Brassica, Bacon and an answer to: What do you do with kohlrabi?

9 Dec

Sometimes it is advisable to avoid the unknown. And sometimes you just have to stop being so yellow-bellied and confront your fears. Especially if your fear is merely an unfamiliar vegetable. And double especially if you can smear it in bacon grease.

Purple kohlrabi -- this is the root. They also come in green. The leaves are edible, but I didn't have those.

Purple kohlrabi — this is the root. They also come in green. The leaves are edible, but I didn’t have those.

I had picked up some kohlrabi from our CSA a while ago, no longer able to pass them off to Allison, who we share with, because she’d had enough. The truth is, I had no idea what a kohlrabi was, and in the frenzy that is the fall, dealing with the familiar hazards of life as a full time working single parent of a kindergartener, I didn’t have time for a new relationship. At least not a relationship with an unfamiliar vegetable. So I ignored them in the hopes that, like an annoying suitor, they would get the message and go away. “She’s just not that into you.”

Kohlrabi grated into salad

Kohlrabi grated into salad

But time passed and there were the neglected kohlrabi in their sturdy stubbornness, sitting in the fridge where I was pretty sure they would keep for a couple of weeks. I reluctantly turned my attention to their patient purple selves. And I was rewarded!

First I consulted A Field Guide to Produce, my bible for the market by Aliza Green where I found that it is a member of the Brassica family like cabbage, and that you could add it raw to salads. I figured that was an easy enough start, pared off the thick peel of one and grated it into a salad. Big success! It was cool and crunchy like radish, but without the bite; just a really pleasant addition to the flavor and texture. Thus emboldened, I decided to invent the following salad with cozy autumnal flavors, but with some refreshing crispness too.

Kohlrabi (or cabbage turnip) peeled and chunked

Kohlrabi (or cabbage turnip) peeled and chunked

Full disclosure: My mom, who usually likes whatever I make gave this a thumbs down. “Too much bacon flavor,” she said. Which to me is a thumbs up (Too much bacon? Really?). She pushed it to the side of her plate. For the dad, enabler that I am, I gave him his own vegan serving, raw with no saute in bacon or any other fat. He quite liked it. Leandro? He ate linguini with spinach and I didn’t even attempt to get him to try this. He’d already had bacon for breakfast anyway.

Saute the onions and cabbage in bacon grease!

Saute the onions and cabbage in bacon grease!

So I, who quite liked it, will have plenty to take to the office tomorrow.

I am now out of kohlrabi, but absolutely ready to take this new relationship to the next level. I may have to update my Facebook status for this one.

Delicious autumnal-winter salad!

Delicious autumnal-winter salad!

Warm Kohlrabi, Cabbage and Apple Salad

1 Cup kohlrabi, pared and chopped into small cubes

1 Cup apple, peeled and chopped into small cubes

2 tsp bacon grease

1 Cup cabbage, cut into small squares

1 Tbs chopped onion

3 Tbs roasted sunflower seeds

Salt to taste

Place kohlrabi and apple in a bowl. In a small skillet, heat the bacon grease until liquid at medium heat. Add the cabbage and the onion, stir to coat, and sauté until very wilted. Add to the bowl and stir to combine. Stir in sunflower seeds, salt to taste, and serve warm.


13 Responses to “Brassica, Bacon and an answer to: What do you do with kohlrabi?”

  1. sarah December 16, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    Great ideas and will definitely experiment using homegrown Spanish ingredients. Thank you

  2. Karen December 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    This is no vegetable that I have never eaten and I don’t know why. I guess I’m going to have to develop a new friendship.

  3. twbarritt December 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Ah, kohlrabi and apples are such a perfect combination!

  4. Mad Dog December 10, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    Kohlrabi tastes delicious! I thought it was quite amazing raw – before I’d even got to the cooking stage. Adding bacon fat is a stroke of genius 🙂

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Thank you…I quite like being called a genius (even if it is just one stroke!)

      • Mad Dog December 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

        You always have good ideas 😉

  5. cooking with audrey December 10, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    i love kohlrabi in salads raw or you can even saute the leaves, they are yummy!

  6. Adriana December 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Ok you’ve convinced me! More recipes please! I want to live vicariously through your relationship with kohlrabi…. Lol

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