Kohlrabi. It’s one of those alien-like vegetables that I avoid eye contact with when I’m walking down the produce line. Remember that scene from E.T., when his face shows up in the middle of all the stuffed animals? It’s like that. Eeeek.
What is kohlrabi, anyway? The name is a fun combination of German/Swiss words for cabbage and turnip, which is perfectly descriptive. It’s a knobby, imperfectly round, tennis ball-shaped vegetable with a spout of leaves, which makes it looks like a turnip from Jupiter.
Kohlrabi comes in green or purple, but the flesh is white either way. Its dense insides remind me of a broccoli stalk. It smells kind of radish and tastes ambiguously cruciferous.
I almost couldn’t find kohlrabi at the store, but I finally spied one sad, limp bunch and took it home with me. I used a vegetable peeler to peel off the rough brown spots and sliced it up, along with an apple. The crisp radish/sweet apple thing seemed a little odd at first, but soon I couldn’t resist snacking on it.
Then I added some fresh tarragon, which has the most wonderful lemon-licorice flavor to it, as well as toasted sunflower seeds, lemon and olive oil. It was good. Strangely good. Crisp, sweet, a little savory. I added some Gouda cheese on a whim, after the photo shoot, and that cheese took the salad into this-salad-is-not-safe-around-me territory. I’d recommend adding Gouda if you’re a cheese eater. This kohlrabi salad/slaw makes a great light side salad for warm fall days.
The recipe comes from a new book called Cooking with Seeds: 100 Delicious Recipes for the Foods You Love, Made with Nature’s Most Nutrient-Dense Ingredients by Charlyne Mattox. It’s filled with creative ways to add seeds to both familiar and more exotic recipes. I expected a seed-focused book to utilize more whole grains and a little less butter, but it’s probably more approachable as written. Check it out if you’d like to learn how to work more seeds into your diet!
Crispy Apple and Kohlrabi Salad
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
This super simple kohlrabi salad features honeycrisp apple, lemon, tarragon and olive oil! It’s a delicious and unique fall side salad. You’ll love it! Recipe yields 4 side servings or 2 large.
- 2 small kohlrabi (about 1 pound, I used the green variety but purple would be prettier), cut into matchsticks about ¼″ wide
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple (about ½ pound), cored and cut into matchsticks about ¼″ wide
- ⅓ cup grated gouda cheese (optional, not shown)
- ¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves
- 3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds*
- Lemon zest, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- Flaky sea salt (like Maldon) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large serving bowl, combine the kohlrabi and apple matchsticks. Add the cheese, if using, and the tarragon leaves and sunflower seeds. Shave lemon zest liberally over the bowl (I probably used about half of a small lemon’s worth or more).
- Drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, then sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper. Use your hands to gently toss the salad, then add another drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice if the salad seems dry. Finish with another light sprinkle of salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Cooking with Seeds by Charlyne Mattox, with permission.
*How to toast your own sunflower seeds: If you only have raw, unsalted sunflower seeds at home (like me), toast them in a small skillet over medium heat with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until they’re turning lightly golden on the edges, about 5 minutes.
Storage suggestions: This salad keeps well for a day or two, provided that you use enough lemon juice to prevent oxidation (I used closer to 2 tablespoons and day-old leftovers were still great).
Make it dairy free/vegan: Skip the optional cheese.
▸ Nutrition Information
Bookmarked – this looks delicious, and right up my street. I love both apple and kohlrabi (have you tried it with honey vinaigrette? http://www.rachelphipps.com/2015/01/lunchtime-notes-crunchy-winter-salad.html) in my Autumn salads!
I haven’t, but your honey vinaigrette sounds awesome! Love honey in dressings.
Fabulous! A lovely alternative to coleslaw :).
This looks great. I never tasted kohlrabi raw, I always use it in soups. I will give this salad a try, to expand my palate.
Interesting! Now I need to try cooking kohlrabi.
I love raw kohlrabi but it is equally delicious when cooked with some béchamel sauce. We usually pair it with meat but i guess it would go well with a vegetable paddy aswell.
Ohhh, that sounds fantastic.
Amy - Parsley In My Teeth
The tarragon leaves look so lovely in this salad. Sounds like a great combination of ingredients!
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet
I love the sound of biting into crisp apples and I love this recipe! Pinning!
I’m never sure what to do with kohlrabi. Now the next time I see it in the store I’ll have to give it a try.
Wow ! What a very interesting vegetable kohlrabi is. I definitely will be looking out for it here in South Africa. I must say, the salad sounds lovely with all that crunch and crispness and the tarragon just an added plus. Have a great week. :-)
Thanks, Lynne! Hope you can find some!
Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
I’ve seen Kohlrabi but haven’t been brave enough to put it in my cart. This looks easy and delicious. Will have to try this week. Love the way you cut everything in matchsticks.
Thanks, Karen! Hope you love it!
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
Yep, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever made eye contact with kohlrabi either. But the sound of this salad sure makes me want to hunt some down! Honeycrisps and gouda are enough to win me over. :)
That book sounds awesome too! I feel like seeds are one of those things in a plant-based diet that can be so versatile. I would love to learn more about the different ways they can be used.
Katie @ Veggie and the Beast
I’m with you – kohlrabi is one of the few vegetables I just ignore completely. We got kohlrabi in our CSA last week and I had NO idea what to do with it. This looks great! Love the idea of adding gouda.
Right?! I figured I should offer a kohlrabi recipe for exactly that reason.
rachel @ athletic avocado
i need to eat more savory apple recipes and this is the perfect way to do it! this would be great on the side with a turkey burger for dinner!
jaime / the briny
kohlrabi is one of my favorites and i’m always looking for more ways to eat it. i’ve never had it raw, so i really look forward to trying this! thanks!
Perfect! Thanks, Jaime. Let me know how it turns out for you!
I love apples in a salad, but I think most people underrate them. I made an Italian salad once, but no one other than me liked it. Tossing a few pieces of apple is a great way to add crisp, sweetness and lightness to every salad, and the Italian salad has mayo in it… I just don’t get it. Maybe I don’t cook enough diverse meals and my boys are simply not used to new things.
I love apples in salads, too! I hope your boys come around to them. :)
Alexa @ Sweet Little Kitchen
I’ve been slightly afraid of trying kohlrabi. But I love how approachable and tasty this recipe looks! A vegetable that goes well with apples and gouda is always worth trying . . .
I had my first experience with kohlrabi recently whilst making a slaw by Yotam Ottolenghi. It was excellent! This vegetable proved a bit elusive, but I finally found it at Whole Foods. However, the next time I visited their store, it was unavailable. I encourage folks to try kohlrabi, but suggest calling your grocer ahead of time to determine availability. I’m planning to try your recipe next!
Thanks, Deb! That’s a great tip! I got lucky and found that one bunch of kohlrabi at the grocery store nearest me.
so into salads with extra crunch these days! will have to try this asap!
I know this probably says a lot more about me than it does the recipe, but the first thing I thought of was how the judges on Chopped always love this kind of thing. “So smart to add the apple/kohlrabi for freshness!”
dishing up the dirt
Lovely salad Kate! We grow so much damn kohlrabi on our farm (thousands of them!) and always include a recipe of the week for our CSA members so they feel inspired to cook with it more. I love this alien vegetable and you did it justice right here! My absolute favorite way to enjoy kohlrabi is in this Kohlrabi and Leek soup. It’s amazing! http://dishingupthedirt.com/recipes/soup/kohlrabi-leek-soup/
I made this salad last night ahead of time, and added the toasted seeds and cheese (gruyere) at serving time. It’s so delicious! I also traded the tarragon for mint. I will use this recipe whenever I get kohlrabi in my CSA box. Thanks!
I made this recipe a few weeks ago when we got Kohlrabi in our CSA. I didn’t have tarragon but I had mint so I used that and feta and it was wonderful! Plan on doing it again this week! Thanks!
I substituted rosemary for the tarragon and it turned out really good. I have never eaten kohlrabi raw and I enjoyed it. Thank you for the recipe
Did you peel the kohlrabi? I used purple from our garden, but peeled it because the skin is tough, so it looked the same as green. I also used fresh garden thyme in place of the tarragon and some sharp cheddar from the farmers market. I think Gouda would have been better! I might try a cranberry dressing next time.
question – what is kohlrabi? and is there a substitute for it? Never heard and not sure if I can get it where I live
Hey Lad, I’m not sure what I would substitute for it. I’ve included pictures and a description in the post.
While it’s a little crisper, the flavor of kohlrabi reminds me of broccoli stalk. You could give that a try…
I haven’t tried your recipes yet but I love to check out your photos. The food is so pretty I want to frame it! Great job! I look forward to finding the time to try one of your pretty recipes. Sincerely, Sharon C. Thomas
Thank you very much, Sharon! Hope they taste as good as they look. :)
Megan at Lush to Blush
This sounds so different but so delish!
How do you think this would work with jicama instead of kohlrabi? I like the less cabbagey taste and smell of jicama better and am always looking for new ways to enjoy it.
That’s a good question! I bet it would work well. Please let me know if you try.
I bought a giant kohlrabi from a farmers market because it looked so fresh and was calling my name. I started searching what to do with it and came here to try this interesting slaw, and boy does this hit it out of the park! I did make some substitutions based on what I had on hand, but I think that’s what recipes are for, starting points. I used the kohlrabi, a gala apple, julienned provolone cheese, a finely minced wedge of preserved lemon, extra virgin olive oil, and a couple grinds of black pepper. It is so refreshing, crunchy, delicious, and a totally different and pleasurable taste on my palate. Thanks so much!
Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Lita! Produce calls my name all the time, too– I’m glad I’m not the only one. ;)
I didn’t have tarragon or sesame seeds, but followed the rest of the recipe. I also chopped in the Kohlrabi leaves. I gave my son a taste of a Kohlrabi matchstick before dressing it. He grimaced. But the salad totally transformed it, and it elevated our 4th of July barbecue to another level. (I also made barbecued chicken legs for the first time ever. The two were a great complement to one another). I couldn’t believe how much salad 2 Kohlrabis yielded – I was eating this salad for a better part of a week, and enjoying it the whole time.
Great! I’m so glad the kohlrabi was a hit. Sounds like a great party!
This was surprisingly excellent! Great combo of tastes.
Loved it. Thank you Kate. Couldn’t stop eating it.
Winning! Thank you, Lynn. I appreciate you taking the time to review and comment.
I absolutely love your recipe! I am writing vegetarian recipe round ups on my blog in 2018 (to encourage people to try meatless monday- everyone has to start somewhere) and would love to feature you. You can check out my blog (for beginner environmentalists). Is it alright if I share this link to your recipe?
Hi! Thanks so much, Barbara. Yes, you can link to my recipe. Please follow my recipe sharing policy here:https://cookieandkate.com/cookie-and-kates-photo-and-recipe-policy/
I made this recipe. I used dried tarragon and pepitas as I didn’t have fresh tarragon & sunflower seeds. Left out the cheese as I didn’t have gouda and went dairy free.I didn’t feel it needed the oil, either, so cut out the fat calories. It was very good & I’ll make it again & am sure it will be even better with fresh tarragon.
Thanks for sharing your variation, Carol. I appreciate it!
This is actually really good and a great, interesting side. I added a carrot for a bit of color too. I didn’t add cheese and don’t think it needed it anyway.
Also I should add kohlrabi is easy and cheap to grow from seeds!
So refreshing, and elegant! Left out the cheese, but added a fennel bulb, thinly sliced.
Thanks for sharing, Andrea!
Great recipe! I substituted toasted sesame seeds and fresh basil from my garden since I didn’t have sunflower seeds or tarragon. I also added some red cabbage since I had some that needed to be used up and it sounded like it would pair well with the rest of the ingredients. It was delicious and refreshing and a definite “do-over”! The recipe is now bookmarked!
Thank you, Amy!
This is delicious! I used basil and pumpkin seeds! Loved it!
Thanks for the review, Mary!
I tried creating this when I returned home from a long hot day, the crisp and tartness of it was just what I needed! I didn’t have any Gouda (not a huge fan, a bit too overpowering for me) but had some goat cheese and toasted almonds on hand. Delicious! I love when you can really taste every element of the dish. Thank you for this new appreciation!
Thank you for sharing!
This recipe is a keeper! I am new to Kholrabi and our community farm share (Von Thun) suggested this site. I have not stopped making it since.
Great to hear, Jolie!
I absolutely love kohlrabi and where I am from (Germany) it is sold everywehre and easy to get. I love this salad but usually make it with mint and cilantro and use shaved parmigiano or pecorino instead of gouda; sharper cheese adds much for interesting flavors. Kohlrabi is also great eaten raw with all sorts of dips (hummus, joghurt etc).
Thank you for sharing, Barb!
This was my first time eating kohlrabi.
I have to say it was great! Light and refreshing. My entire family of semi picky eaters loved it. Definitely a repeat recipe.
BTY… You can’t substitute Gouda with Munster cheese.
This salad is delicious!
Great recipe! I used plain raw sunflower seeds, no cheese. Came out great! Will definitely become a regular in our salad rotation.
Thanks for sharing, Sarah!
I loved this so much! I always find myself on your site when searching for recipes by ingredient, and am always happy with the results. I couldn’t find any fresh tarragon at my small/local grocery store this time so I used a little dried tarragon, then added some color with ribboned spinach leaves and a few carrot matchsticks. Also subbed pepitas for the sunflower seeds. It was so fresh and appetizing! Any cheese substitutes that you’d recommend if gouda is unavailable?
Great way to adjust! You could try Monterey Jack, Muenster, or Gruyere.
Great salad, thanks!
I love this recipe! It’s so tasty and fresh! I’ve also added raw white turnip which adds another dimension. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I really liked this. It’s my new go-to for kohlrabi.
My oh my, this sounds delightful and I’m sorry I didn’t grow kohlrabi this year in the garden. But I have lots of apples! I’ll make it for certain! Thanks Kate!
Delicious. I added some fennel bulb too.
I made a version of this last night as I was looking for kohlrabi recipes after my husband came home from the farmers market with a kohlrabi the size of my 4 year old’s head. I added some ACV and sherry vinegar along with lemon and oil and didn’t use tarragon as I didn’t have it. I do have tarragon vinegar I may try next time. Had it with roasted chicken and roasted vegetables. My 1 and 4 year olds loved this slaw! They couldn’t get enough! It was excellent, such a great combination.
I’m glad you found a recipe to use it for! Thank you for your review, Anna.
I’ve made this Twice already it is so fresh and crunchy a perfect winter salad that pleases everyone who tastes it!
Last night I forgot to add cheese and it was Still outstaNding, good to know for my vegan friends….
I recommended this salad to a stranger at the grocery store and what do you know she bought a kohlrabi and apples!
Thanks for helping me and others to overcome our fear of Kohlrabi!
My husband made this recipe the other day. I couldn’t find kohlrabi, so he made it with a fennel bulb. It came out great, I would definitely recommend that as a good substitute.
Yum! Made this tonight and it was quick and delicious. Adding the gouda is an inspired touch! Our 5yo ate it, too, with a bit of prompting. Thanks for another great recipe!
You’re welcome, Christine! Thank you for your review.
Will the Crispy Apple and Kohlrabi salad keep for any amount of time? I make it at home and take it to a pot luck meal about 45 minutes away.
I had never had Kohlrabi before so I was anxious to try this recipe. It was delicious. Such a great combination of flavours! I had no tarragon or sunflower seeds so I substituted fennel and pumpkin seeds. Tasted great and so easy.
I used twice as much lemon juice and also took an extra step and chopped the apple and kholrabi down using the chop function of a food processor. I just pulsed two or three times and had spoon friendly sized pieces.
Do you peel the kohlrabi?
Hi, see the process photos as there is still the peel on it. Just cut it into matchsticks. Trimming off the harder layers, of course. I hope that helps!
Crispy apple and kohlrabi salad
Yummy, didn’t realize how good kohlrabi was. Got one at farmers market along with fennel. Followed your recipe minus cheese due to allergy and added the fennel. Loved the flavors. Husband did as well. He added cheese to his. Thank you!
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Edwina!
I liked this recipe even in summer. Tried a bit with Kaseri cheese- it was nice. Also tried a bit with strawberry slices-pretty and tasty
I think making a vinaigrette may be a good idea too as mentioned in another review.
My hubby’s is not a big fan of fruit so I left out the apple and this was delicious. Thanks for a great recipe.
You’re welcome, Regan!
Haven’t made this recipe, but thought I’d share what I did with both kohlrabi and fennel bulb, fresh from our own garden. As I was prepping it I thought of adding apple… but the quantity was going to defeat the two of us. However I added the peeled stems of asparagus (the bits you usually discard, that were crisp but not tough), spring onions (also out of the garden), and dressed it with lemon zest, and my *yoghurt and honey dressing*.
** I cup of greek yogurt, one tablespoon of honey, 1 tsp cumin, (omitted this time around as I was serving with a dish I didn’t want to add cumin to).
Going to try roasting my kolhrabi tonight. Stir fried it last week with normal stir-fry veges. It’s very versatile and international!
I love this salad but can I use dried tarragon instead of fresh? If so, how much would you suggest I try? Thank you!
Hi Anne, reference my 50 Pantry-Friendly Recipes & Substitutions That Work for substituting fresh and dried.
I’m making this salad tonight!
I hope you loved it, Mary!
So Kate, We had our first Kohlrabi ever and this recipe was yummy!! I had a large purple kohlrabi which was so crisp and snappy like the Green Apple, and the kohlrabi was so mild, it was just lovely. The vinaigrette was perfect, I only had dried tarragon so I used 2 Tbsp mixed to the oil/lemon and zest, perfect and loved the toasted sunflower seed, they really add a depth of flavour to the nice light and refreshing salad. Excellent recipe, Well done! Thanks so much! Linda V. BTW, I have been making your Tzatziki sauce regularly for a few years now… I actually use it as a side salad it’s that good! LOL!
Thank you for sharing, Linda! I’m happy to hear that.
I made this today and I could not stop eating. The crispy veg and the creamy cheese. The perfect mix of sweet (apple), the peppery hints of the kohlrabi, the subtle licorice of tarragon, the toasted flavour of the seeds, the freshness of lemon and the umami of the cheese. Oh. My. Goodness. Perfection!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Malin!
Made this today! Amazing! Highly recommend! I didn’t add in the optional cheese, but only because I didn’t have any. I’ll definitely make this again.
Great to hear, Jamie! I appreciate your review.