Who looks like a turnip, tastes similar to a sweet and crisp broccoli stem, has a texture reminiscent of a water chestnut, and is actually a member of the brassica family? Kohlrabi, that’s who! If you’ve never been introduced to this fun looking vegetable you’re in for a treat.
Kohlrabi comes in two lovely shades, light green or a less common purple. The squat ‘bulb’ is actually a swollen stem, and the leaves and long stalks are edible, too. Like all the cruciferous fam it’s highly nutritious, rich in vitamins and minerals. It is great prepared both cooked and raw, and the mellow flavours are delicious solo or melded with stronger seasonings.
Kohlrabi is one of the many vegetables that you can eat from end-to-end. The bulbous stem portion I personally love raw, particularly with the balmy summer weather on our doorsteps. I like to quickly cook the green leaves, as it makes them easier to digest and softens their flavour. As we're coming into a celebratory and luckily social time of year here I also thought it would be fun to play with something that can seem a touch fancier but is still fairly simple, to be shared with loved ones.
When sliced really thinly, kohlrabi has a somewhat translucent quality that is so lovely. It reminded me of fresh pasta sheets held up to the light. When those paper thin slices are filled with dollops of rich, creamy cultured hemp cashew cheese they become something special. Placed against a backdrop of beautiful green kohlrabi leaf pesto sauce they look stellar and taste even better.
And the great thing is you can create all the elements individually- the fermented cashew cheese, the kohlrabi leaf pesto, slices of raw kohlrabi- and if you're not feeling too fancy shmancy creative you can simply eat it like carrot sticks, scooping up the dip.
1 whole Kohlrabi
3/4 cup Raw Cashews
1/4 cup Hemp Seeds
1 tablespoon ACV
1 teaspoon Miso
2 Garlic Cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
Greens from 1 Kohlrabi
3 tablespoons Hemp or Olive Oil
1/4 cup Hemp Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt, to taste
The How To:
For the Cultured Hemp Cashew Cheese Spread:
I’ve used lightly cultured hemp cashew cheese in these, which requires a bit of time to let the fermenting do its magic. So first things first, soak the raw cashews in hot water for at least 4 hours, then rinse and put in a blender along with hemp seeds, ACV, miso, garlic, onion powder and nutritional yeast. Add juuust enough water to allow the mixture to process- I used about 3/4 cup, but begin with less; you don’t want your mixture too wet and soupy. It’ll likely take a few stop-starts and scraping the mix down, in order to get it to a smooth consistency. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly velvety smooth, as making this ‘cheese’ is less pedantic than other cashew based foods. Think more ricotta, less cream cheese. Once the cashew chunks have disappeared and the mixture is blended, scrape into a bowl and set on a countertop covered by a light cloth for the day to allow the good bacteria to do their thing.
For the Kohlrabi Hemp Pesto Sauce:
Cut the stems from the kohlrabi. Dice the stems finely and chop the leaves. Lightly cook the greens until softened. In a blender place cooked greens, hemp seeds and oil, sea salt and about 3 tablespoons water. Whiz until a smooth dreamy green sauce appears, slowly adding more water/oil as necessary. This is a saucier version of traditional pesto.
For the Kohlrabi Paper Moons:
Peel the ‘bulb’; the outer thick skin is tough and fibrous. You want the tender inner. Then, using a careful hand with a sharp knife or mandolin, slice the thinnest rounds you’re able from the peeled kohlrabi. Continue until you’ve sliced the whole globe into opaque moons.
Place a round of kohlrabi down, spoon hemp cashew cheese in the centre, then gently press another round over, lightly sandwiching it together. Continue until all rounds are filled.
Here’s the fun creative part: On a plate arrange the filled kohlrabi against/beside/atop/around the kohlrabi pesto sauce. Stack ‘em. Fan them like cards. Perfectly symmetrical. Abstract. Garnish as you’re inspired.
(OR to heck with all the above arty business; chop that kohlrabi into thicker rounds or sticks and dip it like a chip.)
Update: these taste even better the following day!
-You will have extra Hemp Cashew Cheese Spread, and that’s a great thing. It’s delicious as a dip, sandwich or wrap spread, filling, whatever. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks. The flavour will continue to deepen as it slowly cultures further. Yum.
- Also likely you’ll have leftover kohlrabi pesto. Toss with vegetables or pasta, top your savoury breakfast, drizzle over salad bowl. Good green stuff.
-Snap a photo and share your version of my recipes! Tag @streamsidecollective and @nakedcakesandwholefoods on Facebook and Instagram so we can be inspired by you!
Created by Elena Keir of Naked Cakes & Wholefoods