Friday, July 12, 2013

What Do You Do with a Baby Kohlrabi?

by Sheila Connolly

It's hot.  As I write this, we're in the midst of our second heat wave of the summer, and there's more to come.  So of course my thoughts turn to a meal that involves NO COOKING.

And then I went to the farmers' market again.  They were out of nettles this week, but I stopped at one stand and found…baby kohlrabi. 

I don't know how many of you have ever prepared kohlrabi.  It's a member of the cabbage family, and the part you eat is really a swollen part of the stem, near the ground, about the size of a softball (at least when you find one in a store).  It comes in green and purple, although the interior is the same in each. It's sort of crunchy, and tastes kind of like a turnip—rather earthy.  It can also be tough, so it's best to cook the big ones, after peeling them.

But, the baby ones are so cute! I made the seller very happy when I actually recognized the ones she had, picked that morning.  They were adorable! (What is it about tiny vegetables that is so appealing?) I bought six of them, and then she sold me some mint and two bunches of baby carrots, all for $5, and we were both happy. (I think I may be getting an odd reputation at the farmers market.)

Now to make a no-cook meal with baby kohlrabi and baby carrots.  Luckily I had half a grilled chicken waiting in the fridge (there are only two of us at home, so if I buy a whole chicken, split it and grill it, we get two meals out of it), so I diced that up. 

Then I julienned those kohlrabi (I figured they were small enough to eat raw),

and sliced the carrots, and chopped some parsley. I still had those garlic scapes from last week's farmers market, so I diced up a couple of those too 

(watch out—even the little skinny ones are surprisingly garlicky, so use them sparingly unless you really, really like garlic). Heck, you can add whatever you like. Snow peas. Tiny green beans. Whatever you've got that's fresh. And you'll notice I mixed up the shapes, textures and colors in this—you want it to look pretty too.

Recipe? You want a recipe?  If you insist. This amount made a nice light dinner for two of us.

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
3 baby kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
1 bunch baby carrots, sliced
3-4 small garlic scapes (use only the smaller end—the thicker part can be tough)
Parsley, chopped


1 cup mayonnaise (I'm not going to insist you make your own)
1 tsp grated horseradish
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Just mix it all up and taste it.  If it lacks oomph, add some herbs and spices.  I threw in a dash of turmeric, because I thought the earthy flavor would go well with the kohlrabi. I also thought it came out a little thick, so I threw in a dash of vinaigrette to smooth it out.

When you're ready to eat, place your ingredients into a large bowl, then add the dressing and toss lightly to cover.  On plates or shallow bowls, lay out some lettuce (I used Boston lettuce because I like the shape of the leaves) and scoop the chicken salad over it.  Serve!

If you're really hungry, you can include some nice crusty bread on the side.  If it's too hot to be really hungry, you're all set!

It's supposed to go below ninety this week.  I hope.


  1. Fun post - farmer's market chicken salad is the perfect dinner for a way-too-hot summer day. The humidity in NYC has been ridiculous, nearly unbearable, but it's breaking a bit today. So here's to cool kitchens and warm smiles on farmer's market vendors when you recognize their produce. :)

  2. A lovely summer meal! I grew up eating cooked kohlrabi. This sounds better! I still haven't been to the farmer's market this summer. Everyone has been complaining about their gardens coming in late because of all the rain.


  3. Inventive and amusing as always, Sheila!