By Danielle French

Winter side dishes – the humble Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is a vegetable that is not on many menus around Pontypool, or for that matter anywhere else that I’ve been to lately. I’ve shared recipes about this vegetable before but this one is from my Godmother, Renate. I’m here with her in Germany for my annual visit and appreciate the immersion into her life, local food and culture.

Kohlrabi is said to be like the German turnip. It belongs to the cabbage family and is high in vitamins B, C and Calcium and Magnesium. In my opinion, it has a mild flavour and doesn’t have a particular taste, rather takes on the flavour of what it is being cooked with. 

My mother made kohlrabi when I was little, cutting the peeled kohlrabi into slices and baking them with butter, sometimes cheese on top. I usually make soup, cooking chunks with butter, onions and chicken or vegetable broth and a potato for thickening and then using a blender to puree the mixture topping with fresh parsley. Kohlrabi is most often a side dish with a delicate flavour.  

Renate uses a mandoline type slicer to grate the kohlrabi, then cooks it covered, in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and butter and then adds a generous grating of whole nutmeg and fresh parsley. I had the leftovers heated for breakfast – much to her horror! I love this vegetable for any meal. And it is so healthy!

Side dish – Kohlrabi

3 or 4 medium size kohlrabi, peeled and grated into 2” x ½ strips or whatever your grater allows.

½  onion, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg or freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt, generous pinch pepper to taste

¼ cup chopped parsley (I like the Italian flat leaf)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 – 2 tablespoons butter 

In a medium size pot on medium heat, melt both fats together and add the onion. Let the onion soften in the pot for about 3 minutes cooking slowly. Add the grated kohlrabi and stir until combined. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the kohlrabi is tender. You should not need any liquid, the water from the vegetable steams under cover from the pot. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. This can be made ahead of time and then when you are ready to serve, heat the vegetable covered and just before serving, add the parsley. 

If you have left overs, they can be added to stock, carrots, potatoes and simmered together and then pureed with an immersion blender for a delicious winter comfort soup.


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