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Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by Healthline.com and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Try Naturally Gluten-Free Kohlrabi for a Nutritious Change

What is this? An alien? A child of Sputnik?  Something that developed a life of its own after being left in the vegetable crisper too long? This strange-looking vegetable is Kohlrabi, one of the lesser-known members of the cabbage family. This week’s CSA delivery from Grant Family Farms included one of these little orbs, so what should I do with it?

Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable and naturally gluten-free.

Strange-looking Kohlrabi tastes like jicama and is naturally gluten-free.

The Virtues of Kohlrabi

The word “kohlrabi” comes from the word “kohl” which means cabbage in German and “rabi” which means turnip. It is a member of the brassica or cabbage family and its flavor is similar to broccoli stems but perhaps a little milder and sweeter. You can find it at farmer’s markets or in your supermarket near root vegetables, although it’s not technically a root vegetable and you might mistake it for turnips or rutabaga so read the labels carefully.

I like it because it is high in fiber and Vitamin C and contains phytochemicals that fight certain cancers. It is also quite low in calories. But you can also eat it simply because it tastes good and adds variety to your diet. Plus, it is naturally gluten-free so eat as much as you want.

Although some cooks use it is soups and stews (much like turnips or rutabaga) I prefer to eat it raw. Remove the peel and cut the kohlrabi into slices or sticks that you can artfully arrange alongside the carrots, celery, bell peppers, and whatever else you like on your crudités plate (or relish tray as we used to call it).

Treat Kohlrabi Like Jicama

Mango Salsa uses kohlrabi in place of jicama for a gluten-free adornment for grilled meats.

Colorful Mango Salsa uses kohlrabi for a gluten-free adornment for grilled meats.

But another, more interesting way to eat kohlrabi is to treat it like jicama, which is a member of the morning glory family. To me, both jicama and kohlrabi have a crisp texture, somewhat like an apple but whiter in color. We use jicama in salads and Mexican foods for its cool, crisp crunchiness so why not use kohlrabi in the same way?  So that is what I did. I often use jicama in salsas that accompany grilled meats, so in one of my favorite salsa recipes I simply used the same amount of kohlrabi instead and it was delicious.

Mango Salsa

From Carol Fenster’s kitchen

I love the way the sweet, creamy texture of mango complements the crisp savoriness of the bell pepper and onion, but I have also used peaches, nectarines, and plums instead of mango. It is a simple, perfect way to entertain in the summer. Just grill the meat and let your guests top their servings with the salsa. The fresher the ingredients, the better.

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

1/2 cup diced raw peeled kohlrabi or jicama

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil

1 tablespoon red wine or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Toss all of the ingredients in a small bowl, let stand for 20 minutes. Serve on your favorite grilled meat.

This is one of my favorite salsa recipes, although I have to confess that I rarely use a recipe when I make salsa. I simply gather whatever is in the refrigerator or looks good at the supermarket, add my own fresh herbs, and enjoy. It is great on all meats—beef, pork, poultry, and fish.

I use salsas a lot in the summer because they are a good way to get more fruits and vegetables into our diets while at the same time, they add important nutrients to our food in a colorful, palate-pleasing way. You simply enjoy the flavors and textures of the salsa without having to be reminded that it’s good for you, too. And salsas are a good choice during the hot days of summer because they require no cooking.

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