucy May 31, 2007 at 23:38

Sophie, what a great use of rhubarb. I love it in the morning, perhaps even more so than in a crumble. Have only just discovered agave syrup too. It’s quite a lovely, subtle flavour, much less cloying than honey.

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Lucy June 1, 2007 at 04:04

Sophie, I love rhubarb for breakfast. More so even than in a crumble. I’ve only just discovered agave syrup too – a much less cloying flavour than honey.

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johanna June 7, 2007 at 15:17

i try not to do yoghurt, but i love rhubarb! i usually make my porridge with orange juice, but i think the rhubarb might just be juicy enough if left to macerate with a bit of sugar overnight… will be experimenting with rhubarb in my breakfast, too!

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Significant Other June 10, 2007 at 21:31

Hi Sophie,
As a man with no nutritional direction (my wife works away from home a lot), I found your site really useful. I’ll be sure to try this thickie as soon as I can get my hands on some rhubarb.
Can’t wait for my wife to get back so I can share this with her!

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Wendy June 11, 2007 at 20:23

A great idea. I love rhubarb but I’ve always felt there’s only so much you can do with it. Have just been proved wrong.

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Tammy July 10, 2007 at 11:43

This is delightful and fresh!! Love the taste that the ginger gives it. I left out the honey because I like things a little on the TART side..I’ll be making this frequently!
Thanks for a great recipe.

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Alanna @ A Veggie Venture May 8, 2008 at 13:54

Aii yes, it’s like Swiss Muesli in a glass, perhaps heavier on the yogurt, lighter on the oats. You could use rhubarb sauce too, which cooks up in just a few minutes. Great idea –

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Catherine February 22, 2009 at 20:11

you mention Agave syrup. How about grape or mulberry molasses (both available from middle eastern stores)? the bottles I have don’t seem to have added sugar and flow like very runny honey so i’ve started using these sometimes. Does anyone know if this is a good/bad thing? The guy I buy them from thinks its very strange to put them on porridge.

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Sophie February 26, 2009 at 13:04

Hi Catherine,
This is a very good question. From a nutritional point of view, when you are only using a tiny amount of sweetener in a recipe it doesn’t matter overly what type you use. The big health issue with ordinary sugars and also natural sweeteners like agave, honey and molasses is that they are effectively “empty calories” in terms of providing nutrients other than pure energy. Though I have also mentioned using agave nectar for its low GI properties, this really doesn’t matter too much because GI of the major ingredients (e.g the oat and yogurt) is much more important.
In a recipe like this one where there are plenty of other ingredients present in much larger quantities, the sweetener that you choose only makes a very small contribution to the nutrition and GI of the recipe. So I would carry on with the grape and mulberry molasses if you enjoy them, but watch how much you add. As a guide, I usually add about a teaspoon of agave nectar or honey for a two person batch.

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Nicole July 24, 2010 at 19:41

I often roast or boil my rhubarb down, too.. sometimes with other fruits as well. And you certainly CAN eat rhubarb raw… when I was a child, we used to munch on fresh rhubarb from the garden dipped in sugar with each bite… very indulgent but quite a treat :)

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