Mum and Dad used to grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables when we were little. There were rows of strawberries covered in black netting to keep the birds out, rows of corn that we kids would play hide and seek in, mounds of potatoes, which if I remember rightly is where I put the pitch fork through my gumboot and into my foot when I was about 10, and big bushes of black and red currants which mum would pick and cook with honey to serve over vanilla ice cream for a mid-summer treat. But one of my all-time favourite things and possibly the strangest looking of the lot, was the kohlrabi. We would pick and eat them raw the second we made it back up the hill to our house. After my parents separated it was years before I would taste a kohlrabi again. It was back when I lived in Sydney after leaving school when I was walking around the Fox Studio's farmers markets (farmers markets were just starting to take off back then) that I spotted them. There was a chef being filmed talking about kohlrabi, so I patiently waiting until he'd put it down and moved on before I quickly swooped in and grabbed a few.
Fast forward another 10 or so years to a just few weeks ago, when I spotted my much loved vegetable once again. I couldn't believe my luck, so bought a couple which we all shared, sliced into wedges, the moment we arrived home from the markets.
Kohlrabi are popular in many places throughout the world. It's very common in Vietnam, India and many places in Europe. But sadly it's still so un-known here in Australia and the same goes for back home in NZ. If you've never tried it, it tastes like the stalk of a broccoli, which just happens to be my favourite part to eat (you don't chuck your broccoli stalks do you? Please tell me you don't!). I like it best eaten raw, but it can also be cooked, either stir-fried, cooked in a curry or cooked in a little butter with garlic (the leaves can also be added here too).
I wanted to create a light, fresh and simple salad to show off the beautiful mellow flavours and crispness of the kohlrabi, but to be honest it does kinda get lost in this salad with the bold flavours of the beetroot taking over (as an after thought, I think finely shredded fennel would be even better in place of the beetroot if you have some). But, this was still a perfect salad to eat on a sunny spring day, so I thought I'd share it all the same.
I kept this super simple, but have also added a bunch of possible add-ins at the end of the recipe, should you feel like branching out. xx
kohlrabi, beetroot + apple salad with parsley + lime
If you don't have kohlrabi, some finely shredded carrot, swede, turnip or celeriac would also be nice.
serves 2 or more as a side
1 medium kohlrabi (green or purple), peeled and finely shredded
1/2 medium beetroot, peeled and finely shredded
1 red apple (I used pink lady), skin on + finely shredded
a large handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
the juice of 1 lime
a good glug of extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt, to taste
Combine everything in a large bowl, season well with fine sea salt and serve immediately.
Other add-ins that would be nice; toasted pumpkin, sesame or sunflower seeds, crumbled feta, finely chopped chives or spring onion, finely chopped chilli, mint leaves, currants, toasted walnuts.