What the Heck is a Kohlrabi?

As promised, tonight’s post will feature the Kohlrabi. In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t actually enjoy the final product of my kohlrabi experiment, but I think it’s still worth posting.

I had never seen this vegetable before, nor had I ever heard of it. As I perused the internet, I was able to find various sites to help me figure out what it is, and how to prepare it. And on numerous occasions, I saw articles and posts referencing the kohlrabi as the “spaceship” vegetable. And once you cut off the leafy greens and stems, I think it’s a fairly accurate description.

Kohlrabi is actually in the cabbage family.  Once peeled and destemed, it looks almost like a skinless apple, minus the core. Nutritionally, one cup of Kohlrabi (which is about what I ended up with) is 36 calories. One serving also contains Thiamin, Folate, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and is a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. And as is the case with most vegetables, it is low in fat.

Most of the recipes I found online used the kohlrabi in a sweetened slaw.  This should have been my first clue that I would not like the end result, as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  However, the slaw recipes called for green apples and kohlrabi, both of which I had in my fridge.  I based my slaw on this recipe, and it wasn’t until I was slicing my veggies did I realize it actually called for 3 kohlrabi.  Not having 3 on hand, I decided to see if jicama would be an adequate replacement.  I bought the jicama on a whim at Whole Foods the other day, and it is another veggie I have never worked with. For those unfamiliar with the jicama, it is in fact a root vegetable.  It is often compared to the apple in texture and consistency, however, it is far less sweet. It is a great option for a low calorie crunchy snack or salad topping.

Kohlrabi Slaw

Ingredients:

  •  1/4 c coconut milk
  • 1 T tahini
  • Juice and Zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 T whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 T chopped mint
  • 1/2 t maple  syrup (I was out of agave)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 kohlrabi shredded
  • 2 granny smith apples – shredded
  • 1 jicama – shredded

The recipe itself was very easy. Basically combine all ingredients, except the veggies, by whisking in a bowl.  Shred your vegetables with a grater (you can slice with a mandolin, or hand chop as well) and throw into the bowl. Stir until well mixed, and chill.

I love a good slaw, so I had high hopes for this one. But something about the dressing just didn’t taste right to me.  Although, considering I’ve never cooked with kohlrabi or jicama, I can’t exactly say for sure what the actual culprit was.  The dressing was too sweet, and the whole grain mustard was too strong. You probably should use regular dijion mustard, sans whole grains. But it’s all I had in the fridge. Next time I work with kohlrabi, I think I’ll try a more savory sauce, perhaps with an Asian influence.

Also, for the life of me, I could not get a picture that actually looked like slaw, as opposed to mashed potatoes, no matter what angle I shot from.

All in all, a good try.  You know I hate wasting food, so I served it along side my bbq tofu wrap and bell pepper slices for dinner tonight.  And actually, it was an OK compliment to the dish, and tasted better after one night of refrigeration.

There was a time when recipe flops would sort of devastate me. I hated the wasted food, wasted money, and as a perfectionist, I hated “failing.”  But really, how are you ever going to know what you do and do not like in the kitchen if you don’t try.

I haven’t proposed homework for sometime, so I think we’re long overdue. This week, I challenge all of you to go to your grocery store or farmers’ market and purchase a vegetable you have never cooked with before.  Bonus points if it’s a vegetable you’ve never heard of.

Swing back to this post and write a comment.  I’d love to hear what you come up with.

xo

Katie

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