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Instead of the more traditional mayonnaise-based dressing, this recipe for carrot, cabbage and kohlrabi slaw with miso dressing uses a ginger-miso mixture inspired by Japanese recipes.

I love all kinds of coleslaw, or just "slaw" as many people call it. I even like the sometimes mediocre, very creamy slaw served in those little paper cups alongside a sandwich at the deli or diner.

But I like to change up the notion of slaw, too, from the traditional all-American mayo-based types to this version, which is based on the salads we get when we go to Japanese restaurants. My older son, Jack, craves this gingery-miso dressing and I figured it would be great tossed with a jumble of crunchy shredded vegetables.

Kohlrabi was a great place to start. It is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. They are about the size of an orange, with a bunch of stems sticking out and a thick skin that can range from pale green to purple-ish. The leaves, stems and root are all edible, and the smaller ones tend to be more tender and flavorful. It reminds me in taste and texture of peeled broccoli stems.

Peel it very thoroughly (you may need a sharp knife for this, as the skin is quite tough) and slice, julienne or grate it into your salad for a great crunch and a fresh but slightly spicy flavor. It also can be cooked: steamed, sauteed, roasted or fried, but I more often than not use it raw for its appealing mild flavor and pronounced crispness.

If you can't find kohlrabi, any number of other veggies can be substituted. Consider a blend of jicama and celeriac (both trimmed and grated or cut into matchsticks), or turnip also would be great.

Carrot, cabbage and kohlrabi slaw with miso dressing

For the best crunch, toss the salad with the dressing no longer than 6 hours before serving, and keep it refrigerated. The dressing is wonderfully potent, so you may not need all of it. Leftover dressing is great drizzled over brown rice.


Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 6


1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 shallot, chopped

2 tablespoons yellow or white miso

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 cups finely shredded green or red cabbage

6 large carrots, peeled and shredded or cut into very thin matchsticks

1 kohlrabi, jicama or celeriac (or a combination) peeled and shredded or cut into very thin matchsticks

Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)


In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, shallot, miso, oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

In a large serving bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots and kohlrabi. Drizzle about three-quarters of the dressing over the slaw, then toss well. Taste and adjust with additional dressing as desired.

Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories; 60 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 7 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 430 mg sodium; 15 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 3 g protein.

Katie Workman blogs at