It’s been a while since I turned my oven on. Not to seem ungrateful for all of this sunshine (and vitamin D), but it has been really hot with humidity that Vancouver doesn’t generally see. So maybe I am complaining a little bit, but chin sweat you guys! All of the time.
So I have been making recipes that require very little heating up, both for me, and the recipients of the meals. It makes it hard to complain about chin sweat when I think about how un-amazing it must feel to add a rough post chemo week into the mix with all of this heat. No ovens no cry.
This recipe requires the very bare minimum of cooking. It is mostly a raw dish in all of its enzyme-rich glory, but not just for the sake of being raw, more because the dish itself feels so right for this time of year. It is made with seasonal produce, but not necessarily the sweet and juicy stuff that you dream about during the winter months. Is anyone familiar with kohlrabi?
I think it would be sad to be a vegetable that only reminds people of the parts of vegetables that they normally discard (or save for juicing), but it is true, kohlrabi’s taste and texture are very similar to broccoli stems and cabbage cores. But don’t worry, kohlrabi doesn’t wallow in self-pity, it knows that it is unique and beautiful, with lush, edible greens growing out of each of its many strange little arms. And like all self-respecting vegetables, it also comes in purple.
It also has a quiet confidence that you only see in veggies with ample nutritional stats. Kohlrabi is part of the brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, kale) aka the crushing cancer mafia. Among a long list of nutrients, it contains indole-3-carbinole, known for the fear it instills in cancer, particularly colon and prostate. It is also a good source of vitamin C and potassium, and is useful against edema. Pretty impressive, kohlrabi, well played.
Personally, I like it because on top of everything else, it is affordable, easy to peel and cut or slice into any shape you want. For this dish, I am julienne-ing it (actually, more like matchstick-ing) using a mandoline for slicing it into thin sheets, and a chef’s knife to slice those into crunchy strips. A julienne peeler or a spiralizer would work well too, I just find that sometimes, for me, the mandoline/knife combo is fastest.
To this you can add any other crunchy, root veg that you have on hand (beets! radishes! parsnips!). I am on a small carrot bender, and the multi-coloured summer options are so pretty (with varying antioxidants) that they were my obvious choice. Also peas because peas and carrots. A little bit of green onion and cilantro for savory bite, black sesame seeds for healthy fats and for their rumored effects on raising platelet levels, and some quinoa for protein and, er, bulk, and we have a fresh and crunchy base for a really delicious salad.
The dressing has an Asian twang with a small amount of toasted sesame oil, which imparts flavour far bigger than its volume. It is balanced with pungent miso paste, tart lime juice and raw apple cider vinegar, garlic and ginger (flavour and muscle), and apricots for subtle sweetness and body. This is a great use for those…disappointing apricots. You know the ones I mean. For this recipe, all they need is a bit of sweetness, no one will notice the mealy.
Toss it all together and enjoy its crisp, cool personality and bright flavours. For the next couple of days re-invent it by wrapping it tightly in a collard green, nori sheet or napa cabbage leaf. Or simply spoon it onto a lettuce leaf and top with some fresh avocado. You won’t be sad to be eating leftovers, you will just be happy to have an excuse to bask in the cool air of the refrigerator.
- 1 c cooked Quinoa
- 2 Kohlrabi, julienned
- 3 Carrots, julienned
- 1 c Fresh Peas
- ½ c Cilantro, chopped
- 3 Green Onions, sliced thin
- ⅓ c Black Sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp Miso
- 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame oil
- 2 tsp Tamari
- 1 Lime, juice & zest
- ¼ c Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ c Water
- 2 fresh Apricots, pitted (sub ⅓ c of fresh or frozen mango if apricots aren't in season)
- 2 Tbsp Ginger
- 1 Garlic clove
- ½ tsp dried Turmeric (1½ tsp if using fresh)
- A few grinds of Black Pepper (for better turmeric absorption)
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Toss with the salad veggies, reserving some dressing to use as a dip tomorrow, when you wrap the leftovers in collard greens or cabbage.