Beet and Kohlrabi Slaw is the perfect combination of sweet beets, spicy kohlrabi, and tart apples. Fresh, crisp, and crunchy, enjoy this vibrant and delicious slaw mixed with fresh citrus juice, creamy feta, and sunflower seeds as a healthy side dish, light lunch, or added to your favorite tacos.
I first learned about kohlrabi while living in Germany as an Au Pair. I was asked to chop a strange and unfamiliar looking vegetable to serve with lunch. I quickly learned that this vegetable had a name – kohlrabi – and that it is extremely popular in German-speaking countries.
This delicious beet and kohlrabi slaw is a perfect introduction to this vegetable for anyone who has wanted to try this strange-looking vegetable but hasn’t known what to do with it.
A perfect blend of earthy, sweet, spicy, refreshing, and salty, this simple, yet surprisingly flavorful vegetarian and gluten-free slaw has a little something for everyone. Ready in just 15 minutes, it’s easy to enjoy this bright and colorful salad with healthy baked chicken, tacos, or as a light snack.
What is Kohlrabi
Commonly referred to as the German Turnip, Kohlrabi received its name from German words Kohl (“cabbage”) with Rübe (“turnip”) due to its cabbage-like leaves and because the swollen bulb-like stem resembles a turnip. A popular vegetable in German-speaking countries, Kohlrabi is also common in American states with large ancestral German populations, northern parts of Vietnam, and in eastern parts of India.
Despite its similar shape and common name, kohlrabi is in no way a root vegetable (it’s grown above ground) and is not related to the turnip. It is, however, related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, and Savoy cabbage.
Light green, white, or purple, it has a taste and texture similar to that of a broccoli stem (though I find it to be somewhat more complex than that with an equal mix of spicy, peppery, sweet, always crisp and crunchy). Delicious steamed, sauteed, roasted, pureed, or raw, all parts of the kohlrabi can be eaten.
Is kohlrabi healthy?
As a whole, kohlrabi is low in overall calories, fat, and carbohydrates, but filled with gut happy fiber, potassium, and is absolutely jam-packed with Vitamin C. In addition, it is believed that this fine vegetable can help manage blood pressure and improve heart health (both thanks to the high levels of Potassium).
Per 1 cup (135 grams)–
- Fat- 0.1 g
- Carbohydrates- 8 g
- Fiber- 4.9 g
- Sugar- 3.5 g
- Protein- 2.3 g
- Potassium- 473 mg
- Vitamin C- 139% (more than oranges!)
How to Peel Kohlrabi
Depending on how you plan to enjoy kohlrabi, you may or may not find it necessary to peel yours. That said, the outer skin is typically less sweet, woodier, and tougher, so I do recommend that you peel at least the very outer skin when making this beet and kohlrabi slaw.
- First, cut off any greens that may still be attached. Feel free to wash the fresh greens and use in a salad, sauté them in the same way you would spinach, or add them to a big pot of soup.
- Next, use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to carefully peel the skin – you’ll notice that the interior flesh of the kohlrabi is white, while the outer skin is light green.
- Cut in half and discard any parts that feel spongy or have brown spots.
And that’s all there is to it!
Of course, depending on how you plan to prepare and cook your kohlrabi will determine what you do with it next. For this beet and kohlrabi slaw, I used a box grater to shred mine, but thin matchsticks would also work.
Only awesome ingredients
Kohlrabi is one of the top three ingredients in this recipe. I added one large, peeled and grated kohlrabi. Alternatively, you may chop yours into thin matchsticks. If your kohlrabi is on the smaller side, I would add two.
- Pro-tip: grating is much faster.
Beets are the second most important ingredient. Similar to the kohlrabi, you will need to peel and grate (or chop) your raw beetroot. A couple of things to note about beets:
- This recipe calls for raw beets. They do not taste like dirt (at least I don’t think so). If you’re new to the world of beets, read all about beets in this post. Can you add cooked beets instead? Absolutely. I have not tried this personally, but I imagine it would still turn out delicious.
- Beets stain. I highly recommend wearing an apron while grating them to prevent little red specks of beet juice from getting everywhere.
Apples, of any variety, will taste great in this slaw so pick whichever is your favorite. That said, I do not recommend grating them. Even though you will be adding citrus juice, your apples will turn brown almost immediately and transform your fresh-looking salad into an old-looking one super quick. Instead, thinly sliced matchsticks are your best bet (see images).
Parsley and Green Onion add a ton of subtle flavor. Dried parsley is not recommended as a substitute, so if you find yourself without parsley, it’s better to simply leave it out. And although kohlrabi has a natural kick to it, I felt that this slaw needed a little something more to balance the sweet apples and beets and creamy feta cheese. Green onions are the perfect addition when you want onion flavor without the overwhelming onion taste.
Citrus is one of my favorite ways to really brighten up unexpecting recipes. In this recipe, you’ll want to add fresh orange juice and zest for loads of sweet (unobtrusive) flavor. You’ll also want the juice from one lime. Please, guys, only use fresh citrus juice. Concentrated stuff is no good.
- Pro-tip: use a Microplane grater to zest your orange (and any other citrus).
Sunflower seeds lend an earthy, salty, touch that blends brilliantly with all the other flavors. Technically, any nut or seed would go great in this dish, however, sunflower seeds, given their small size and mild flavor, were the obvious choice.
Feta cheese – Tangy feta with all these other crazy flavors? YES. Unless you’re vegan or sensitive to dairy- in which case, skip it.
How to make this Beet and Kohlrabi Slaw with Apples
To make this delicious slaw simply:
- Gather the ingredients and peel your vegetables- starting with the kohlrabi first followed by the beets. Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the orange zest and juice, fresh lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the grated kohlrabi and beets.
- Chop the apple into small matchsticks and add to the same bowl as the beets. Toss to combine.
- Add the chopped green onions, parsley, sunflower seeds, and feta (if using) and gently mix to combine.
Tips and Tricks
- Shredded beets will start to dry out if they are left out too long. Your best bet is to drizzle with some citrus juice shortly after grating.
- Kohlrabi bulbs will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Simply remove the leaves, scrub, and store in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Make this recipe vegan by skipping the feta cheese.
- This salad is best enjoyed immediately. Leftovers, while still good, won’t taste as fresh.
More salad recipes,
- Peach and Kohlrabi Summer Salad with Chipotle Shrimp
- Shredded Brussels Sprout Persimmon Salad
- Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Chicken and Beets
- Cucumber Salad Recipe
- Thai Meatball Lettuce Wraps with Tangy Cabbage Slaw
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Crunchy Beet and Kohlrabi Salad
- 1 large kohlrabi - peeled and finely shredded
- 2 medium raw beets - peeled an finely shredded
- 1 large apple - cored and cut into thin matchsticks (I had a Fiji apple on hand, but suggest using a Pink Lady apple or similar)
- 2 tbsp parsley - minced
- 2 green onions - chopped
- 1 orange - juiced
- 1 orange - zested
- 1 lime - juiced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt + pepper - to taste
- 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- Feta Cheese - omit for vegan/dairy-free
- Place the shredded kohlrabi, shredded beets, chopped apple, parsley, and green onion in a large salad bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the orange zest, the orange and lime juice, olive oil and salt + pepper. Gently drizzle citrus dressing over the salad and toss to mix.
- Sprinkle the salad with toasted sunflower seeds and crumbled feta cheese (if desired).
- originally published May 15th 2017
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)