This intriguing root veggie caught my eye at the winter Farmer’s Market: bright green spheres, still damp and dirty from storage, with concentric, pale ridges in the skin. The name was somewhat familiar but I had never tried it before: kohlrabi.
When I took some home and did a little a research I learned that kohlrabi is a member of the turnip family, with a taste and texture like broccoli stems. And sure enough when I peeled, cubed and roasted the kohlrabi (my favorite way to cook up veggies!) a faint broccoli taste was what I got.
I thought about cooking down and puréeing the kohlrabi into a creamy soup, but then my friend Lisa mentioned that her family likes to grate it into salads, to add crunch and flavor.
Ah yes, there was an idea… a fresh, crispy winter salad. That seemed like just the ticket, and a nice change-up from all the baking, roasting and mashing I had been doing of late!
This crunchy, tangy slaw is the result.
Equal amounts of kohlrabi and purple cabbage make the base of this slaw, along with carrots, a little celery root and a few ribbons of scallion. A tangy-sweet dressing of lemon, maple and pepper bring the whole slaw together.
It has a lovely texture, bite and taste! Not to mention color: if you have access to colorful carrots at your local store, farmers market or farm share, this is a great dish in which to use them.
I used a few, hefty Dragon Carrots in mine. Though I was sad to see the brilliant ruby color disappear when I peeled the carrots, I found that underneath was a dazzling shade of orange and in the center pale yellow. Once cut into matchsticks the carrots looked beautiful in the slaw. If you only have access to standard carrots, they will still perk up your slaw. And be sure to use the purple cabbage. It’s nice to have a burst of color in your dish in the middle of winter!
Colorful Kohlrabi Slaw with Lemon-Maple Dressing
- 1-1/2 pounds purple cabbage
- 1-1/2 pounds kohlrabi
- 3/4 pound fresh carrots
- 1/4 pound fresh celery root (celeriac)
- 2 fresh scallions
- 1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (like canola)
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 3 tablespoons Vermont dark maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Prepare the vegetables:
Peel away the loose outer leaves of the purple cabbage. Cut the head in half and cut out the core. With the cut side of the cabbage down on the cutting board, make thin slices down through the cabbage to cut it into long shreds. Place the shredded cabbage into a very large bowl.
Slice the ends off the kohlrabi and use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife to peel them. Cut each bulb in half. Lay them cut side down on the cutting board and slice into thin slices. Make a stack of 2-3 slices and cut them lengthwise into matchstick-sized pieces. Add them to the bowl.
Peel the carrots and cut the tops and tips from them. Slice the carrots in half lengthwise. Lay them cut side down and slice them lengthwise into long planks. Make a stack of 2-3 planks and cut them lengthwise into matchstick-sized pieces. Add them to the bowl with the cabbage and kohlrabi.
Cut off the ends of the celery root and use the vegetable peeler to peel the skin away. Cut the celery root into matchstick-sized pieces following the same method as above for the carrots and kohlrabi. Add the celery root to the bowl. Toss everything in the bowl together until the different veggies are well mixed.
Cut off the ragged tips of the scallions and also the white ends and thicker light green parts. Pull the tip of your knife down the length of the remaining dark green stem of the scallion to slice it lengthwise: continue to make these cuts to create long, sometimes curling strands of scallions. Set these aside.
Make the dressing:
Into a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid place the oil, lemon juice, sour cream, VT maple syrup, vinegar, pepper and salt. Put the cover on the jar and shake it well, until the dressing is really blended and smooth.
Pour this dressing over the veggies in the bowl. Use a fork to toss the slaw until all of the vegetables are well coated with the dressing. Allow the slaw to sit for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Place portions of the slaw into serving dishes and garnish each with a few strands of scallion greens. Makes about 10 cups.
Note: Slicing the kohlrabi, carrots and celery root into matchstick-sized pieces can take some time, but when cut this way the vegetables give heft and a really nice crunch to the salad. To save time, you could instead use a vegetable peeler to peel off long, thinner slices of these vegetables. Since they will be thinner, the slaw may have a little less crunch to it.
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