Make this colorful, easy salad with kohlrabi noodles! Spiralized kohlrabi noodles make a healthy salad base to pair with fresh, crispy vegetables like red cabbage, red pepper, carrots, radishes and green onion all tossed with a Thai inspired vinaigrette. Enjoy as a crunchy side dish or add a simple protein like tofu, edamame or shrimp for a simple & healthy meal.
What’s your favorite cuisine?
If I had to pick just one, while I’m not sure I could confidently call it my favorite, I think Thai is the one I’d choose if forced to live on it for the rest of my life.
I just love all the bright lemongrass, ginger and cilantro flavors that permeate almost every dish. Tom Kha Gai soup anyone? Loveeee.
Or how about this Thai red curry soup with noodles? A mashup between curry and a noodle dish.
So when I found myself with some kohlrabi that I needed an idea for, this Thai inspired kohlrabi noodle salad is what came to mind since I wasn’t feeling my usual go to approach – roasted kohlrabi.
WHAT IS KOHLRABI?
If you’ve never seen this odd looking vegetable, let me tell you about it! Kohlrabi is another cultivar from the broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts species. When you taste it, this will make sense.
It’s also sometimes referred to as a “German turnip” even though it’s not the same species as the turnip.
You may see both the purple and light green varieties. They taste the same and the purple color is solely superficial. The flesh of both is the same lighter color.
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw (like in this salad recipe!) or cooked.
The leaves on top are also edible but unless they’re very young and tender, it’s best to cook them like you would other leafy greens – a simple sautéed preparation like Simple Sautéed Swiss Chard would be perfect.
Or, make these sautéed kohlrabi greens with bacon!
WHAT DOES KOHLRABI TASTE LIKE?
If I had to describe the taste of kohlrabi, I’d say it’s somewhere in between jicama and broccoli with a hint of cauliflower.
Let me explain…
The texture of raw kohlrabi is very jicama like, aka: crunchy and very refreshing.
The taste, however, is a little stronger than jicama’s neutral flavor and leans more in the direction of a broccoli or cauliflower stem with a hint of cabbage. It’s slightly sweeter and less vegetable/earthy tasting though than its cruciferous counterparts.
Interesting right? It’s one of those things, you sort of just have to try for yourself!
HOW TO EAT KOHLRABI
ENJOY IT RAW
Just like we will today in this kohlrabi recipe, it’s a great crunchy addition to any cold salad.
You can even slice it into matchsticks and dip in hummus for a snack.
Roasting is probably my favorite way to enjoy most vegetables and kohlrabi is no outlier in this.
It brings out a certain sweetness when the outside of the vegetable caramelizes that just can’t be mimicked in any other preparation.
Roasting also tones down strong flavors in many vegetables (which is why roasting radishes is my favorite way to enjoy those) so if you find the raw flavor of kohlrabi to be too strong for your liking, roasting is a great option!
A simple toss in avocado oil, salt, pepper and maybe some granulated garlic in a 400-425°F oven for about 20-25 minutes is always a great fallback method.
Kohlrabi is a great option for soup!
Cut it up in chunks and add to a hearty soup like minestrone or replace the potatoes in this Reuben Soup for a lower carb option.
I love making mashed vegetable concoctions as a side dish or a base to a stew or chili like Instant Pot Beef and Mushroom Stew.
The beauty of vegetable mashes is you can be creative.
I will often throw potatoes, cauliflower and another root vegetable (like parsnips or turnips) in a steamer until fork tender then blend them together in a food processor with some milk, butter/oil and seasonings for a mashed side dish. Kohlrabi is perfect for this preparation.
If you want to try it, use the recipe for Celery Root Puree swapping out kohlrabi instead.
Ok, now that we have the basics of the vegetable down, let’s talk about this kohlrabi noodle salad recipe!
While I resisted buying a spiralizer for many years, you should know by now that I just love it.
It’s totally worth having another kitchen gadget to store and it’s my favorite way to prepare kohlrabi if I’m going to eat it raw.
I mean honestly, curly noodles make any vegetable more fun, right?
HOW TO MAKE KOHLRABI NOODLES
- First, trim the kohlrabi by cutting off the leafy stems so you’re left with just the bulb.
- Thinly slice off the end(s) of the vegetable if there’s any scarring or tough spots.
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel off a thin layer of the exterior flesh.
- Attach kohlrabi to your
spiralizerusing the largest noodle setting.
- Keep pressure on the
spiralizer(it’ll take a little elbow grease to spiralize versus something softer like zucchini) while turning to create the kohlrabi noodles.
ASSEMBLE THE SALAD
Now that we have our kohlrabi noodles, add them to a large bowl with the rest of the prepared vegetables.
I used thinly sliced red cabbage, red Bell pepper (any color will do), a seeded jalapeño for some heat (optional), sliced radishes, shredded carrots and sliced green onions.
It’s actually a lot similar to this bok choy salad in ingredients and dressing!
Lots of fresh cilantro and both black and white sesame seeds can be added at the end for garnish.
MAKE THE THAI VINAIGRETTE DRESSING
To prepare the dressing, simply whisk together all the following ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup to pour over the kohlrabi noodle salad before serving:
- avocado oil
- sesame oil
- rice vinegar
- soy sauce (gf options in recipe details below)
- honey (vegan options in recipe details below)
- lime juice
- lemongrass paste
- ginger puree (or minced ginger)
- minced garlic
If you don’t have these ingredients on hand or simply don’t want to make the dressing (hey, I have lazy days too!), just use your favorite store-bought Asian flavored dressing!
The big flavors in this recipe are sesame, soy and lime – most Asian inspired dressings have those components.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THAI KOHLRABI NOODLE SALAD
If you want to make a meal of this kohlrabi salad recipe, you can easily add some shelled edamame, grilled/cooked shrimp or crispy tofu to it for some protein.
If you’re not feeding a crowd and have leftover salad, this keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
All the raw vegetables will retain their crunch and freshness so you can easily enjoy this after the first day.
MORE SALADS LIKE THIS:
Thai Kohlrabi Noodle Salad
FOR THE SALAD
- 2 kohlrabi, spiralized into noodles
- 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 large radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- sesame seeds for garnish
FOR THE DRESSING
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, *see note for GF substitutes
- 1 tablespoon honey, **see note for vegan substitutes
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon pureed, or minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon water
- Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl and toss together.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl. Pour over the salad and toss until well coated.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and lime wedges.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.