I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I used to hate vegetables.
For the most part, that is. As a general rule, I found vegetables to be the also-rans of my dinner plate-- the food I had to eat to get to the food I wanted to eat: MEAT. I was steadfast in my assertion that vegetables were bland and boring. It was only when I began to explore the vast varieties of unfamiliar vegetables that I learned how wrong I was. Given some idea of how to prepare them, I began to incorporate more and more vegetables into my diet.
So I welcome the challenge, as market chef for Texas Farmers' Markets, to introduce new vegetables each season, and offer new ways to prepare them. Each weekend visit, I look for opportunities to share the freshest favorites, as well as the more obscure vegetables that grow well in Texas, but may not be as well known.
Such was the case last weekend, as I watched market-goers pass beautiful purple bulbs of kohlrabi by, one after another. Customers ooed and ahhd over plump squash and baby pumpkins, but mostly looked quizzically, then passed by, this surprisingly versatile cruciferous vegetable.
Kohlrabi is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables that includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. It has a mildly peppery finish, similar to that of cauliflower, but boasts a hint of sweetness, too.
Eaten raw or cooked, Kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin c (132% RDA per 1 cup serving), and fiber (19% RDA), and comes in at just 37 calories. Choose bulbs that are about the size of a tennis ball, and peel the outer skin before eating. When allowed to grow larger, bulbs become woody and inedible. Don't forget the leaves, too! Kohlrabi leaves are packed with nutrients just as their sibling kale and collard greens.
I paired kohlrabi with its 'grow-together, go-together' mates: pear, radish, baby super greens, and cool season mint, and complemented the sweet ingredients with a creamy goat cheese dressing, including honey and tarragon vinegar, recipe provided below.
pear | mint | radish | greens
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2, as an entrée salad
3-4 small bulbs kohlrabi
1 bunch radishes
½- 1 bunch fresh mint
3-4 small, firm pears
Creamy Honey Tarragon Chevre Dressing (recipe, below)
3-4 ample handfuls baby super greens
Remove greens from radishes, again reserving as suggested above. With a sharp paring knife or mandoline, slice horizontally into razor-thin slices.
Remove mint leaves from stems. Chop finely.
Cut pears in half, vertically. Remove core. With peeling on, slice into razor-thin half-moons.
Toss kohlrabi, radishes, mint and pears in a large bowl with Creamy Honey Tarragon Chevre Dressing.
Mound slaw on a platter lined with baby super greens. Serve.
Creamy Honey Tarragon Chevre Dressing
2 T tarragon vinegar (I used local Whole Apple & Vinegar Co.'s Tarragon Vinegar)
2 T plain honey (I used local Round Rock Honey)
2 T neutral oil (like grapeseed oil)
To 2T vinegar in a large mixing bowl, vigorously whisk in honey, then oil, adding in a steady, slow stream. Add softened chevre, whisking until well blended.