CSA Veggie of the Week: Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi-Apple Slaw (Photo: Alanna Kellogg, A Veggie Venture)

Last year’s CSA experience marked the first time I’d laid eyes on a kohlrabi, let alone had to figure out how to cook it. It’s oddly shaped, somewhere between the size of a tennis ball and a softball with long, leafy tentacles—it’s kind of odd all around. But once you get past its looks, the vegetable actually is pretty cool, with crunch similar to a not-quite-ripe pear and a flavor on the taste continuum between tart and sweet.

Local Harvest, the searchable database I mentioned in last week’s post, has a great explanation for which parts of this cabbage-family vegetable you can eat: “Both the leaves and swollen underground stem are edible,

Photo: Blurdom/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

specially the stem which can be green, white, or purple. Its flavor is milder than a turnip’s. If young and tender they may be eaten raw, very thinly sliced.” Local Harvest also suggests adding it to salad and stir fry, or snacking on it with cheese.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember how we used up last year’s kohlrabi (we got green ones, not the beautiful purple varietal). This year, we made a refreshing kohlrabi-apple slaw (pictured up top) from the site A Veggie Venture, whose tagline “Veggie Inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini” really hits the mark. The slaw was, in a word, awesome. It only requires eight ingredients total, many of which likely already stock your kitchen shelves.

The real key here, we discovered, was to use a mandolin to cut up the kohlrabi and apple into thin matchsticks. You can prep ahead of time, but wait on the apple until just before adding the dressing (the lemon juice in it prevents browning). We made ours a day ahead; the vegetable and fruit both stayed crunchy and delicious. It was a tasty, refreshing addition to a summer BBQ.

Here’s the link to the slaw again, plus a few other recipe ideas for kohlrabi. We haven’t tried them yet, but they all look great:

Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw with Creamy Coleslaw Dressing, A Veggie Venture
Roasted Kohlrabi, A Veggie Venture
Kohlrabi Risotto, The New York Times
Kohlrabi Home Fries, The New York Times
Kohlrabi Fritters with Herbs, My Conscious Eating

Next time you get to take home this alien-looking vegetable in your CSA share, be not afraid. Instead, embark on a new culinary adventure with it. Your stomach won’t be sorry. Next week: cabbage and a recipe from Mark Bittman.

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