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I was at the store with my sister a few months ago and saw a giant leafy funny looking plant that I instantly knew I wanted to try. I looked at the sign and saw it was called kohlrabi, unfortunately it was more expensive than I wanted to pay for a vegetable I knew nothing about. So I put aside my excitement, but made a memo in my Treo to learn more about kohlrabi. I added it to my ingredients to try list and let it drift off into my “one day I’ll try it” category. Then came last week Monday; I was picking up our CSA, talking to my friend Becky as she was snipping lettuce for me, then she leaned over looked at a plant and said “Do you cook kohlrabi?” It was like she had just asked if I wanted to win the lottery, a kohlrabi could be mine, already paid for, handed to me like a gift. “Yes!” I said a little too eagerly, then explained “Even if I haven’t before, I do, I’ll cook anything!” “It’s a little small, but you can have one today if you want.”
She snipped off the leaves, and placed the kohlrabi bulb in a bag with my greens. The instant I got home I took it out of the bag and began photographing it like a new parent. My little alien looking vegetable baby was home, and I had great plans for it. I wasn’t sure what my plans were, but I lovingly washed the dirt off, then carefully snipped off a stalk and began taking little tiny bites to discover kohlrabi for myself. It was crisp and juicy like biting into a firm apple, but the taste was more like the stem of broccoli, only slightly sweeter. To me, it tasted of excitement and adventure. I decided that rather than looking for inspiration online, I would simply build a recipe around the taste of the kohlrabi, so I went with the idea of a salad or slaw. I tried grating the kohlrabi but that didn’t work, so used my mandolin to make paper thin slices.
I loved the crunch of the kohlrabi and thought that I wanted to incorporate chunks of apples to add that to the salad since the kohlrabi was sliced so thinly. I also wanted to bring out the sweetness and incorporated more of my CSA bounty by including some shelled snow peas in the mix. For a different kind of crunch, because I LOVE multiple textures in my food, I threw in some sunflower seeds (unsalted). Finally, for a savory touch, I crumbled up a couple slices of bacon, because who doesn’t love bacon?!
I really wanted the freshness of the salad ingredients to shine through, and not be drowned or overpowered by a dressing. I wanted something rich and tangy (but not mayonnaise), so I mixed some buttermilk, cider vinegar and honey until I had a perfect balance. I only used about half of the dressing to keep it light, but the leftovers are great for dipping vegetables, using in cole slaw or spreading on apple slices. I will DEFINITELY make this again, it’s a perfect summery snack and made me a big fan of kohlrabi. If you want great ideas from a variety of people on how to use your CSA, click on the Cooking Away My CSA badge at the top!
makes 1/2 cup
1 small kohlrabi bulb
1/4 cup chopped Fuji apple
10 snow peas
1 TBS sunflower seeds (shelled)
2 slices bacon
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 TBS honey
Slice the kohlrabi paper thin with a mandolin and mix with chopped apple. Shell the snow peas (I just eat the shell!) and toss them in along with the sunflower seeds. Crumble the bacon finely and mix it in. Refrigerate while making the dressing.
Mix vinegar into the cream and let it sit out for 10 minutes until thick. Add honey and mix well. Add the dressing to the salad a little bit at a time until thinly coated.
Approximate Cost/serving: I’ve seen kohlrabi in the store for $2-4 but as part of my CSA it was only pennies. This snack really only cost me 15 cents!
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: For vegetarian you can omit the bacon, it is completely gluten free.
I decided to try the recipe again with the dressing I had left over and two kohlrabies. I threw in some cranberries and julienned the apples and kohlrabi instead of chopping and slicing. Oh man was it good. I got more crunch from the apple and kohlrabi, and a nice chewiness from the cranberries. This is so fun to play with!
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