Purple Kohlrabi / photo credit ted_major @ flickr

By Nina Kauder and Sivan Fraser

Last-minute surprises from Mother Nature can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how quickly a chef can work their magic.


While teaching her free, drop-in-style monthly cooking class (held the last Wednesday of each month) at El Sol, Jupiter’s Neighborhood Resource Center, Chef Nina Kauder encountered a wild card: The cabbage heads from the community garden were too small for the recipe.

The Sunshine Community Garden at El Sol – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to improving the quality of life for day laborers – yields a treasure trove of unusual and downright exotic produce. However, because garden yields are variable, Chef Nina thought on her feet and added kohlrabi to the mix, thereby creating a new recipe.

Kohlrabi, which can be purple or green, looks like it grows on the planet Mars, with tentacle-like arms sticking out all over its chubby body. This cruciferous vegetable is crunchy and a little sweet. It packs a punch high in vitamin C and delivers a hint of a bite, sort of like a shy radish.

Kohlrabi, which is the German word for both “cabbage” and “turnip,” is very low in calories and has no fat.

Chef Nina served the dish warm, though it can be served chilled as well.

 Warm Apple, Cabbage & Kohlrabi Salad
Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 medium to large peeled and shredded kohlrabi, purple or green variety
  • 2 apples; consider blending a tart and a sweet variety (Granny Smith Green Apple, Gala, Fuji, Macintosh, or Pink Lady)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (or water)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil* (examples: safflower, sunflower, or grapeseed) to sauté with
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Core the cabbage and peel the kohlrabi; shred both on the largest-hole side or disk of your preferred shredding/grating tool.
  • Julienne the unpeeled apples, leaving the skin on for color and texture contrasts, as well to boost the fiber content.
  • In a bowl, combine apple cider vinegar and apple juice (or water) and pour over julienned apples to prevent them from turning brown.
  • Place a 5-quart (medium-size) pot on the stove, over medium to high heat.
  • Add your oil to the pot.
  • Once oil is hot, add kohlrabi and stir until lightly browned.
  • Add cabbage and stir until it is translucent.
  • Add apples with apple cider vinegar and juice (or water) mix to pot, and stir to incorporate.
  • Simmer, stirring occasionally over medium to high heat, until “al dente” in texture.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Recipe created for Florida Food & Farm by Nina Kauder & Sivan Fraser.

Tips for a Versatile Dish

  • Comfort food: Create a saucy effect by serving this slaw with its cooking juices over lentils, wild rice, other grain pilafs, or even over a slice of crusty whole-grain bread.
  • Crunchy: Remove slaw from pan, using tongs, and reserve flavorful cooking juices for another use. Blend with an equal portion of oil for a homemade salad dressing.
  • Indian flavors:
    • Add 1 teaspoon of your favorite curry or garam masala spice mix at the beginning of the cooking process. Garam masala is the ubiquitous North Indian complex blend of spices that can include cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, bay leaves, cloves, pepper, and more.
  • You can take it to another level by serving it over a bowl of your favorite rice.

Chef Nina suggests jasmine rice, for more authentic flavors, or brown rice for added fiber. Want to go all-out? Pair it with roti or naan breads. It’ll taste like a trip and a vacation.

  • German flavors: Add 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds to original ingredient list, and enjoy a dish that goes well with bratwurst and hard cider.

Summertime Slaw – Not Your Average Salad

This can quickly become your “signature” go-to dish for your next potluck or BBQ gathering. Instead of coleslaw, show up with this crisp veggie dish, and turn your friends on to kohlrabi. Best of all, vegans and swimsuit-conscious friends alike can rejoice, for this dish ditches the mayonnaise!

Warm Options

  • A great side dish for any main course.

Cool Options

  • Wake up your usual wrap with the crunch of this slaw.
  • Fight the dog days of summer by serving this alongside peppery arugula. The crisp apple balances out arugula’s bite.

* About Oils

From Chef Nina Kauder: “I’m committed to cooking with pure, real foods, as well as evaluating and eliminating sources of unnecessary calories or toxins. In my recipes, I choose ingredients aligned with my values, even if we’re talking about just 1 tablespoon of oil.

“Corn is the most genetically modified crop on our planet; therefore, corn oil, in addition to canola oil, is highly processed. More and more, there is rumbling that the mechanical and chemical methods used to harvest oils from plant sources can be toxic. Until I have more information about this, I err on the side of safety and caution, resulting in lighter and less-calorie-laden dishes. Frankly, I don’t miss the oils at all.”