Cooking with Kohlrabi
By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN
From the Dietitian's Dish Blog Series
One of the more unique veggies we pulled out of our reusable CSA bag this past week was kohlrabi. Now if you have not been face-to-face with this root veggie before, I urge you to take a look as it is certainly peculiar. If you ask me, they slightly resemble those cute little green aliens from the first “Toy Story” movie. Thankfully they are just as much fun to cook with as they are to look at.
A single serving of this German turnip, about 1/2 cup, is nutrient rich, full of fiber, and packs more than your daily requirements of vitamin C. Because it comes from the cancer fighting family of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, it is safe to say that the health benefits are plenty.
Have you ever crunched on the stem of broccoli (if you haven’t you may find that you enjoy it more than the florets, please don’t toss those gorgeous stems!) or perhaps the heart of a cabbage? That taste is pretty close to how kohlrabi tastes raw – and its even better roasted. You can enjoy kohlrabi sliced fresh, sautéed with olive oil and lemon juice, breaded and baked, roasted, or in a delicious salad. I opted for the latter this week with a couple of slaws.
If you would like to try cooking with kohlrabi, yet are intimidated by this mysterious veggie, I promise you it is far easier to cook with than you would think! All you need to do is slice off the outer skin with a sharp knife and slice it into whatever size pieces your recipe calls for. If you find kohlrabi with the leafy stems still attached, don’t throw them away as you can cook those up just as you would spinach or kale. I might suggest sautéing them up with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and your favorite seasoning mix for a quick and simple side dish.Speaking of cooking, let's get back to those slaw dishes I mentioned earlier…
First, I made a very basic coleslaw recipe. All I did was sub in freshly shredded kohlrabi for half of the cabbage in our usual recipe. The kohlrabi was very easy to shred. I chose to use a standard grater, though you could easily use a food processor or simply finely slice it up with your knife. If you aren’t going to serve the slaw right away, I recommend using a larger cut as the finely shredded slaw will become soggier much more quickly.
Ever had a great broccoli stem coleslaw? Kohlrabi acts similarly, but adds an element of fun and adventure to the classic warm weather side dish.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
- 1 medium green cabbage, washed and shredded
- 2 large kohlrabi, washed, peeled, and shredded
- 2 carrots, washed and shredded
- Coleslaw dressing* (*Note: Coleslaw dressing is very easy to make, though if you are picking it up from the store click here http://litehousefoods.stores.yahoo.net/litecoleslaw.html for my favorite choice.)
- In a large bowl, combine veggies.
- Slowly add in your dressing while mixing well, until veggies are lightly coated.
Next, I decided to be a bit more adventurous by experimenting with Asian coleslaw. I found a variety of recipes for this slaw online and here you will find my own version which combines in aspects of several and was modified to include only the ingredients we already had available in our own kitchen.
I prefer serving this side dish alongside a fabulous meal of brown rice sushi rolls, though we also found that it pairs quite nicely as the filling for a wrap – adding a fun pop of flavor among other ingredients.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 2 carrots, washed, peeled and shredded
- 1 kohlrabi, washed, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 large cucumber, washed and shredded (peeled if not organic)
- 2 turnips
- ½ bunch of scallions (about 4 stems)
- 4 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- In a large bowl, combine veggies.
- Add vinegar, sugar, and salt.
- Allow mixture to stand for 10-20 minutes before draining off the liquid in the base of the bowl (to prevent soggy vegetables).
- Add the oils, toss, and serve!
As I only used the slaw as a topping for an already fabulous wrap, I served a dash more as a side inside of an avocado boat. See that? Healthy food can look good too :)
What are you cooking up this Spring?