Simple Kohlrabi Salad w/Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette

by Maja Lukic


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I am in love with this little summer salad. I didn’t think I would be because it’s so simple but that really is its charm.

It's so light and refreshing that I now keep it in the fridge and snack on it throughout the week. It's the perfect summer meal on a warm night. You need this, maybe some wine or good, crusty bread, and very little else. If you need something more substantial, though, I imagine it would complement grilled seafood very well.

I was inspired to use kohlrabi after reading about it in Deborah Madison's very excellent Vegetable Literacy and, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that this is my first time working with it. I'm an instant fan. It's such a light and crisp vegetable that it really makes for the ultimate salad ingredient.

The vinaigrette is adapted from Vegetable Literacy. In her book, Madison suggests Meyer lemons, which I did not have but if you do have some, please use them. If the dressing seems a little too tart and lemony at first, don't worry - the kohlrabi really needs a bright dressing. It has this subdued flavor that can stand up to bright citrus, mustard, and herbs.

Simple Kohlrabi Salad w/Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette (v/gf)

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as an appetizer

Salad:

1 lb kohlrabi (3-4 medium or 4-5 small kohlrabies)

1 large tomato, chopped

a large handful of flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and chopped 1 avocado, chopped (optional)

sea salt, to taste

Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette:

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 medium or 1/2 large shallot, finely chopped

1-2 tsp Dijon mustard

3-5 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

To prepare the vinaigrette:

Put the chopped shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes and then whisk in the mustard and olive oil.

After about three tablespoons of oil, start tasting the vinaigrette and adjust to suit your tastes. You will probably find that 4-5 tablespoons is sufficient. I tend to use less oil because I like brighter vinaigrettes. I would not add more oil than that, however, because, as I mentioned above, the kohlrabi is fairly subtle (reminiscent of broccoli stems or raw cauliflower) and needs a citrusy dressing.

Same with the Dijon mustard: I prefer more mustard so I usually add 2 tsp but do a taste test. If 1 tsp is already offensive to your nostrils, friend, do not go further!

To make the salad:

If the kohlrabies are young and tender, you do not have to peel them according to Madison. If, like the kohlrabies I had, they are older and less than tender, you should slice off the skins. Cut the kohlrabies into fine julienne (or as fine as you can). The easiest way to do this is to slice them thinly first and then stack the slices like a deck of cards, cutting them into matchsticks. If you have a mandoline and, unlike me, are not afraid to use it, do that.

Toss the kohlrabi with the tomatoes, parsley leaves, and vinaigrette. You probably will not need all of the vinaigrette but you will use at least half. The avocado is optional but it adds a nice creamy element and makes for a more substantial salad. Taste for salt, then serve.