Lentil Kohlrabi Salad Recipe

This is the salad I made for lunch the day I moved out of my apartment and into my next-door neighbor’s.

It’s not what you think. Maxence and I have decided that our kitchen and living room — which are, in fact, in the same room — needed a facelift, and after months of imagining, planning, and gathering our strength, it looks like it is finally happening.

It’s anybody’s guess how long it’s all going to take — you know how it is — but at this point we have just come out of the phase that consisted in us boxing up our stuff and cramming it in our bedroom, so the workers could come in on Monday and start ripping things out.

If you don’t know about kohlrabi, you’re in for a crunchy treat.

Fortunately, for the past few years, Maxence and I have been on a steady pruning streak, donating, selling, or recycling those things we didn’t need or love to make more room for those we do, and to enjoy the blissful feeling you get when you look at your living space and there is, indeed, space. (Still, for all that pruning, the number of boxes I ended up needing to pack up my kitchen is classified information.)

Just as fortunately, for the past few weeks, I’d been cooking my way through my food supplies in order to minimize the number of jars and half-eaten packages to be put into boxes, and to avoid having to toss anything from the fridge or freezer. This is something I should really try to do every spring, renovation or no: we had ourselves a few really nice hodgepodge meals during the last few days, involving chicken stock, the last porcini from our foraging expedition last fall, and some potato gnocchi as well.

As for that little detail of where we’re going to live in the interim, we got really lucky: it’sconcert season, and our dear neighbor Peter, who’s a singer, will be traveling a lot over the next month, so he’s letting us stay at his apartment. Our gratitude knows no bounds.

I am especially grateful that it meant I could just carry my jars of starter and water kefir across the landing, without worrying too much about spills or trauma. If you have micro-pets too, I’m sure you can relate.

While I was at it, I packed a basket of condiments and various foods we eat on a daily basis, my trusty little knife (I knew Peter would have knives, and he does, but this is my trusty little knife), a quarter of a pain au levain, assorted scraps from my chocolate stash, and a few pieces of produce that were left in the fridge.

And this means that, on the first morning after moving out, having skipped breakfast because the kitchen had been ripped out the day before and there was just too much to do, I was able to put together a lovely, steadying lunch for myself entirely assembled from the contents of this basket, and centered on this excellent lentil and kohlrabi salad.

If you don’t know about kohlrabi, you’re in for a crunchy treat. It works especially well in a lentil salad, as I recently learned when I staged with my friend Braden at Hidden Kitchen recently. He makes his (actually, on that particular day, I made it) with pink lentils and chives, without sunflower seeds, and with a different dressing, and he serves it as an accompaniment for grilled beef. But I just used what I had and served myself a big bowl of it, chased by a sliced apple, and the last two squares of a stone-ground chocolate bar.

Lentil Kohlrabi Salad

Lentil Kohlrabi Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serves 3 to 4.

Lentil Kohlrabi Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (1 cup) French green lentils, rinsed (substitute other lentils if unavailable)
  • 1 small onion or shallot, quartered and thinly sliced (read how not to cry)
  • 1 medium kohlrabi, about 370 grams (13 ounces) (read more about kohlrabi)
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
  • a few pinches of ground cumin
  • a glug of toasted sesame oil
  • a glug of cider vinegar
  • sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, onion, and 360 ml (1 1/2 cups) fresh water. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are cooked through but still pleasantly firm. Fifteen minutes into the cooking, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a colander, rinse briefly under a stream of fresh water, and drain well.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the kohlrabi. Trim the wispy stems (use the leaves like you would parsley). Inspect the skin, and use a vegetable peeler to peel off any part that looks a little tough or woody; the soft, pale green parts don't need to be peeled.
  3. Dice the kohlrabi to form smallish cubes, and put them in a medium salad bowl with the sunflower seeds. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with cumin, dress with a glug each of sesame oil and cider vinegar, and toss to coat.
  4. When the lentils are cooked and rinsed, add them to the bowl and stir gently to combine. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.
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  • http://senseofhomekitchen.com Sense of Home Kitchen

    Ah, the boxing up and using up sounds familiar. We have a necessary repair to make in the area where my pantry is and so I have been using up our supplies as quickly as I can so I don’t have to move so much. That looks like a perfect lunch to me. Hope you have an exciting kitchen to cook in when you move back in.

    ~Brenda

  • http://smartpalate.blogspot.com Nancy

    I am a huge fan of kohlrabi, it has such a gorgeous crunch; what a great idea to combine it with lentils. I am mentally bookmarking this right now :)

    Good luck with the kitchen renovation – exciting!

  • http://totefullofveggies.blogspot.com/ Sharan

    Wonderful recipe! I have never heard of kohlrabi so I must give it a try.

  • http://www.reciperenovator@gmail.com Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator

    Clotilde, best of luck with your renovation! Our kitchen was the first thing my husband and I attempted in our first year of marriage. Not recommended, but we survived and have enjoyed our sunny blue-and-yellow kitchen (shades of Provence, Italy, Mexico, and Chile) for over a decade now. I’ll have to pick up some kohlrabi and try this salad soon! I might make it with yellow split peas, as they agree with me a little better than lentils do.

  • http://tastespace.wordpress.com janet

    I just discovered kohlrabi this year as well and loved it in a wheatberry salad with apple and sunflower seeds. Sounds like it is best raw and great in summer salads. Yum!

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com Camille

    Having recently moved, I can completely commiserate with the boxing up of the entire kitchen. I admit I’m envious you just got to move across the hall – we moved all the way across town!

    That said, I got a kohlrabi from my panier bio, and have unearthed the lentils, so I hope to be eating this salad soon.

  • Rachel

    I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never tried kohlrabi, despite its being a fixture at all the farmers’ markets I’ve shopped at over the last several years! This may be just the impetus I need to try it.

    Bon courage for the renovations – I hope they finish on time and I look forward to reading about your adventures in your spiffy new kitchen!

  • Gloria

    I love kohlrabi! And as good as it is raw, I love it cooked too. It tastes reminiscent of broccoli, and is prepared much the same way as you would make broccoli. Try it roasted!

  • http://dustwithflour.blogspot.com Muffin Tin

    I became a fan of kohlrabi a few years ago when it arrived in my CSA box.

    We recently moved several hundred miles away and I found myself giving away a ton of food to friends. Frozen blueberries, jam, half-empty jars of condiments.

  • ruth

    Kohlrabi, both the green and the purple-skinned varieties are great raw in salads or cooked (not mushy soft) with a butter sauce and nutmeg. In summer it makes a great salad cooked and cooled with curly endive and a sharp vinaigrette. The young leaves are great shredded in a salad or cooked, too. You could also add it cooked to potato or tomato salads. It just may be my favourite vegetable.

  • Millicent

    This sounds delicious, and I’m wondering how you made the version with pink lentils at Hidden Kitchen. I think of them as falling apart pretty quickly — great for soup, not so great for salad. Please advise?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I was surprised too! We just cooked the lentils a little less than you would for soup. The resulting lentils don’t hold their shape as well as French green lentils, but they didn’t turn to mush, either.

  • http://www.tandcake.wordpress.com Tamsin

    Best of luck with the renovation! Two years since moving and I still have half my kitchen stuff in boxes; our house didn’t really have a kitchen when we bought it, now it has an oven, sink and fridge. My old desk is the worktop and we store food on a set of shelves from the bedroom! Having prioritised heating, windows and a bathroom we’re now saving for a kitchen (yippee!).

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It does sound like you had your priorities right! :)

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    Good luck with your renovation! It’s great to have a place to cook and stay while it happens.

    This year I managed to organise a pantry spring cleaning (probably motivated by the idea of miving in a few months), so I am cooking a lot of pulses as well. I really like your salad; I find kohlrabi very easily in Germany, but I am not entirely comfortable with it yet.

  • http://katie-thehungrytraveler.blogspot.com Katie

    I looove kohlrabi! I first tasted it in my mom’s CSA basket, and I was really excited to see it at the weekly fruit and vegetable market here in Maastricht! Have you been to the Netherlands, by the way? You should try to get to Limburg (southern province), it’s right near Belgium so you could hit two countries at once, maybe even Germany too if you had more time and were feeling energetic. I’m currently living temporarily in Maastricht and blogging about it, let me know if you want recommendations (or check out my bog!)

  • Liz Thomas

    I’ve got two beauts growing in pots in my garden — bought them at the village shop where they were being sold as ornamental plants!!!! The bugs ate all the leaves but the bulbs themselves are really good and we were just talking about using them minutes before I saw this.

    So, off to the shops for some lentils, although I’m pretty certain we won’t be able to find French green ones here.

    Good luck with your kitchen. I’d give anything for a huge kitchen other than the broom cupboard I have to work from. I do have an enormous kitchen in our place in Dordogne but there’s not much in it so it’s one extreme to the other.

    Thanks for the great recpe.

    Cheers!
    Liz

  • http://www.voraciouseats.com Tasha @ Voracious

    Oooh crunchy tasty kohlrabi paired with an old favorite, lentils! I have never thought to combine them before, thanks for the inspiration. It looks incredibly yummy.

  • http://www.katherinemartinelli.com Katherine

    I love kohlrabi and I love lentils – can’t wait to try them together in this salad! Sounds like a great flavor profile.

  • http://theofficeingenue.com terri

    Ah, merci! By the title of the article, i was sure you dined on chocolate dipped zuchini’s. I’m game for just about anything, but the kohlrabi salad sounds much better (with the chocolate chaser, or course)

  • http://Www.fortycloves.com Karen @Forty Cloves

    I love the combination of lentils and greens, especially bitter ones. I’ve used escarole, spinach, chard, kale…I think kohlrabi might be the only one that I haven’t tried! I will certainly give it a whirl, maybe even try a combination of greens. Thank you and good luck with your renovation!

  • http://beyondthepeel.blogspot.com France @beyondthepeel

    Kohlrabi is so delicious and I have to admit that it is greatly under used in our house. However I love lentils, more then most I think, and now that I know this little combination, I can assure you that there will be some in my shopping basket this week. Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe.

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com Camille

    So I just made this, swapping out the sesame oil in favor of hazelnut oil, and using fresh parsley in place of the cumin. Delicious! Next time, I will probably add a hefty spoonful of Dijon mustard. Thanks for the lentil-kohlrabi idea!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s great to hear, Camille, thanks for reporting back!

  • http://www.cozydelicious.com Katie@Cozydelicious

    I understand all of that boxing up belongings! We have been boxed up for weeks, waiting for our house. And I miss cooking! But your salad looks wonderful. I love kohlrabi.

  • http://foodrinkery.com Dan

    MMM! Looks pretty good – going to have to try that!

  • http://www.thisdesignercooks.blogspot.com/ Stephanie

    I made this and it was awesome!

  • bee

    Hi Clothilde

    I’ve been avidly following your blog for the last years now and alway enjoy your inputs!
    I had to smile when I read the “lentil kohlrabi salad” and couldn’t help a grin when I read the story to it.
    My boyfriend and I have decided to move together this summer, after so many years of being each others guests. Both of us resolved not to bring too much food into the new household -well, we both love cooking and therefore tend to treasure delicacies.
    So last week when a friend came over for dinner I tried to use up my stash, making a lentil-kohlrabi salad almost like yours. Okay, beside the beluga lentils, I added some red quinoa instead of the green lentils you used, but I still found it a nice coincidence!

    Best regards from zurich and keep up the inspiring work!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Fun coincidence! I have more or less stopped buying quinoa after reading about the local consequence of the quinoa craze, but I agree it must be lovely in this salad.

  • http://www.castironfoodie.com George

    This looks good. My wife makes a lentil quinoa salad that I love. It has red onions, red wine vinegar, and sometimes a little feta. I’ve never heard of kohlrabi, but it looks like something I would really like. Very nice photos too.

  • http://www.thenewlywedchefs.com The Newlywed Chefs

    Woah! We’ve never used Kohlrabi. Thanks for the unique recipe.

  • http://www.eatandrelish.com cory

    this is very timely, as i was so tempted a bulb of kohlrabi at our farmers market (i had planned to use a mandolin to slice it thinly and put it in a spring salad) but i chickened out at the last minute, as i have never made it before! redemption shall come this saturday :) i like the yellow split pea comment idea too…

    thank you!

  • Liz Thomas

    Had this last night and it was the perfect partner to a seared ostrich breast steak!

    Thanks for another winner!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Wonderful to hear, Liz, thank you!

  • http://www.thetravellingtastebuds.com Stephanie @ The Travelling Tastebuds

    My nephew LOVES Kohlrabi! I am from the states… and my sister lives in Germany… and I’ve never heard of Kohlrabi until I visited my sister & her family recently. At first I thought it might taste like an apple… I’m not a fan of Kohlrabi… but my nephew is so cute when he munches on Kohlrabi sticks :)

  • Simona

    Hi Clotilde,
    Kohlrabi, OK, I know it, I’m from Eastern Europe, but WHERE did you get your TAZA from? The shipping from the states is prohibitive.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I wish I had a special source, but the simple truth is I stock up when I travel to the US…

  • Roosmarijn de Groot

    Hi! I just stumbled upon this recipe and it looks amazing! I have all the ingredients already, except for the kohlrabi. I do have turnips, could I use those raw as well?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      You can if they’re young spring turnips, sweet and tender enough to eat raw — not sharp or bitter or woody. I would recommend you taste a piece raw first, to determine if you like it. Let us know!

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