Kohlrabi- The "Martian Vegetable"!
These wild vegetables look like alien creatures. And for many of us, they are just as alien in our kitchen repertoires.
Of course if you’re German, you probably were raised on kohlrabi!- and already know how tasty it is! It’s been a staple in German dishes, (and eastern European cuisine), for centuries. The name is even German: kohl means cabbage and rabi means turnip. However, it is very commonly used in Scandinavian, Indian and Chinese dishes as well. Some yummy pairing ideas: ginger, mustard, soy, garlic, curry, cumin and chili peppers, horseradish.
I think of kohlrabi as something like a soft, sweet broccoli stem. They are an excellent substitute for radishes too. Kohlrabi is a brassica super food –like cabbage, broccoli, and kale. It has more vitamin C than oranges, is very high in B vitamins, fiber and minerals. It has more carbs than most veggies, so this low-cal snack will really hold your hunger at bay.
If the leaves are attached, remove, and wrap in a barely damp paper or cloth towel and store separately in the refrigerator (for a couple of days) in a loose plastic bag or storage container. Leaves are especially nutritious, and delectable when cooked. Simply saute in a little olive oil and garlic. They’re wonderfully mild; but just like with kale, remove the leaves from stems before cooking. Chop the stems into salads or cooked dishes.
Keep slightly humid, but dry in the refrigerator.
One easy method is to throw a couple of crumpled, damp paper towels into a storage bag or container with the kohlrabi.
Will keep for a couple of weeks, but the older kohlrabi gets, the woodier it becomes.
Peeling isn’t always necessary, but you may prefer to do so.
It’s amazing raw! This is my favorite way to enjoy kohlrabi. Try it shaved, sliced or cut into matchsticks like radishes. Excellent shredded into any salad or slaw, either alone or combined with other greens, kale ribbons or shredded cabbage. Delicious with a mustard vinaigrette. Great in a taco or eggroll. Cut into sticks, chips or wedges and eat as a raw snack with or without a dip. Super spiralizing veggie; makes a fabulous salad bowl.
Shredded kohlrabi is also really good in a baked, creamy gratin. Another very simple, easy and tasty way to enjoy is to cook (either steam or quick-saute), then toss with a little butter and maybe a dash of thyme and/or splash of lemon juice. Excellent in a stir fry.
Roast, sauté or steam kohlrabi chunks or wedges and toss with a little olive oil and garlic; very good in soups and stir fry recipes.
Cooking kohrabi takes away just a bit of its sweetness- still very delicate and mild, but with a hint of radish taste, adding a real flavor-boost advantage.
Note: kohlrabi has a slightly higher water content. If you’re persnickety about your salad dressing not getting watery, place shredded kohlrabi in a strainer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow to stand a few minutes, then gently squeeze out excess moisture.
Liz Talley, Urban Graze
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