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kohlrabi salad

I grew up watching a steady diet of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Wars movie marathons. I have seen every Star Trek movie ever made but somehow managed to never watch A Christmas Story. Doctor Who is on any time I can’t find something new and interesting to watch on TV. And although I might be the only nerd who doesn’t think that Firefly was the greatest TV show ever, I am still a pretty huge sci-fi nerd.

Something about all that traveling to new worlds. Meeting new people. Eating new food.

The first time I saw kohlrabi, I was sure I was seeing a vegetable right out of a sci-fi movie. There was this weird spindly vegetable at the farmers market. I had been exploring sweet corn, berries and local chicken when I first noticed it. I saw this globe with green tentacles cut short and people passing right over it reaching for cucumbers that were perfect for dill pickles. I lived on a college campus with research farms – who knew what kind of genetic splicing might have found its way to the locals. Or what sort of alien life they had found…

Image via Gerwin Sturm on Flickr. (Licensed via Creative Commons)
Image via Gerwin Sturm on Flickr. (Licensed via Creative Commons)

It was cheap, so I bought some. The next week, it was cheap again, so I bought some more. That weird alien vegetable started to be a staple in my kitchen. It was always abundant and affordable at the local farmer’s market, and since the kohlrabi had a flavor similar to jicama or a seedless cucumber, it was easy enough to eat.

Kohlrabi, a member of the same family as cabbage, brussles sprouts and kale, is a vegetable that has become one of my favorites, although I seriously believe that at least part of the reason I love it is its alien appearance. The name is German from words meaning cabbage and radish. A perennial vegetable, it is common at farmers markets because it is easy to grow, but I have had a harder time finding it in traditional grocery stores.

(This is here as proof that I eat vegetables. It might take them looking alien to entice me at first, but I come around eventually…)

gluten-free kohlrabi salad from frannycakes

Gluten-Free Kohlrabi Salad
Recipe Type: Side
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4
This recipe is adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and is a way to eat the vegetable I had never tried. It is a great way to try Kohlrabi if you have never eaten it before.
Ingredients
  • 3 medium kohlrabies (1 2/3 pounds or 750 grams in total)
  • 80 grams (1/3 cup) Greek yogurt
  • 70 grams (5 tbsp) sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • about 12 sprigs baby watercresss
  • salt and white pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel the kohlrabies, cut into 2/3-inch dice and put in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, mascarpone, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Add a healthy pinch of salt and a generous grind of pepper and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the dressing over the kohlrabi followed by the fresh and dried mint and half the watercress. Taste and add salt & pepper if needed.
  5. Gently stir and place in a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining watercress.
  6. Top with the remaining watercress
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