July 14, 2011

Kohlrabi and a Stir Fry Sauce


Have you met kohlrabi? Not as photogenic as tomatoes, eggplants, even summer squash, it lies on the table looking a bit awkward and uncertain. Bringing one home might make you feel that way too. Stems and leaves stick out of the green orb that makes up most of this vegetable while you wonder what to do with it and even whether it came from this planet. Or, maybe, you already know that kohlrabi is a brassica, from the same family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok choi, radishes and arugula. It is amazing that such a variety of vegetables can grow from the tiny, dark brassica seeds that all look similar.

Don't fear -- an alien has not invaded your kitchen (I don't know why but these strange green vegetables -- they come in purple, too -- seem to me like something that might come from outer space). You will need a knife, however, to enjoy the crisp flesh that reminds me of the best flavors of broccoli and radishes combined. Cut it open, and slice off a piece. The outer skin is tough, but the inside is almost juicy. Although you may be tempted to ask what do I do with this thing? You have options.


Eaten right off the cutting board it's a snack. You can cut it as you like and add it to any salad, or feature it in this one. I used it in a stir fry, mixed with a few other brassica cousins. The crunchiness of the kohlrabi mellowed, but even in the mix I could still pick out the pale green slices.

Brassicas prefer cooler weather, so you may have already eaten your spring kohlrabi, or it might not appear at your farmers' market until the fall. This year is our first time with a CSA share which means that instead of picking out only the produce that we frequently eat, I get to try vegetables that I haven't spent much time with. This week I made a very green stir fry with garlic, broccoli, bok choi and kohlrabi. I mixed up a sauce to add some sweetness and spice to the vegetables and tofu that I served them with. I suspect it will go well with any vegetable/protein combo but especially with whichever seasonal vegetables you have in your kitchen.


Ginger Miso Stir Fry Sauce
You might remember miso from this dressing. It adds saltiness and depth of flavor to this sauce. I love the way the slight sweetness contrasts with the green vegetables, but you could use this on any sort of stir fry. The recipe makes about a half cup of sauce, which was just the right amount for the two-person stir fry I made. If you are stir-frying larger quantities, you can easily double the recipe.

2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon miso 
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Stir fry vegetables of your choice (and a protein if you wish, I used tofu) until just cooked. Turn off heat and pour in the sauce. Stir and toss to coat and flavor the stir fry.


  1. A hybrid between broccoli and radish? That sounds fantastic.

    Thanks for a fun and educational post!

    This Good Life

  2. At least, I think that is what it tastes like. I'm not sure exactly how the kohlrabi developed, though I think it is somehow comparable to an above ground turnip.

  3. I saw this fancy vegetable many times, but did not know exactly what to make with it.
    Thank you for sharing, sounds and looks very interesting.