7 August 2015

Kohlrabi slaw

In the last few years, I have discovered kohlrabi - a particularly odd looking vegetable. It has a relatively mild flavour raw, like a tart apple with a hint of cabbage. Although at first-glance kohlrabi appears to be a root vegetable, the bit one eats is in fact the swollen base of the stem. It is a member of the brassica family, but lacks the funkiness or pepperiness that most other brassicas have raw. It is also lovely cooked, where it takes on a fuller creamy flavour, with a hint of artichoke. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten like spring greens.


Growing kohlrabi

This year I decided to have a go at growing kohlrabi. I bought a variety called Superschmelz from the Organic Gardening Catalogue. There seems to be a Germanic theme in the names of kohlrabi varieties - 'kohlrabi' means 'turnip cabbage' in German. I sowed the seeds straight into the ground in May. They can be sown as early as March, as they will withstand the odd late frost. In late June, I thinned out the plants to about 10 inches apart. The plants can be harvested once they are about the size of a cricket ball, and I picked the first one in early August. They can be left in the ground until needed, but will get woody if left for too long. They can survive light frosts in late autumn, but should be harvested before winter really kicks in.

kohlrabi plants

Kohlrabi slaw

This is a very simple recipe, more really of a suggestion. It makes a great accompaniment to a barbecue, or addition to a mezze spread. Make it immediately before serving if you can, as the flavour of the kohlrabi is best when freshly cut. The dressing is fairly light, again so that the flavour of the kohlrabi comes through. No need for heavy mayonnaise or salad cream here!


1 kohlrabi
1 small bunch chervil
1 tbsp capers
half lemon
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Peel away the skin from the kohlrabi and any woody areas immediately under the skin. Either cut the kohlrabi into fine strips, or grate it coarsely using a food processor.

Chop the chervil, and add to the kohlrabi along with the capers. Add a grind of salt and pepper, a small squeeze of lemon juice (not too much though), and a slug of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice or oil if needed.

Stir and serve.

kohlrabi slaw

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