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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Local Veggie With A Tropical Twist: Kohlrabi Papaya Salad

This recipe is a nod to both my southern Indiana roots and the several years I spent cooking in the Caribbean.

This colorful salad includes a local veggie from Chef Daniel Orr's garden (kohlrabi) and a bit of tropical flare (papaya). The orange color comes from the curry vinaigrette dressing.

We sent a call out to our readers asking which ingredients you wanted us to cook with. Many people asked for suggestions for using kohlrabi.

I can understand the hesitation — kohlrabi is a weird-looking veggie! But you can use it as you would broccoli or cauliflower, which makes it seem much less intimidating. We are only using the bulb for this dish, but reserve the leaves and cook them like kale or collards greens.

Before you get cracking on this recipe, take care to remove the skin on the kohlrabi bulb. With a sharp knife, grab hold of the skin at the base and pull up. It will remove the tough exterior along with any celery-like strands.

You’ll notice that this recipe only uses half the papaya. My pro tip is to remove the seeds and sprinkle the fruit with lime juice. Then, use the seeds in this salad dressing.

Curry Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1/2 lemon

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the shallots and garlic.
  2. Cook slowly until transparent but uncolored.
  3. Add curry and turmeric and continue to cook to bring the flavors together.
  4. Deglaze with cider vinegar and add remaining ingredients. Puree in blender until smooth. Thin as needed with hot water. Season to taste.
  5. Chill and store in the refrigerator until needed.

Kohlrabi Papaya Salad


  • 3 medium kohlrabi, cut into batonnet (1 ½” long and ¼” thick)
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 papaya, diced into ¼” cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • whole lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup curry vinaigrette

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine first four ingredients and mix.
  2. Add lime juice and vinaigrette. Use hands to mix.

Special thanks to my mom for bringing these gorgeous garden-fresh kohlrabi up to Bloomington from our farm down on the Ohio River!

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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