Monday, 25 February 2013

Kohlrabi: sputnik on a plate

British supermarkets are not very adventurous when it comes to vegetables. Only once, a few years ago, our local Waitrose shyly put a few kohlrabis on display. When I saw them, I put a couple of these alien-looking veggies in the shopping basket, and the girl at the checkout was totally perplexed as to what she had in her hands. Once I left the shop, I checked the receipt to find out that I was charged for the "avocado".

So, what is a kohlrabi? It is also known as the German turnip, and is in fact a cultivar of cabbage.
If you ever chomped on the cabbage heart (I loved them as a kid, my Dad would always give it to me after slicing the cabbage for the soup), it has the same crunchy fresh taste, milder than the cabbage. A bit like a juicy baby turnip which you can eat raw. Or cook if you prefer.

Kohlrabi is quite popular in Russia. Many Russians who have dachas and allotments grow their own kohlrabi. They are very tasty as pickled. I said that and even swallowed, having remembered the fab pickles, deliciously crispy, with a mild dill flavour, ahh, I wish I had some now.

You can find kohlrabis in the farmers' market if you are lucky. Or get them from Abel & Cole. I was very pleased to find a kohlrabi in one of the latest fruit & veg boxes from A&C.
The green spikey sputnik looked very fresh, and I fancied to try it raw in a salad. Off I went to google for the salad recipes that have the kohlrabi, and one of the best recipes I found was actually on the Abel & Cole's website itself.

With the kind permission from Abel & Cole, I reproduce the recipe for your delectation. Even more, I truly encourage you to try this salad at home. It is wonderfully crispy, juicy, and the combination of flavours and textures is simply sublime.

Kohl Rabi with Apples, Dates and Walnuts


1 kolh rabi
½ lemon
1 large or 2 medium-sized apples
Handful of walnuts
5 dates, de-stoned and quartered lengthwise
3 tbsp Greek yogurt (I used Chobani Greek style plain yogurt)
1 tbsp runny honey
½ tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Handful fresh rocket, other green leaves or parsley (I had some fresh coriander in the fridge, so I used it instead of the parsley)

Slice the kohl rabi in half. Peel and then shave off shards of the flesh using a vegetable peeler. Slice in to 'lazy' (i.e. not perfect) little julienne strips using a knife. Squeeze over a bit of lemon juice.

Quarter an apple cut out seeds and stalk and then, leaving on the skin, cut into thin little slices. Add to kohl rabi and squeeze over a bit more lemon juice to prevent it from colouring.

Toast a handful of walnuts in a frying pan over medium heat. Once toasted, add to salad, along with the dates.

In a teacup or mug (or a little bowl) gently fold the Greek yogurt with the honey and rosemary leaves. Dollop onto salad and dress using your hands.

Top with a handful of fresh rocket leaves or a few pinches of freshly chopped flat parsley.

Will I make this salad again? A definite Yes. This is one of the recipes that would appeal to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians who want to have a break from the meat.

For more recipe ideas and suggestions on what to cook with the kohlrabi, please visit the Abel & Cole page.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I loved the recipe and wanted to share it with my blog readers.


  1. It's funny how different countries don't have certain vegetables. It's very rare to find parsnips in France but on the other hand, I'd never seen endives (chicory) or salsifis before going to France. I've never tasted kohlrabi but that must be what chou-rave is at the market.

  2. I think parnsips are very British, I don't remember ever seeing them in Italy, for example, and they are not particularly well known in Russia either. The Russian word for a parsnip is pasternak, I believe I only tried parsnips when I moved to the UK. But there's another veg that is hardly known here but is quite popular in Russia - p√Ętisson or pattypan. As the word is French, I guess they are originally from France?

  3. I've seen these a few times but never given them a try. I didn't realise you could eat them raw though. I'll have to keep an eye out for one.

  4. This looks so tasty. I love nuts and dried fruit in my salads :) I've bought kohlrabi from farmers' markets before over the summer. To me it tastes a bit like broccoli stalks.

  5. I haven't seen them at our farmers' market, there must be not much of a demand for them, which is a pity.