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Kohlrabi Waldorf salad from In Praise of Veg

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 4
The man widely credited for this iconic salad – Oscar Tschirky, the Waldorf-Astoria’s long-time maître d’hôtel at the turn of the 20th century – deemed it necessary to include the following extremely specific instruction in the original recipe, which is only three sentences long: ‘Be very careful not to let any seeds of the apple be mixed with it.’ I’ve gone one better and scrapped the apple entirely. Kohlrabi’s apple-y shape and sweetness makes it an obvious addition to Oscar’s classic combo, which was originally apple–celery–mayo, but has since had a squillion iterations (probably because the recipe is indeed so vague, besides the bit about the seeds) – including the addition of walnuts, which I deem entirely mandatory, seeing as both celery and kohlrabi love this nut.


  • 2 tbsp currants
  • 1 French shallot finely chopped
  • ¼ cup chardonnay vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup walnuts toasted and finely chopped
  • 1 purple kohlrabi small leaves reserved
  • 1 celery heart small leaves reserved
  • 1 Packham pear thinly sliced
  • 3.5 oz red or green grapes or fresh currants bigger ones halved
  • 1 bunch of chives cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) lengths
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1 lemon


  • Place the currants and shallot in a bowl, pour the vinegar over and set aside for 5 minutes to macerate and pickle. Stir in the olive oil and half the walnuts and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, shred the kohlrabi into matchsticks, thinly slice the celery and soak them in a bowl of iced water until ready to serve.
  • Drain the kohlrabi and celery, then gently mix the pear through. Stir some of the walnut vinaigrette through, then arrange on a serving plate.
  • Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over, then scatter with the grapes, chives, reserved celery and kohlrabi leaves and remaining walnuts.
  • Mix the mayonnaise and lemon juice until well combined, drizzle over the salad and serve immediately.


Kohlrabi is seasonal, so if you have a hankering for this salad but no kohlrabi is forthcoming, sub in some extra celery and pear, or green apple if you must.

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