Earthy French lentils and spicy kohlrabi make a great combination for a cold summer salad! I know kohlrabi is weird looking and all knobby, but don’t be afraid. It’s crispy and fresh tasting and you’ll want to make kohlrabi salad once you try it.
Kohlrabi has been one of my favorite hard to find, and shall we say…more unusual vegetables since I was a child (or maybe young teenager? It’s been awhile!). Way back then in the dark ages of my youth, my dad had a great vegetable garden. He still does but I live far enough away that I don’t get to eat any of the bounty. 🙁
Anyway, one year he got some kohlrabi seeds. We had no idea what it was or what it tasted like but we were willing to experiment and give it a try. One taste and we were happy we did! After that we grew it regularly and it was a lovely, crunchy addition to our summer salads.
It was kind of a secret vegetable since no one else had it in their gardens and we never saw it in the store. Happily, that has been changing in recent years and, though I can’t always find it, sometimes I get lucky.
Since those days with dad’s garden, it has remained a crunchy addition to my salads whenever I do get lucky and find some. Think of it as a cucumber with a little spice to it or a very mild salad turnip. To me it has flavors and textures in common with both of them. But don’t worry if you don’t like spice! The spice is mild and just enough to give it some interest.
Funny story – Though I have loved kohlrabi for a long time, don’t ask me to pronounce it, since for some reason it still escapes me. I’ve been eating kohlrabi for decades and I still stumble over how to say it. I usually try a couple of versions when I have to ask for it at the farm stand. Pointing helps too.
I was thinking of those salads and of kohlrabi recently and I knew I had to come up with an updated, modern salad using it.
Because I found some at my local farm stand and I’ve been wanting to post a recipe for kohlrabi since last fall. I mean, the time had come and gone and come again! There was no way I could let another opportunity slip through my fingers. Not when I love sharing recipes for all sorts of weird vegetables with all of you. 🙂
The thing is that I usually just add kohlrabi to whatever green salad I’m making for dinner and I don’t make any special recipes for it. However, I am a food blogger and I knew with a little thought I could come up with something special. A recipe which could become a new family favorite, like my Green Bean and Goat Cheese Salad or my Cauliflower and Green Olive Salad.
I looked around in my books and on-line for ideas, but nothing was really hitting me until I went through my archives and came across my Lentil and Brown Rice Salad. The moment I thought about earthy French lentils tossed with kohlrabi in a salad, I knew I had it.
Kohlrabi + French lentils would be the backbone of my salad!
French lentils are awesome in salads since they cook quickly and keep their shape instead of getting all soft like brown lentils. I also find that they have a little more edge to their flavor. A hint of pepper along with the earthiness you expect in a lentil.
This also means that you can’t substitute. It may take a little searching around to find them, but French lentils are worth seeking out.
A rummage through my fridge got me the rest of the ingredients – carrots, spring onions, parsley, walnuts, and goat cheese. These would all provide some crunch, color, and creaminess. I love simple dishes, but I also love to layer on the flavors and keep things interesting.
This is a salad I can pair with grilled chicken or some nice fish. One I can make at mid-summer (if I can find the kohlrabi) and right into fall since it’s substantial enough for colder weather. And it’s a great salad for kohlrabi to shine instead of just being tossed into whatever salad I’m making that night.
– Happy Salad Making, Annemarie
If you want to know more about kohlrabi, I have an Ingredient Spotlight coming up!
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This cold French lentil and kohlrabi salad makes a great summer recipe! The spicy kohlrabi and earthy lentils are tossed with carrots and goat cheese for a tasty weeknight side dish. Healthy, easy, and quick!
- 1 cup French lentils
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium kohlrabi
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 green onions, or one spring onion
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 oz goat cheese
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the lentils, salt, and bay leaf. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and blot dry and then transfer them to a medium bowl.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Peel the kohlrabi, making sure to remove any tough or woody parts, and cut it into 1/2 inch dice. Scrub the carrot and cut it into 1/2 inch dice as well. Thinly slice the green onions right up into the dark green.
Heat the oven to 350F. Spread out the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 5 minutes.
Add the kohlrabi, carrots, green onions, and parsley to the bowl with the lentils.
Mix together the dressing ingredients. Toss the salad with the dressing and then top with the toasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.
- If you have very young and tender kohlrabi, you may not need to peel it completely. However, I have always peeled them since it can be hard to tell what parts are woody until you've started using the paring knife.
- French lentils are also called green lentils or Le Puy lentils. When you are looking for them you may see them under those names. If you can't find them at the store, you can order them on-line.
- I have seen some recipes which call for a longer cooking time for French lentils (around 40 minutes). All I know is that 20 minutes has always worked for me. Test your lentils at 20 minutes - if they are still too firm, give them some more time. I would check every 5 until I was happy.