Make Kohlrabi Your Hobby

Kohlrabi (kol-RAW-bee) is fast becoming one of those veggies that wins the versatility award in my kitchen. I first learned about it not more than three years ago, but its endless options have turned it into one of my favorites, because no matter what I’m cooking I know I can toss in some kohlrabi.

 

A veggie that is edible either cooked or raw, kohlrabi has a texture that reminds me of a mix between an apple and jicama, maybe with a slight nod toward potato. I think it’s the density that reminds me of the potato, as there’s nothing even remotely starchy about kohlrabi. It’s extra crunchy, and moist without being watery. The flavor is mild and fresh, and sometimes there are even hints of radish, though without the spice.

 

As with many other veggies these days, kohlrabi doesn’t just come in one color, either; you can find this softball-sized veg in green and purple (maybe there are more…I have yet to see them, though).

 

If you want, kohlrabi can be as easy as peel-and-eat. Its flavor totally stands up to stand-alone snacking. However, I have dipped it in hummus, and even in salsa when I didn’t feel like having chips (an incredibly rare occurrence). It could be diced into a salad, or shredded/julienned as part of a coleslaw. I haven’t tried the coleslaw idea yet, but even as I write about it my mouth is beginning to water as I imagine what a delicious dish that would be, with a colorful assortment of veggies and a light, vinegary dressing.

 

The days may not be much cooler right now, but the nights sure are, so warm meals are definitely more inviting – at least for me. If that’s the case for you, too, you could add your kohlrabi to just about anything you’re cooking in your own kitchen. I’ve added it to this Chicken with Rice & Salsa casserole, in which I substitute brown rice for white, and par-cook it first (bring water/rice/salt to a boil and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, then drain and continue with recipe). If I’m in a one-pot-meal mood I also add whatever veggies I feel like adding – think kohlrabi, broccoli, kale, etc.

 

I’ve even added kohlrabi to homemade enchiladas; sometimes they’re chicken sometimes they’re vegetarian, and I never follow a recipe (a theme you’ll likely pick up on if you read more than a few of my posts).

 

While both of these hot applications have a distinctly Latin flare to them, I am confident that whatever flavor palate you choose for a meal, kohlrabi will fit in beautifully. It’s a veritable chameleon.

 

So don’t be afraid to bring kohlrabi into your cooking repertoire, and spread the word about how cool – or hot – a veggie it is. 

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Fennel Ideas

While I don’t have any eye-popping pictures or ready-to-go recipes for you this week, I have what I hope will be some ideas that sound so good that they just might inspire you.

 

Fennel is something I didn’t learn to love until recently. But when I did, I went head-over-heels for it. It’s crunchy, and light, and its taste is so unique. Fennel adds a flavor that nothing else can.

 

When I lived in Southwest Portland, I went to a restaurant once that boasted a delicious home-made hummus with grilled veggies. The hummus was good. It was everything a hummus should be: Creamy, garlicky, lemony, and thick enough that it would scoop easily using any food vessel. What stood out for me most, though, was the grilled fennel that was part of the assorted veggies. It was still crunchy, but the grill had given it an extra depth of flavor. It was delicate and aromatic, and it accompanied the hummus perfectly. They even drizzled a bit of extra virgin olive oil over the veggies, which I loved.

 

Beyond that eye-opening fennel experience, I’ve also learned to cook with it myself. Sometimes I go simple and slice it thinly to toss with a salad. Other times, I add it into sauteed veggies to put in a baked pasta dish. The flavor of fennel goes fantastically with cauliflower. Also, surprisingly (at least to me), it goes with sweeter flavors like dried fruits.

 

Don’t let the “licorice” stigma of the fennel flavor keep you away from it as long as I did. Embrace its one-of-a-kind flavor and let fennel inspire you.

-Laura Moss