Cathrin's Kohlrabi & Chickpea Salad
My friend Cathrin is a fantastic cook, and every meal at her house is a special invitation! She does an especially great job creating interesting salads with ingredients that stretch my palate in a lovely way. This delicious summer salad is the perfect example. I mean, when was the last time you used kohlrabi?!
Good news if kohlrabi isn’t available or you’re not quite there yet . . . you can use shredded green cabbage as an alternative. Trader Joe’s and many grocery stores sell packages of cabbage that are ready to go, making this salad especially approachable on a weeknight after a long day . . . and the leftover salad might even be better at lunch the next day!
Why try kohlrabi? Well, for starters, it’s a mild, slightly sweet root vegetable with hints of pepper, cucumber and radish. My kids loved it! (I have to say, I was super impressed when the commentary as they tried the salad was something like, “Mom, this is SO much more tasty than your usual salads.” What the heck?! But then they cleaned their plates . . . )
Another reason to consider kohlrabi: it’s a cancer-fighting phytochemical powerhouse in the cruciferous vegetable family along with cousins cabbage, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. Cruciferous vegetables are helpful for prevention of cancer because of compounds like isothiocyanates (ITCs). One ITC that gets a lot of attention is indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is especially helpful for hormonal cancers, like breast and cervical cancer, due to its effect on estrogen and other hormones.
Kohlrabi is available year-round. Use its leaves like you would kale or collards. The leaves also have that sweeter flavor characteristic of the bulb. You can store kohlrabi in the fridge until you’re read to use. The outside of the bulb is covered in a flexible layer that is inedible, so peel it just before using in a recipe.
In addition to being crunchy and sweet in its raw form, kohlrabi is also delicious cooked. As a child, Cathrin often ate kohlrabi that was steamed and then served with a sauce along with her other vegetables and protein. Try it sautéed, steamed or mashed. What a delightful alternative to traditional mashed potatoes!
I love salads with lots of herb flavor, so I’m aggressive with mint and basil in this salad. If you’re just getting into cooking with these flavors, then try smaller amounts of herb to start.
2 cups shredded kohlrabi, peeled and shredded/julienned
1 cup shredded carrot
½ - 1 cup mint, chopped
½ - 1 cup basil, chopped
½ cup soaked raisins (golden are so pretty!)
1 cup cooked chick peas, either straight from the can (rinse first) or crisped up in the oven or on your stove top with a bit of olive oil
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup lemon juice
Salt & pepper, to taste
1. Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a cup. Toss with salad and serve.
Also excellent prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, or as leftovers. Yay!