Cooling salads are perfect for the kind of weather we’ve been having, but salads don’t always have to rely on a base of greens. Here’s a fun salad based on a slightly unusual but very tasty “tuber” – a change of pace from the old standby potato salad!

Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables I have often looked at – and passed right on by. Once it showed up in my CSA share, though, I was stuck!  I had to find out more. Turns out it’s not a tuber, or even really a root vegetable – but it’s definitely edible! More than that, it’s quite tasty and very refreshing!

The purple and green varieties are interchangeable.  Just cut off all the branches, and peel off the skin with a sharp knife.

Ingredients:
– 1 kohlrabi
– 1/2 sweet non-mushy apple (unpeeled)
– 1 peeled carrot
– 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
– 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
– 1/2 tsp Asian red chili sauce (optional)
– 2-3 sprigs cilantro, minced fine
– salt to taste

Directions:
1. Cut the peeled kohlrabi into matchstick pieces.  This is much easier if you have a mandoline.  You can also shred it on the large-holed side of a box grater.
2. Using the same method as above, matchstick (or shred) the apple and carrot, add to bowl.
3. Add sesame oil, rice vinegar, red chili sauce, cilantro, and salt to taste.
4. Toss together.  Chill before serving.

Variations:
– Add very finely sliced or minced red pepper for more color
– Try ume vinegar instead of rice vinegar
– Marinate a pressed garlic clove in the oil for 24 hours before making the salad (you can add the garlic or discard it)
– Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, kohlrabi is a good source of thiamine, folate, magnesium and phosphorous.  It’s high in fiber, and contains Vitamins C & B6, potassium, copper and manganese.  In a hurry?  Just shred it and dress it with ume vinegar – a quick, cooling addition to your summer repertoire.

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