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If the beet is intense and deadly serious, the kohlrabi is off-beat and free-spirited. It’s the plant version of a 17 year old boy with a skull and crossbones tattoo on one arm and a skateboard under the other. Ahh, but I like colorful people and unconventional vegetables. Kohlrabi is included in that cast of characters.

Nutrition information and tips

Kohlrabi is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage and is a relative of broccoli. It’s high in vitamin C, low in calories, contains a good amount of fiber and serves up some calcium, potassium and iron. I’m not big on peeling my veggies, so other than trimming away the funky parts of the skin and the tough base end, I don’t bother (wash and scrub well). You can use both the globe part and the leaves, but it’s best to store them separately. The leaves don’t last long; use them quickly as you would any other green. The globe can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or more. Both have a mild, slightly sweet taste. You can eat it raw, sauté it, use it in stir fry recipes, or cook it and mash it.

Spinach (one cup) provides a whopping 1110% (no mistake, that’s thousand) of the daily value of vitamin K, 294% of vitamin A, 84% of manganese, 65% of folate and 35% of iron. It also has plenty of vitamin C, B2, calcium, potassium, B6, dietary fiber, protein and on and on. Even some omega 3 fatty acids. This is all packed into one cup of spinach, which carries with it a measly 41 calories. Lots of bang for your buck!

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warm kohlrabi & spinach (salad?)
1 washed and scrubbed kohlrabi globe, chopped into strips
2 cups washed, dried and chopped spinach
roasted sunflower seeds
vegetable or chicken broth *
course sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

* I like keeping a small carton of chicken or vegetable broth in my fridge to use for sautéing veggies. Pacific Natural Foods has small (1 cup serving size each) 4-pack containers of organic broth, which lasts me 2-4 days.

Using a large skillet, heat about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of broth over medium heat. Add kohlrabi and simmer until semi-tender, 5-8 minutes or so. Add spinach and a splash more broth if needed, stir gently until spinach is slightly wilted. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Salt and pepper to taste. (This was my lunch, make a much larger amount for more servings.)

Caraway seeds also go well with this warm salad. I toast them in the pan before adding the other ingredients. I was thinking garlic scapes would be great with this, but I wanted to save mine for a salmon salad (I’ll post that recipe in a couple days).

Raw kohlrabi, carrot, jicama, apple and/or radishes cut in matchstick pieces makes a wonderful raw salad. Top with an olive oil/honey mustard dressing. You can also grate kohlrabi into any green salad or stir fry. Although it may look intimidating, it’s really quite friendly and versatile.

Go forth and embrace off-beat veggies!
Melissa

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26 Responses to “warm kohlrabi & spinach (salad?)”

  1. Hethyr says:

    Hi Melissa. I recently came across your blog in a link from the Grant Farms CSA newsletter and just had to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it so far. I have already tried the Poached Eggs and Kale recipe (YUM – and I’ve not a big fan of kale usually)and am having the Deadly Serious Beet & Spinach Salad for lunch today (Tom Robbins is my very favorite author, so I recognized the quote immediately!). My CSA delivery is today, so I’m sure I’ll be trying the Warm Kohlrabi and Spinach (Salad?) in the next couple of days also. Thanks so much for sharing and keep up the great work! =)

  2. Melissa says:

    Hi Hethyr — nice to “meet” you and welcome! Yes, Tom Robbins is a favorite of mine as well, although I have to be in the mood.

    :-)

    Thanks for your nice comments. I do this for healthy fun, not profit, so I really appreciate the feed-back (no pun intended — well, maybe) and your warm sentiments!

  3. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    No wonder you are so healthy and slim… this sounds like another nutritious number. I think they sell kohlrabi in my local grocery so I’ll make a point of buying some. Despite the biscuits and other naughty nibbles I’ve had today, I did manage another fruit and vegetable juice which included spinach and beets. One of these days I’m going full out for a total veg juice with a splash of Worcester sauce instead of all this fruit I seem to be getting through. Mind you it is strawberry season over here and without sugar and cream, they’re pretty low in calories so it’s not all bad. Trouble is with a juicer it is tempting and easy to over do it on the carbs.

    Cid

  4. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    Oh, don’t believe everything you imagine! Aside from the kohlrabi, I also made rhubarb and blueberry ice cream yesterday and ate half the batch before I even transferred it out of the ice cream maker.

    By the way, you’re starting to gain a reputation (and a following) with some of my real-life friends (several who don’t comment, but do follow my blog) with your clever remarks, engaging wit and cosmopolitan flair.

    You definitely have style, my friend, quirky and colorful style.

    :-)

    I do wish we could meet for lunch one of these days! We’ll have to make it happen sometime.

  5. Mary says:

    Hi, Melissa,

    Thanks for the work you do on this blog. I started eating mostly raw food a year ago and this is my first year for Grant Farms CSA and I am loving it! Thanks for the help about kohlrabi. I don’t think I’d ever noticed one before!!

    I have a question, I have a family share and I got several bunches of beautiful baby beets. But I also got 2 somethings that have what looks to be beet tops, but they surely don’t look like beets. Do you know what they are?

    I’m seriously bummed: I got lots of greens but no spinach and no dill, both all-time favorites.

    Thanks for all you are doing to get me educated.

    Mary

  6. Melissa says:

    Mary,

    Oh, you’re so welcome and I really appreciate your comments. That’s very nice! Thank you.

    I want people to like having a CSA membership and benefit by it. You know — in general, I just want to help people enjoy real food and reap the health benefits of fresh, organic produce. But all this food can be intimidating if you don’t know what to do with it!

    Okay, I wonder if you’re thinking of either collard greens or chard? The post before this one has a picture of some chard next to the kale — that’s chard from my garden. Does it look like that? Or like this?

    http://www.glutenfreeforgood.com/blog/?p=474

    I actually have a collard greens recipe in the works. But I got sidetracked making rhubarb ice cream.

    :-)

  7. greedydave says:

    Melissa,

    Another great one. Kohlrabi is something you don’t see here everyday, but I do enjoy it when it’s about. Funny you should question your use of the word ‘salad.’ In days of yore we would call a serving of mixed, cooked vegetables, ‘Salmagundi.’ But I think salad does the trick quite nicely. :)
    An aside, I’ve asked Santa for one of those mandalin slicy thingies for my birthday this month. The first thing I’m going to make it a salad of paper-thin kohlrabi slices in a horseradish-cream dressing. Saw it made on the telly, looked devine!

    GDave

  8. Melissa says:

    Thanks, GDave. No, you don’t see it that often, but it’s such a good addition to the veggie bin. You can do so much with it.

    Salmagundi? I just love your vocabulary! I’ll remember that one. I have some sort of salmagundi every day!

    You get birthday gifts from Santa? What’s with that? And when exactly is your birthday? You’re in your late, late 20s, right?

    :-)

    Melissa

  9. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    Thanks for your kind words…. that lunch of ours is already overdue! The first time someone actually asks us both to lunch we’ll turn up with our own plates and tell them it’s a new tradition :) Since working longer hours I haven’t had many opportunities for lunching with friends and I miss it. As all the children have grown up, some have returned to work, some back to college. Wasn’t long ago we all seemed to have the time to swap stories and chat about all the important things, like ‘where did you get those shoes’ and ‘is she really going out with him’ :) This week I’ve managed some decorating of the hall but it’s only the tip of the iceberg in an old place like mine. This heat is playing havoc with my garden so there’s plenty of work out there too. I realised just the other day, that I haven’t even had time to admire my latest Japanese textiles. They’ve all been pushed to one side, waiting to be admired by my next captive audience…. not quite sure what my relatives think or some of my friends for that matter. Perhaps Wimbledon has interrupted things a little as well, so after this weekend there’s really no excuse… I must throw myself into everything with gusto :)

    Next on the culinary list is the making of strawberry jam before the season draws to a halt. My local health food store had some almond butter today so I bought some and plan to enjoy that too. Great to see it had a reasonable selection of GF products too… and good news for your visit one day!!

    To all your friends, I wish a wonderful, dreamy summer… Pimms all round then?!

    Cid

  10. Cid says:

    GDave,

    I’m not sure we trust you with one of those slicey things…. you’ll need some chainmail gloves :) Mine sits in it’s box in a kitchen drawer most of the time, right nextdoor to all my other useful gadgets like the chocolate fountain :)

    Cid

  11. I have not had kohlrabi in forever! I used to eat it in my early 20′s sliced thin with rice vinegar, dill, and salt. You have inspired me to pick some up at the market tomorrow!

    Thanks Melissa! :)

  12. Oh, forgot to mention that I ate it raw. An older gentleman that I worked with at a sate park for the summer introduced me to it. He would always bring me some from his garden!

    -Ali :)

  13. greedydave says:

    Melissa,

    Late twenties? Ummm yes, you’re *cough* absolutely right. The big day is in about a week, although I’m thinking of putting it back a few months for fear of gaining another year. Warm kohlrabi & spinach (salad?) will be my birthday lunch, I think.

    Cid, it turns me pale, the damage you can do to yourself with them. Needless to say I’ll be Tufty the Safety Squirrel and always use the guard.

    GDave

  14. Miles says:

    Melissa,
    Another great post, I used kohl rabbi in one of the restaurants a couple of months back paired with apples, scallops and pork. I always think of it as a good foil for other ingredients, makes a decent gratin too.

    Miles

  15. Peter says:

    Melissa-

    First of all thanks for the wonderful website. Came across it a few days ago when searching for a Gluten Detox. Most sites were basically just about diets sans gluten and wheat but yours had a plan and some good substance. My wife is silent celiac, I am not, but feel so much better wheat and gluten free. She’s recently had a breakout of Dermatitis Herpetiformis from falling off the gluten wagon. We’re on day 2 of a detox. Well I can write a book so forgive me. Thanks again…oh and we joined a CSA this year and love it. Kohlrabi was part of the pick up this week along with a small white/purply cauliflower. Today I wilted the Kohlrabi greens then chopped and plated, covered with roasted beets thickly sliced, then grated the kohlrabi on top. served with steamed cauliflower and all doused with a splash of olive oil and a dash of vinegar. very yummy will have to try your recipe when I get some spinach. All the best!

    Peter

  16. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    Somehow I feel we’ll end up having lunch together somewhere. As for the plates, it sounds good on paper, but I’m not sure I’ll bother traveling overseas with one in my carry-on luggage.

    :-)

    I’m very interested in seeing your “old place” as I can only imagine how charming it must be. Eclectic, off-beat, interesting, warm, inviting, tastefully (but quirkily) decorated — I can only imagine.

    Looking forward to that Pimm’s!

    Melissa
    P.S. Chocolate fountain?

  17. Melissa says:

    Ali,

    I agree — I love kohlrabi raw and dill is a great addition. In fact, I’ve got a raw matchstick salad using kohlrabi waiting in the wings to be posted. Oooh, I should add some dill to that next time. Good idea!

  18. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    You have a fun birthday, whenever it is. Are you a water or fire sign (cancer or leo)? Not that I subscribe to Zodiac sun signs, but it’s kind of fun to think about. What’s the actual day? Don’t worry, Cid and I won’t embarrass you with a surprise party. I’d be afraid Cid would wear her Tufty the Safety Squirrel costume.

    :-)

  19. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    I can imagine kohlrabi would make a good gratin. Or mashed like a potato dish. Again, I always appreciate your input as I’m not good at knowing what food is a “good foil” for other ingredients. I love that — “foil.” Good way to describe it!

  20. Melissa says:

    Peter,

    Welcome! And thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your kind words. I can relate to your wife’s issues as I have DH as well. That is my clue that I’ve been secretly dosed with hidden gluten (itchy elbows is the first indication). I don’t intentionally fall off the wagon, but every so often, I get zapped. It doesn’t take much and the pathology of DH is different. It’s actually quite interesting.

    I’m interested in your detox. Did you see my series of posts on detoxing? I would probably call it an elimination diet if I was working with your wife, but it would be very similar depending on her needs and what foods seem to impact her health (other than gluten).

    You’ll love your CSA — it’s like getting a big surprise box each week!

  21. Peter says:

    Melissa-

    well actually we did read your posts on the detox and used that as a guide. lots of water and lemon lots and lots of leafy greens. big salads and things like that and switched between berry smoothies one day and orange mango smoothies the next. only did it for three days since we started on July 1 which was silly. Now that the holiday is over we will start again (couldn’t resist the bbq pork and turkey). We picked up an abundance of strawberries and blueberries and the local farmers market we used some fresh on salads and just popping into our mouths. Our 2y/o daughters loves berries. They were perfectly ripe so we froze them to use in smoothies. We do love our CSA Leigh Hauter at Bull Run Farm has been doing it for 20 years or so and does a fantastic job. http://bullrunfarm.com/
    Looking forward to sharing recipes and reading more of your blogs.

    Cheers,
    Peter

  22. Melissa says:

    Peter,

    Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. People are doing such wonderful things with locally grown food. I love it!

    Yes, keep in touch and let me know how things go with your cleanse. I plan to do my fall cleanse sometime around the end of September or the first of October. I love doing a spring version and a fall version, getting ready for the upcoming change in seasons. I do them a little different depending on which season it is. But all and all, doing a periodic detox is good for the body and it also keeps you aware of your eating habits. It’s easy to slip into some less-than-healthy ways of eating without really being aware of it. It’s good to stop and examine what you’re eating and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t support good health.

    Your berries sound wonderful. Yum!

  23. Melissa–Okay, you probably won’t be surprised, but I’m a kohlrabi virgin, too. It sounds really good though. bet I can find it at our new Wegman’s in town. :-)

    Note to Peter–Nice to see a fellow Virginian here! I knew you had to be with Bull Run in the title of your CSA. ;-)

    Shirley

  24. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    I need to get you on the beet and kohlrabi wagon train! Maybe the recipe I’m working on right now will convince you. Ruby red chocolate cupcakes? Guess what’s hidden inside?

    :-)

  25. Oooh, that is intriguing … sounds like it’s a recipe that would be filed with the ones for my wonderful baked goods made from chickpeas and black beans. :-) I’ll look for it!

    Shirley

  26. Melissa says:

    Shirley,

    Isn’t it amazing what GF baking has done for our imaginations?! Only those on a mission would try beans, peas, nuts and flowers in lieu of regular flour.

    :-)

    But aren’t we lucky?! We’d never be having such fun in the kitchen without a celiac diagnosis!

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