Kohlrabi must account for many second-thoughts by people who've signed up for weekly box of vegetables as part of a Community Supported Agriculture program. It looks downright weird, like Sputnik or a vegetable Mr. Smith might have found in Lost in Space. I got mine at from the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's teaching farm at the Midtown Farmers' Market last week. You can see in the picture below that all the carrots sold out while there were still plenty of kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi should be one of the glam vegetables for its stunning purple exterior and crisp, jicama-like bulb. Raw is crisp, mild, and faintly sweet. "So refreshing!" a woman told me at the farm stand, saying she just peeled the bulb and served it sliced with salt and pepper. I cut it into strips to toss in salads or use it as gluten-free "crackers" in dishes like Jicama Stars with Fennel and Ginger-Carrot Puree.
Most people just throw away the leaves, but if you like kale you should like kohlrabi leaves. My Sputnik Kohlrabi recipe uses the greens and the bulb, sweetened with raisins and an apple for a no-fat, something-from-nothing dish.
Sputnik Kohlrabi (Kohlrabi Braised with Leeks, Apple, and Raisins)
Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 45 minutes. Yield: 4 servings, about 3/4 cup each.
- 1 pool-ball-sized kohlrabi with leaves
- 2 small leeks, about 1 cup chopped
- 1/4 cup broth or water
- salt to taste (1/4 teaspoon if using water)
- 1 Granny Smith apple or other tart green apple
- 1/4 cup raisins or water
- Trim leaves from kohlrabi bulb, peel it, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut leeks in half lengthwise then crossways into 1/2-inch ribbons. Put kohlrabi cubes and leeks into a pot with broth and salt if using. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low so water barely boils.
- Core apple, slice into a dozen wedges, and cut crossways into pieces about 1/2-inch wide. Stir into kohlrabi mixture.
- Cut or pull leaves from kohlrabi stems, then chop stems into 1/4-inch wide sections. Stir into pot. Chop leaves into ribbons about 2 inches long and 1/4-inch wide. Stir raisins in to kohlrabi mixture, adding a little extra water if needed to keep the pot from going dry. Top with kohlrabi greens. Simmer, covered, until kohlrabi leaves and apples are tender, about 30 minutes. Cook 5 or 10 minutes longer if you prefer tender greens.
- Serve hot as a side dish, on top of a baked sweet potato, or stuffed into a burrito with refried beans. Refrigerate within four hours or freeze for up to a year.