Kohlrabi Sesame Takeout Noodles
I’m pretty sure I’ve loved Chinese takeout ever since I could eat solids. Sure, I was fed from day one by the best of the best – my mom has always been super creative in the kitchen, and my grandma made a legendary pot roast. But you and I both know how it is when you’re eating food out of a white box.
My aunt used to come watch me when I was a wee one, and whenever we ordered Chinese food she would always get us bean curd with steamed vegetables. I LOVED the stuff, and to this day, it’s still my go-to healthy takeout order. Of course, it wasn’t until the fifth grade that I found out “bean curd” was actually a fancy way of saying “tofu.” I was, of course, legitimately upset, because this meant I could no longer try to act cool by telling all my friends I hated tofu.
But I also grew up completely in love with sesame noodles. Carby, creamy, peanutty, salty, saucy, slightly crunchy sesame noodles. GAHHHH. So good.
As much as I love sesame noodles, though, they don’t truly love me back. Carbs on fat on carbs is delish (it’s my favorite, let’s be honest), but doesn’t look so good when you have a slinky recital dress to fit into. So, I decided to make my own version of this amazing dish using an ingredient that is brand new for me:
I have been fascinated by this veggie for the longest time. I’ve had it a few times at restaurants, but never dared to cook with it at home. I mean, it’s cool-looking, but intimidating! To me, kohlrabi kind of looks on the outside like a dragon fruit and a celery root had a baby and then that baby grew up and dressed like Medusa for Halloween.
But this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was (in the spirit of the new year) to create a dish with an ingredient that’s brand new to each of us. So, I dove right in.
For any of my fellow Chopped enthusiasts, you also know very well that kohlrabi is probably the single most common basket ingredient. And, given my recurring dream of going on Chopped and getting to the dessert round (but always waking up before the final chopping block), I felt like maybe it was time to face my fear of kohlrabi and turn it into something beautiful.
Enter: the spiralizer.
Turning this kohlrabi (which is very stiff, sort of like a fibrous apple) into noodles was a bit of a task. The skin has little “peaks,” so it takes a while to remove thoroughly. Also, for harder veggies like this you need a lot of leverage and pressure on your spiralizer to get even noodles, and my old spiralizer’s suction cups are shot. Somehow though, I managed just fine and the results were so worth the little bit of sweat. The raw noodles were bitter, but once cooked, they became perfectly mild, soaked up all that peanutty sesame sauce, and didn’t leave too much water behind. You’d never know you were eating medusa fruit instead of noodles.
Also, pro-tip: those go0o0orgeous kohlrabi leaves are edible too! For a clean-out-the-fridge dinner last night, I cut the leaves into ribbons and sautéed them with olive and white truffle oils, sliced garlic, cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. I put that on top of some gluten free black bean penne with a dollop of ricotta. ‘Twas the best thing I’ve never before eaten, and now I can say that my life has OFFICIALLY been changed by kohlrabi!
- Six medium kohlrabi bulbs
- 2 heaping Tbs. natural peanut butter
- 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
- 3 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 Tbs. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. sriracha (more or less, depending on heat preference)
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 inch-long knob ginger, grated (about 1/2-3/4 tsp)
- Shredded carrots
- Shredded cucumber
- Sesame seeds
- Chopped scallions
- Remove all stems and leaves and thoroughly peel all skin off the kohlrabi bulbs. The bulbs should be white and as round as possible after peeling. Save the leaves for later!
- Slice the top and bottom off of each bulb to create a flat surface for spiralizing.
- Using heavy pressure, run each kohlrabi bulb through the spiralizer on the "spaghetti" setting. Snip the noodles 1 or two times after spiralizing to make them a more manageable length.
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Pour sauce into a medium skillet over low-medium heat. Stir constantly - the aim is to reduce the sauce to a thick paste, and the sauce will burn quickly.
- Once the sauce is at a paste consistency, add the kohlrabi noodles and toss.
- Toss frequently for about 5-7 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.
- Garnish with sesame seeds, carrots, cucumber, and scallions, and serve alongside extra sriracha and soy sauce if desired.
- Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish.