Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What To Do with Kohlrabi?

Are you familiar with kohlrabi? I sure am not. I have this thing, though, where if I see a new vegetable I've never tried, I just have to pick it up. I can't pass it by. It nags at me when it's unfamiliar, it whispers "why don't you just take me home and figure out what to do with me later". Usually this works in my favor, like with yummy long beans or or bitter-sweet broccoli raab. Sometimes I just don't like it, like with Chinese spinach, although that's rare. So you can imagine that these funny looking veggies were so compelling, with their knobby bases and startling color. I recognized the name kohlrabi, but I didn't even know what they were - root vegetable, or something else? (Turns out they're a brassica - related to cabbage and broccoli - and not a root vegetable.)

I took them home and looked for some recipes. I didn't find much, though I did find several people commenting that they grew up eating them raw. Well, that's a start, so with a sharp knife I carefully topped the long stalks, cut off the bottom, and peeled the outside. I cut a sliver, and was surprised. It was crisp and watery, like jicama or a raw potato. It was mild in flavor, a little bit sweet, a little bit nutty. Another taste. A little like a cross between a broccoli stem, a cabbage, and an apple. Another taste. Truth be told, I was no longer sampling, just eating. It was really tasty!

Thinking back to the rest of my farmer's market haul, I remembered some fresh, baby, Walla Walla onions. These are so sweet and mild, I can eat them raw no problem, and I'm usually not a fan of a lot of raw onion. I sliced one up, and into a bowl it went with the kohlrabi. To temper the crispness of the salad with a little creaminess (and add a little much-needed color), I tossed in some thinly sliced avocado, drizzled with a little sherry vinegar, a good quality olive oil, salt and pepper, and in 5 minutes I had a really delicious, crisp, simple veggie side. It was so good, I made it again a few days later, this time with the addition of a little corn. My husband proclaimed he liked the corn version best, but I think both are good.

Kohlrabi Salad with Sweet Onions and Avocado
1.5 cups thinly sliced kohlrabi, peeled and cut into strips
1/2 cup thinly sliced Walla Walla salad onions, or very sweet, mild onion
1/2 cup avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn (optional)
2 TB good quality olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Toss kohlrabi, onions, and corn (if using) with olive oil and sherry vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Add avocado and toss gently. Serve immediately.


  1. Great post! I came over from Tastespotting because I wanted to know what to do with these :) I have the same mild obsession, of taking home things I don't know what to do with, but never been game to try kohlrahbi until now. Cheers.

  2. Hi shaz, always nice to know there are others out there bringing home mystery ingredients! I'd love to hear what you think of kohlrabi after you pick some up.

  3. Cool! I peered at the kohlrabi yesterday at the market, but now I know what to do with it!