Desserts/ Summer

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Lemon Verbena

strawberry rhubarb compote in a blue bowl with a silver spoon on a white marble top

Don’t be put off by the word “compote,” which sounds like something your grandma’s evil twin cooks in a cauldron. This compote is comprised of fresh strawberries and fresh rhubarb, cooked into a warm or cold sweet-tart pudding you will inhale because slurping is too slow.

I suggest eating this compote with a spoon. Top it with dairy-free whipped coconut cream. You can use it as a pie filling too, which is scrumptious. Top that pie with dairy-free whipped cream as well. It makes a nice warm-weather dessert you keep in the fridge until just before serving.

Rhubarb stalks appear in the farmer’s markets in late May. They disappear a month or so later. Sometimes you’ll find them as late as August (depending on your climate), but in my area, they’re well gone by Labor Day, and usually long before then.

Buy the stalks when they are a deep, rich rosy red color. They keep in the fridge for a few weeks, but get rubbery if you don’t use them right away. Not to fear, they’re still OK.

You need a sweetener with rhubarb, which alone is extremely sour. Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic combination. Adding very sweet strawberries, plus some sweetener (I use stevia) to the rhubarb creates a sweet-tart delicious dish.

Pour this compote over dairy-free ice cream for a refreshing summer-only treat. Freeze it if you dare, but it loses its distinct flavor after a short time. I’ve never had much success freezing anything containing rhubarb.

I grow lemon verbena in my garden, so I add it to lots of summer dishes. It adds a sweet, distinctly lemon flavor to this dish, adding an unexpected note to this summertime treat. Lemon basil works well too, but it’s less sweet, so you may need a little extra sweetener.

Springhouse Turtle Eats

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote with Lemon Verbena

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes

Delicious over ice cream or as a pie filling, this sweet-tart strawberry rhubarb compote is great all by itself.


  • 4-5 stalks rhubarb (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1" chunks
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon verbena (or lemon basil or mint), plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons xylitol or erythritol
  • 2 tablespoons monkfruit sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia
  • Whipped coconut cream (recipe on



In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring the rhubarb and water to a boil.


Turn down the heat to a low simmer and stir in the sweeteners.


Cover and simmer the rhubarb for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is very soft. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if necessary.


Stir in the strawberries and lemon verbena, cover and simmer for 2 minutes.


Remove from heat, and allow to cool.


Ladle into bowls and serve with whipped coconut cream.


Garnish with lemon verbena and strawberry slices.


This compote can be used to fill a cooked 9" pie crust. It's also great drizzled over dairy-free vanilla ice cream. If you don't have lemon verbena plant, you should. It will grow on a sunny windowsill or outdoors. Look in farmer's markets for a plant, or order plugs online from Johnny's Selected Seeds If you have a friend with a lemon verbena plant, summer is the perfect time to grow a new plant from a stem cutting. If you're in a cold climate (North of Zone 8), bring the plants indoors during the winter.

Fresh rhubarb should be a bright rosy red color. Cut it into 1″ chunks and cook in water and stevia.

chopped rhubarb in water in a stainless steel pan

Cooked rhubarb loses its bright color as it softens.

Fresh, sweet strawberries are a classic complement to the tart flavor of rhubarb.

Cook the strawberries to soften them, but don’t overcook or they’ll lose their color.

Serve the chilled compote on its own or pour it over vanilla ice cream. It’s also great as a pie filling or blended with ice into a smoothie.

strawberry rhubarb compote in a blue bowl with a silver spoon on a white marble top


Springhouse Turtle Eats


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