This crunchy salad was so heartbreakingly pretty I wanted people to come over just to admire it. So I invited the neighbors.
Not only did my kids love it, the two-year-old who used to live down the hall (and who is the cutest thing since sliced kohlrabi) also loved it, and she can’t even say kohlrabi. It’s just so clean and vibrant and refreshing, and we ate the hugest bowl in a matter of minutes.
Kohlrabi in Salad
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable from the Cruciferae family (broccoli, cabbage, and so on). It is about the size of an orange, with a bunch of stems sticking out and a thick skin that can range from pale green to purple-ish. The leaves, stems, and the bulb itself are all edible (but not the skin), and the smaller ones tend to be more tender and flavorful. Flavorwise, it gets compared to broccoli. Peel kohlrabi very thoroughly with a sharp knife—the skin is too thick for a vegetable peeler to have much effect—and slice, julienne, or grate it into your salad for a great crunch and a fresh but slightly spicy flavor. It can also be cooked: steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, or roasted.
This salad came about because I was writing an article about surprising salad add-ins and I decided to list shredded or slivered raw kohlrabi as one of the possibilities. Then I said to myself, “You are so full of it; you’ve never done that in your whole life.” So I bought myself a kohlrabi and sliced it up, and really fell head over heels. It kind of reminded me of a daikon radish, crisp with just a hint of spiciness.
A handful of pea shoots on the top of the salad adds a fresh sweet pea-ness that’s lovely, but don’t skip the salad if pea shoots aren’t on the immediate horizon.
Make Ahead Crunchy Green Salad
This salad can be made ahead and refrigerated for an hour. The longer it sits, the more melded the flavors will be, but the less crunch the vegetables will have, so it’s a bit of a toss-up (ba dump bump). I’ve happily eaten it a day or two after it’s been made.
You can also make the vinaigrette a couple of days ahead and slice up the vegetables a day ahead, then toss right before serving.
What the Kids Can Do
Slice the lettuce and celery with a kid-friendly knife, mix up the dressing, toss the salad.
Quarter and core a Granny Smith apple and cut the quarters crosswise into thin slices. Add the slices to the vegetables before adding the dressing.
Other Recipes with Kohlrabi:
- Carrot, Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw with Miso Dressing
- Spinach, Radish, and Kohlrabi Salad with Preserved Lemons
- Spring Greens Salad with Kohlrabi and Golden Beets
- Kohlrabi, Green Cabbage, and Broccoli Rabe Slaw
- Asian Kohlrabi and Apple Slaw
Light Green Crunchy Salad
- If using the kohlrabi, cut it into manageable chunks then cut those chunks into thin planks, about ¼ inch thick. Then sliver up those planks into ¼-inch-thick matchsticks (this is what is known as a julienne cut). Don’t worry if the slivers aren’t neat and tidy.
- Very thinly slice the celery crosswise, then do the same with the hearts of romaine so that you have thin ribbons of lettuce. Place it all in a serving bowl, along with the kohlrabi.
- Whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper in a small bowl (or shake it up in a small container with a lid). Toss the vegetables with the dressing and serve, topped with the pea shoots, if desired.
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