The late spring crop of kohlrabi has been popping up at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market in shades of green and purple. Kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family (Brassicas) and close friends with kale. The cruciferous vegetable is nicknamed ‘space cabbage’ for its alien-looking appearance with leafy stalks sprouting from the globe (or bulb) in no particular arrangement. The kohlrabi bulb grows aboveground and is both a late spring and fall crop.
Green or purple, the inside flesh is white and nutrient dense with iron, calcium, fiber, potassium and vitamins A, B, C. Kohlrabi literally means cabbage-turnip in German. And sure, the flavor is mildly cabbage-turnip-esque, but there are also similarities to radish, apple and broccoli. The kohlrabi available from Savoie Organic Farm reminded me of an Asian pear – surprisingly crisp and gently sweet.
The entire kohlrabi bulb and leafy stalks are edible and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. The outer skin will add texture and color to any dish if you choose not to peel it away as some recipes suggest. The very chewy and slightly bitter leafy stalks should be treated as kale or collard greens. You may slice, shred or julienne (matchstick cut) kohlrabi for gratin and fritters, or even stuff the bulb. I made two different salads with the bulb and also sautéed the greens. For an effortless approach, toss a handful of kohlrabi matchsticks into any salad.
kohlrabi with white beans and horseradish
½ cup homemade mayonnaise
½ cup finely diced red onions
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons bottled horseradish
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar* (or substitute lemon juice)
1 teaspoon sugar*
5 cups julienned kohlrabi (about 3 medium-sized bulbs)
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
*I used homemade mayonnaise with a heavy hand of lemon juice and garlic, and therefore omitted the sherry vinegar. An additional ¼ teaspoon of sugar was needed after tasting.
Combine the dressing ingredients and mix. Taste and adjust to your liking.
30-minutes prior to serving, pour the dressing over the julienned kohlrabi and beans. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
kohlrabi snack for two
1 medium to large kohlrabi bulb, julienned (roughly 2 cups)
¼ teaspoon garlic, minced or finely grated, to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
1 7-ounce whole milk Greek yogurt (I used Fage Total 5%, strained)
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, roughly chopped
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil, for finishing
This recipe is not rulebound and may be adjusted to your taste.
Combine the julienned kohlrabi and minced garlic in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt over the kohlrabi and gently mix. Set aside for 5-10 minutes while making the dressing. The salt will draw out some moisture from the kohlrabi and help to flavor and thin the dressing later.
In a medium-sized bowl, start with 5-ounces Greek yogurt (roughly ¾ of the 7-ounce container). Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chopped mint and season with a pinch of salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Whisk all together and taste. The dressing will be on the thick side. You may adjust by adding more yogurt, lemon, mint or pepper. Hold on the salt since the kohlrabi was salted.
Scoop some of the dressing (about half) over the kohlrabi and gently stir to combine. Taste and add more dressing, or season as needed.
kohlrabi greens with pickled raisins
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup golden raisins
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound Kohlrabi greens with stalks, roughly chopped and blanched
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chopped roasted pistachios, as garnish
In a small sauce pan, combine the ingredients for pickled raisins. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and allow to cool.
Set a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil seems to lose viscosity, add the shallots and cook until translucent, not browned. Increase the heat slightly and add the garlic and kohlrabi greens all at once. Stir to coat the kohlrabi with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the greens are lightly wilted and tender to the bite.
Place the sautéed greens on a plate and garnish with pickled raisins and chopped pistachios.