Rhubarb and Pistachios over Thick Yogurt

Rhubarb and pistachios over thick yogurt is exactly what it sounds like. Rich yogurt, crunchy pistachios, sweet honey, and tart rhubarb combine to make a gorgeous dessert, or even a decadent, yet healthy, breakfast.

A white bowl of rhubarb and pistachios over thick yogurt on a patterned tablecloth.

This strikingly colorful dessert pairs tart rhubarb with rich Greek-style yogurt and meaty pistachios. Use a light-colored honey that won’t dull the rhubarb’s bright hue. If you are using regular yogurt, start this recipe the night before so that it can strain overnight.–Louisa Shafia

Rhubarb and Pistachios over Thick Yogurt FAQs

What can I use in place of rose water?

The good news is that if rose water isn’t something you typically have on hand, you can use other ingredients that are likely in your pantry or cabinets. Try a bit of lemon juice, orange water, vanilla extract, or cinnamon as substitutes. Each will nuance your recipe in different ways, but they’ll all be tasty.

Does cardamom need to be shelled?

Yes. In some recipes, the cardamom shells can be used to season sauces or spice mixes while cooking, but those are always removed prior to serving. The seeds, on the other hand, can be ground and used in a myriad of fantastic recipes, such as this one. Just don’t skip using the cardamom. It’s delicious.

LC Harnessing Rhubarb Note

A show of hands, er, comments please. How many of you have ever attempted to harness rhubarb’s tartness in a savory, rather than a sweet, recipe?

Rhubarb and Pistachios over Thick Yogurt

A white bowl of rhubarb and pistachios over thick yogurt on a patterned tablecloth.
I'm such a fan of rhubarb that I featured the rosy stalks on the cover of my seasonal cookbook, Lucid Food, which combines my locavore tendencies with my Persian ancestry. Try this simple recipe for an exotic alternative to the classic rhubarb pie.

Prep 5 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 20 minutes
4 servings
305 kcal
5 / 2 votes
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  • 4 stalks rhubarb ends and leaves trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup light-colored honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 2 cups Greek-style yogurt, or 4 cups regular yogurt drained overnight (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios coarsely chopped


  • Cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and place in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. When the rhubarb starts to soften, after about 5 minutes, stir in the cardamom, nutmeg, and salt. Break up any large pieces of rhubarb with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer, covered, until the rhubarb is completely softened, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and vanilla extract. Let cool.
  • Just before serving, stir the rose water into the rhubarb. Place 1/2 cup of yogurt in each bowl and top with a few tablespoons of the rhubarb. Scatter a few tablespoons of pistachios over the top.
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If you’re draining yogurt, you’ll need to start the night before you serve it. To convert 1 cup of regular yogurt to 1/2 cup of thick Greek-style yogurt, set a a strainer over a bowl and line it with a clean, lint-free dish towel or a coffee filter and pour in 1 cup of yogurt. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, discard the liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. Scrape the thickened yogurt from the strainer into a serving bowl(s).

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 305kcal (15%)Carbohydrates: 48g (16%)Protein: 8g (16%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mg (5%)Sodium: 60mg (3%)Potassium: 521mg (15%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 42g (47%)Vitamin A: 237IU (5%)Vitamin C: 6mg (7%)Calcium: 212mg (21%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I woke up one Saturday morning and noticed that my rhubarb plant was begging to be used. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I also had a bottle of rose water in the pantry that had never been opened, and I was curious as to the flavor combination. I followed the recipe exactly. I make my own yogurt, and I drained it overnight to allow the whey to drain. The next day I added the rose water to the rhubarb mixture (I used four big stalks) just before serving, as instructed, and I used salted pistachios. The combo of sweet, tart, creamy, and salty is absolutely delicious! I am putting this rhubarb recipe in my list of rhubarb favorites! (And if anyone is curious—the addition of rosewater is amazing!)

Originally published April 23, 2010


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    Despite little freezer space, I couldn’t be happier right about now that I put away rhubarb last summer and still have some in the freezer! When I searched Greek yogurt and this came up, I was delighted with the coincidental airport purchase I made yesterday while stranded overnight of a bag of pistachios, so I think I have everything needed to bring this to fruition one day this week!

  2. 5 stars
    Yes. I was thinking of walnut oil. Hmmm. One of my rules is I do not buy something I don’t have and haven’t used, just because of a recipe. Since this cheese of mine is quite thick, like quark or ricotta, a beautiful plate might work as well, with the pistachios finely ground and sprinkled on top. For this, no rhubarb. Anyway, what was in the stores here is not very good yet. I will try it your way in about a month. Thank you. Great to see unique suggestions here.

  3. Me again. I have a very thick 4 inch diameter ‘piece’ of yogurt cheese. I’d like to serve it as a spread for crackers, but first shape it into a small mould. Have you done this? Should I oil the mould; what with?

    1. Hi Sharon! I’ve served yogurt cheese as a spread, but I admit I haven’t shaped it with a mold. I think a very light coat of oil is a smart idea. Stick with something exceptionally mild, if not almost flavorless, such as grapeseed or sunflower or avocado or safflower oil.

  4. Throw away the whey (hehe)? Nevah!

    Use it in bechamel sauce, to cook your oats.

    Thank you for this lovely recipe. Yogurt cheesing as I speak.

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