Kohlrabi slaw isn’t such a stretch of the imagination when you consider that kohlrabi, an undersung hero of a crucifer, is related to green cabbage. Although perhaps we should name the resulting side dish “kohlslaw” so there’s no confusion. As to what to expect, as the author explains, kohlrabi is a German word derived from “kohl” meaning cabbage and “rabi” meaning turnip, and that’s exactly what kohlrabi tastes like—a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. And, just like cabbage, it can be served raw or cooked. Here it’s tossed with cabbage and apple in a lovely, creamy, and slightly sweet vinaigrette made with no mayo.–David Leite

A white ceramic bowl of kohlrabi slaw beside a wooden set of salad servers.

Kohlrabi Slaw

5 / 2 votes
Kohlrabi slaw is pretty close to coleslaw but perhaps in an upgraded way. Green apple, chervil, mint, and hazelnuts add elegance while the incredible mayo-free dressing amps up the flavor.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories355 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


For the slaw

  • 5 cups green cabbage or Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (not prepackaged sliced sprouts, as they’re too thickly sliced)
  • 18 ounces kohlrabi, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup (about 2 stalks) celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 medium green apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • Scant 1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Scant 1/2 cup fresh chervil* (if you can’t find chervil, substitute 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves or fennel fronds), roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup roasted and peeled hazelnuts, chopped

For the dressing

  • 1 teaspoon English mustard, such as Colman’s
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Prep the slaw

  • Place the cabbage or Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, celery, apple, mint, chervil, and hazelnuts in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Make the dressing

  • Dump the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, crème fraîche, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine or place everything in a Mason jar, screw the lid on, and shake to emulsify. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Assemble the kohlrabi slaw

  • Add the dressing to the slaw and toss to coat all of the ingredients before serving. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.


*Where To Find Chervil

Notice that this kohlrabi slaw recipe calls for chervil? Not many recipes do. It’s a delicate little herb with the lovely lilt of licorice. There’s nothing tricky about it except that chervil’s not always available in grocery stores. Okay, it’s rarely available in grocery stores. That said, one of our recipe testers made the brilliant suggestion of looking for it at your nearest plant nursery rather than your local produce aisle. Excuse us, we’ve got an errand to run….

Adapted From

Café Kitchen

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 355 kcalCarbohydrates: 23 gProtein: 6 gFat: 29 gSaturated Fat: 4 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 20 gCholesterol: 2 mgSodium: 67 mgPotassium: 768 mgFiber: 8 gSugar: 13 gVitamin A: 547 IUVitamin C: 80 mgCalcium: 146 mgIron: 3 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Shelagh Ryan. Photo © 2014 Kate Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This kohlrabi slaw recipe is a nice little dish that seems to defy the seasons. You’ll find it perfectly at home at your next backyard cookout, but it could definitely find a place at your Thanksgiving table alongside some roasted turkey. I wound up halving the recipe because my package of pre-sliced Brussels sprouts only yielded 2 1/2 cups. I scaled all else accordingly. I’m glad I did because when everything was assembled and dressed, it yielded quite a bit of slaw, enough for 4 people as a heaping side dish. I cut all the other components on a Japanese slicer or mandoline to speed up the process and get the pieces uniform. For the dressing, I added the ingredients to a Mason jar and gave it a good shake to emulsify. I found the best way to incorporate the dressing into the slaw was to massage it in by hand, which also allowed me to really get the sliced Brussels sprouts broken up and strewn about in the slaw. Knowing that the sprouts would take some time to soften, I let the slaw sit for 20 minutes at room temperature before serving. The slaw could have actually benefited from a full hour in the fridge, as I found the sprouts to still be pretty toothsome. Could kohlrabi be the next “kale”? Most definitely! Raw kohlrabi clocks in leaps and bounds higher in calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber than our favorite leafy green of the moment. This recipe makes great use of it!

This kohlrabi slaw is a great raw and healthful green salad. Something I love about a really good slaw recipe is that you can munch off of your effort for 2 or 3 days, and the texture and flavors are still great. This recipe is also terrific to make for a gathering because you can assemble it ahead of time, refrigerate it, and nothing suffers. The kohlrabi is the star in this combination, though in a pinch, celery root or broccoli stems could stand in. But try to find kohlrabi. (I made my first batch with celeriac. It was good, but not as good as the kohlrabi version.) Use purple kohlrabi if that’s the only kohlrabi you see! If trimming all those little cabbage brains [Editor’s Note: She means Brussels sprouts] isn’t appealing to you, substitute a similar weight head of cabbage for some or all the sprouts. You can play with the proportions a bit, but try not to short the kohlrabi or green apple—they are the star flavors. If you grow fresh chervil, you have it made. If you have to hunt it down, you may just want to visit a nursery and buy a plant, because it shows up so rarely in the produce area. You can substitute a small amount fresh tarragon or the feathery tops of fennel or dill. If fennel or chervil don’t work for you, consider parsley or cilantro with the mint. Make the dressing first, while you are toasting the hazelnuts. Let the nuts cool and rub off the skins. You might slice the apples last to avoid any browning or toss them early with the dressing. If you want a zen, prep-chef task, slice everything by hand, but if you’re in a hurry, run the trimmed sprouts and kohlrabi and quartered apples thru the slicing disk on a food processor. Switch to a blade and pulse chop the hazelnuts so none escape your cutting board. The slaw keeps well, and if it isn’t all gone the second day (even with generous portions, this serves at least 6), consider making fritters with the last portion. You don’t have to share; it’ll be our little secret. (I can personally attest to the last bit of leftovers making outstanding fritters with a small slurry of chickpea and rice flour, especially when fried in duck fat.)

We loved this kohlrabi slaw recipe and made it twice in one week, both times for company. The first time we bought the Brussels sprouts pre-cut, which we did not do the second time because the sprouts were too coarsely cut (in our opinion) and still had the stems attached. Both times, we looked for chervil but did not find it, so we substituted Italian parsley, and we doubled the mint the second time, as we love mint. We used a mandoline to slice the kohlrabi. The dressing is delicious, comes together in a flash, and next time, we will double that as well. Our tasters really enjoyed this salad. We imagine making variations with fennel and toasted almonds.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to make this. Question. What do you suggest I substitute for the crème fraîche if I wanted to make this dairy free? Please and thank you!

    1. Idit, we haven’t tried it dairy free, but if it was me—and I do have to adapt recipes all the time to be dairy-free for me—I would simply omit the creme fraiche and taste the dressing and go from there. You may want to go a touch light on the maple syrup. But I think all the same flavors will still work spectacularly. Kindly let us know how it goes!