Kohlrabi, Rock Band

Last weekend I acquired a couple of kohlrabis from a friends’ CSA leftovers and someone, who shall remain nameless, said to me, “Kohlrabi sounds like the name of a rock band”. She was so right. A hipster rock band to boot. I don’t add hipster just because I  listen to hipster bands and indie this and that seems to have penetrated almost everything my generation adores a la moment. I add hipster for a few reasons:


1. Kohlrabi literally means cabbage turnip in German. Kohl = cabbage and rube = turnip. It’s quite fitting that kohlrabi’s roots can be traced back to Germany because Berlin might just be the birthplace of hipsters as we know and love them to be.

2. The name kohlrabi confesses the vegetable’s utter confusion surrounding its own identity. A cabbage turnip? If you didn’t know what a kohlrabi looked like (and let’s be honest, most people do not) the mental image of a cabbage turnip would likely conjure some sort of odd, maybe even brain-like shape. The flavor is a cross between a cabbage and a radish but texture leans towards a jicama and a radish. It also appears that hipsters are confused about their identities (aren’t we all) but their outward appearance tends to be a conglomeration of eras, vintage and new. Who knows what’s happening on the inside of hipsters…flavor or texture wise I cannot say! This is not a criticism, more an observation and a fitting comparison in this case.

3. Hipster cuisine is like funky farm-to-table. Use fennel instead of cucumber. Quail eggs instead of chicken eggs. Kohlrabi instead of butternut squash. One of my favorite restaurants in the E. Village (aka hipsterville) is the Northern Spy Food Co. I had a raw kale salad with roasted kohlrabi and a sunny side up egg there for brunch a few years back and I have yet to wipe the simple creativity of that combination of flavors from my mouth’s memory.

So, I know it sounds like I’m harping on hipsters (btw, wouldn’t that make for a great blog name?) and I don’t mean to, they just happen to be an easy target and somehow when I started writing this post kohlrabi and hipster were two peas in a pod, like duh. I still feel that way and hopefully you too caught my drift.

Oh, and Kohlrabi’s opening act? Rutabaga. The swedish cabbage turnip.

Shoshana’s Riff on Northern Spy Food Co’s Kale and Kohlrabi Salad

This salad is the epitome of improvisation so I apologize in advance for my vague instructions; it just leaves more room for your inventiveness!

What you need:

Olive oil

2 Bunches of lacinto kale (soaked and rinsed in cold water and baking soda to remove bugs); coarsely chopped/shredded

1 Large kohlrabi, skin cut off and cut into cubes (roasting instructions below)

1 Ripe d’anjou pear (or pink lady apple) cut into bite size pieces

Medium hunk of raw sheep’s milk manchego cheese cut into bite size pieces

Marcona almonds or slivered almonds (cheaper)

1 Egg, sunny side up

Dressing: olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper

Optional: I added sautéed mushrooms because I had a huge bag that was about to turn

To roast the kohlrabi, preheat oven to 450. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and arrange the cubed kohlrabi in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until browned and the edges are crispy, comme ca.



In a large mixing bowl, drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on the shredded kale until well coated. Massage the olive oil on the kale and toss with your hands. Let sit.

While the kohlrabi is roasting and the kale is soaking in the olive oil, combine the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk gently until the olive oil and acid are nicely fused. Add more or less acid and salt/pepper to taste. It should have a simple tangy flavor, slightly sweet.


D’Anjou Pear

Place desired amount of kale on a plate. Place cubed kohlrabi, manchego and pear cubes on top. Pour dressing over the salad; scatter with almonds and top with a sunny side up egg (or two).

A crusty piece of bread is always welcome with a salad like this. Go to your nearest bougie bakery and pick up a loaf.

 Kale Salad w/ Roasted Kohlrabi  With an egg!

3 thoughts on “Kohlrabi, Rock Band

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