Chinese Five Spice Rhubarb Chutney


With so much rhubarb, I am having to get creative, and busy, finding tasty eats and treats to make with it. Yesterday I set out to make Chinese Five Spice Rhubarb Chutney.

The rhubarb in the yard of the abandoned house down the way is growing crazy fast. I find myself raiding the cache daily. With so much rhubarb, I am having to get creative, and busy, finding tasty eats and treats to make with it. Yesterday I set out to make Rhubarb Chutney. And a success it was.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from my late Tutu Bee who made the best mango chutney north of the equator, and from my sister whose plum chutney is close to divine. I have the greatest admiration for these women, their culinary skill and all they have taught me.

Chutney is a savory condiment, with origins in India. It’s made of chopped fruit, vinegar, spices and sugar that is simmered down to a chunky spread. Traditionally it is served alongside curry dishes and meat. For me, there’s not much I don’t like it on. I serve it on crackers with a dollop of dairy-free Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese or chevre. I use it as a spread on my turkey sandwiches. And I bet it would be an interesting accompaniment to a scoop of cinnamon ice cream (say what?! well you’re getting a peek at how my brain works :)!

The addition of Chinese Five Spice gives this chutney a real twist. Traditionally, Chinese Five Spice is a sweet, warm, cool and spicy blend of fennel, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and peppercorns. Used in the right way and with the right foods, it’s magical.

I thought the making of chutney would be complicated—turns out, it’s not. It’s as easy as dumping a few ingredients into a saucepan and letting it simmer, baby, simmer. Enjoy!

Chinese Five Spice Rhubarb Chutney

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan

Makes: About 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time:  30-40 minutes


1/4 cup HONEY (I used Gluten-Free Easily’s homestead honey … thanks Ms. Shirley!)
1/4 cup APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (or balsamic or a mixture of both)
1 CINNAMON stick
2 teaspoons minced fresh GINGER
1 teaspoon finely grated LEMON PEEL
1/4 teaspoon SEA SALT
Dash CAYENNE PEPPER (optional)
3 cups 1″ cubed RHUBARB
1/4 medium ONION, minced
1/4-1/2 cup dried, unsweetened CHERRIES (or raisins or currants)


In medium pot, combine honey, sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick, ginger, lemon peel, five spice, salt and cayenne. Bring to gentle simmer. Add remaining ingredients and cook down until thick and chunky—about 30-40 minutes over medium low heat, stirring frequently.

Store in a jar in refrigerator. Keeps for about a week. Chutney may be preserved as you would any jam or jelly.


Using all coconut sugar or all honey works just as well. The coconut sugar adds a richer color as does using part balsamic vinegar.

Got rhubarb? Lots of it? Chop stalks into cubes (not the leaves, they are toxic), toss into a pot with a splash of water, simmer down 10-15 minutes (or until soft). Scoop rhubarb into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, pop the cubes out and store in a Ziploc bag or glass container in the freezer. Now you can make rhubarb sauce, rhubarb compote, rhubarb syrup, rhubarb pie, most anything rhubarb—lickety split.

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Shirley @ gfe June 13, 2011 - 12:23 pm

Wow, what a presentation, Lexie! I'm still a rhubarb virgin. It's not something that my family ever ate and I don't see it much around here. Must try one day. Your bite-sized version would be a better bet for me. 😉


June Scott @ Inspired by... June 13, 2011 - 2:33 pm

We always grew rhubarb when we lived in VT, haven't had much luck here in Texas, which is a bummer because it's expense at the grocer! Dad always made strawberry-rhubarb pie – double yum! I've been looking for recipes to use the Chinese 5 spice with… this looks really yummy! Thanks for sharing!

Pam June 13, 2011 - 3:01 pm

This looks delish!

Jill Z June 13, 2011 - 10:50 pm

So, this is smelling amazing … yum! We have loads of rhubarb – remember the old "guys house"? Gina told me about your blog … fun to catch up!

cheryl June 13, 2011 - 11:56 pm

wow that looks amazing. I wish rhubarb grew well here–it's a bit too hot, and this summer, WAY too hot.

Lexie June 14, 2011 - 12:23 am

Jill! So so great to hear from you! Can you believe we still have not made it back to Seattle for a visit since leaving … well I take that back I was in Fremont for 2 days last summer but it was jam packed. Anyway. Of course I remember all the good stuff those guys had growing. Only T knew what to do with it. You got a good man : ) And those peaches? Still got the peach tree. The first year we were together I made B a blueberry and peach cobbler with peaches from that very tree : ) I hear you have it all fixed up real nice now. It was in need of Jill's touch, for sure, ha! So glad you dropped in … come back now y'all : )


Neighbor :) June 14, 2011 - 2:52 am

Lets make some and can it!!! So delish might I add. Makes my mouth water thinking about it

Kim(Cook It Allergy Free) June 15, 2011 - 5:11 pm

So I grew up loving chutney!! My grandma made it all of the time – apple. mango, rhubarb! I am totally going to try this because I am one of those rare ones that just really loves rhubarb!! And Lex, your photo is gorgeous!! That looks like an amazing appetizer!!!

Jeanette June 22, 2011 - 11:01 am

Lexie, what a great idea – you're so lucky to have rhubarb growing just down the road! Such a pretty presentation too!

Jim October 8, 2011 - 10:53 pm

The presentation is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately I don't think the ingredients would agree with me. But it amazes me how you come up with these.

Lexie October 9, 2011 - 4:18 am

Hi Jim … yeah, definitely not ACD Stage 1 or 2 or maybe even not 3. But good nonetheless : ) We are giving the Low Oxalate Diet a try and so that rules out Rhubarb and Cinnamon and … well more restrictions. But one day I WILL make this again : )



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