Kohlrabi Greens Pesto for Grilled Pizza


This year my family finally signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share.  Every Friday, our farmer wakes before dawn and drives to the Twin Cities and other communities to deliver the week’s bounty of organic produce.  We pick up a half-share; above is just a portion of one Friday’s haul (though this year’s drought has definitely decreased the crop).

Every week, we get whatever’s in the box.  I’d never eaten Kohlrabi before  (the bulbous thing on the right, with greens growing out of it).  When you get lots of something you’ve never eaten, there’s only one thing to do, at least at my house… make it into bread or pizza… Turns out that both the bulb, and the greens of Kohlrabi are nutritious and delicious.  Farmer Mike has been giving lots of Kohlrabi, so we’ve gotten very adept at peeling the bulb, slicing it into spears, and eating it raw with a yogurt dip (really nothing more than a cup of yogurt, half-cup of shredded cucumber, one clove of raw or roasted garlic, and a couple of tablespoons of fresh mint leaves from the garden, all put through the food processor till smooth).

Then, about those Kohlrabi greens.  You ever notice that nobody gives you bushels of basil?  The cheap and nutritious greens in the grocery (or from a CSA), like chard (Swiss or plain), collards (left side of the picture), kale, or mustard present a challenge– kids don’t tend to love them, and their bitter edge isn’t for everyone (especially kale and mustard).  Kohlrabi falls into this category, though less bitter.  Any of them, it turns out, makes a fantastic pesto, with greens standing in for basil.  Olive oil and ground nuts (in this case walnuts rather than pine nuts) mellow out the bitterness of the greens.  I used the equivalent of a full bunch of collard greens (in kohrabi), chopped them,  sauteed them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until tender, then put that into the food processor.

Add about 1/2 cup of walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts (you really can experiment here), and salt to taste.  I used walnuts today.  Set aside.

Meanwhile roll out your favorite lean dough into a 1/8-inch thick round, about 12 to 16 inches across (this takes about a 1-pound piece of dough, the size of a grapefruit).  Do this right on a well-floured pizza peel.  Bake the dough “blind,” (without toppings) about 2 to four minutes on the first side right over direct heat on the grates of your gas grill set to medium.

As soon as you flip the dough round, top with the greens mixture, and the cheese of your choice.  Here I used dabs of goat cheese, and finished baking right on the grill (grilled chicken chunks are optional).  Keep the grill lid closed– you may need to adjust burner heat to prevent the bottom from burning before the toppings look ready.

A little wine and it’s a complete dinner:


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27 thoughts to “Kohlrabi Greens Pesto for Grilled Pizza”

  1. Hello!
    Here comes a comment that has nothing to do with the article above.
    I just want to thank you for a wonderful book! I found your bog when seeking for new recipes some week’s ago. The master recipe is great and the European peasant bread as well, the brioche is absolutely wonderful with blueberries and streusel. There is a dough living in my refrigerator right now.
    I have just one question, have you ever thought of translating the book? I am from Sweden and the English isn’t a problem but the pounds, Fahrenheit’s and cups sometimes makes me mad: )
    But never the less, thank you for a wonderful book and I can’t wait for the new one!

    Have a nice day

    1. Margareta: Thanks so much for the kind words… for the new book, we’ve included conversion tables from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and from cups to gram and ounce weights. Cost considerations have led our publisher to limit what we can do in each recipe, so you’ll have to go back and forth at bit. Jeff

  2. Came to your site via Scribbit (www.scribbit.blogspot.com) who is raving about your Artisan Bread book. She’s never steered me wrong and I am off to purchase it on her recommendation!

  3. My wife and I are on Weight Watchers. I am convinced that we can make some of the breads if only we knew the Fat/Calories/Fiber content. Is this information available?

    1. Michael: Here’s what I can tell you for now: A 1-ounce slice of whole wheat bread has nearly 2 grams of fiber; white bread has less than 1/2 ounce. Calories are comparable because whole wheat, though it has some zero-calorie constituents like bran and other fiber that sits in the germ, also has wheat germ oil which is highly caloric. So more fat in the WW; it happens to be fat that is heart-healthy.

      Sorry I don’t have more specific info; more to come when our second book’s released on October 27– Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day is now available for pre-order on Amazon, at https://tinyurl.com/pe8yr9. Stay tuned, and thanks for writing. Jeff

  4. This is off the subject of this article, but just had to tell you of my disaster and then my solution. Last week I pulled out an article I had saved from your archives: EGGS IN A BREAD CUP. I had a huge mess on the bottom of my oven and dough stuck to my muffin cups. BUT….they were still delicious. I ended up buying some small (4X 1 1/4″) non stick round cake pans made by Wilton (at Michaels) Major success!!! They were the perfect size and popped right out of the pan. I used a little gruyere with the eggs. Delicious. The beauty of the pans, is that I made little individual apple pies for that night’s dessert. Last week I shared a picture of “your” bread baked in a long covered cloche, and had friends begging for the name of your book. Many were very excited about the new book and the use of whole grains. I’ve pre-ordered and can’t wait. Thanks so much.

  5. Another convert here (and another un-related post — sorry)! I made my first batch of dough over the weekend, have one pound of that left, and started a light whole wheat batch last night. Thank you for making it possible for me to be a bread baker — I’m in heaven!

    One question though . . . . I know that you’re trying to keep the recipes as simple as possible, but I really prefer to weigh my flour. Is there a standard weight that you’d consider a cup of flour to be?

  6. Thanks, Jeff! I did use 2 pounds of flour – yay, me. I guess I’m going to have to start buying flour in bigger than 5-pound bags.

  7. Jeff & Zoe, hi from Australia – just got your book (finally) after following you online for ages. I tried the European peasant bread yesterday and found that my water to flour ratio wasn’t quite right as I had to add another 1/2 cup water to bring the dough together.

    I saw a blog about your bread that suggested that American cup sizes are different to ours in Australia (which is roughly 250ml). Are you able to advise a more exact measurement (ie. how much your cup of flour weighs or what it may be in fluid ounces)? I’m thinking this may improve my bread…

    I am going to try the challah dough this weekend, and I’m assuming that with the difference in cup sizes, my liquid will be out….

    Just wondering if you had the answer for us Aussie fans down under?

    Thanks so much.

    1. Using the measurement approach that we detail in the book, people weigh out about 5 U.S. ounces per U.S. cup (volume), also known as 8 fluid U.S. ounces. That’s about 140 grams, which may be the way you’ll want to go.

      Sorry for all this confusion, we tried to go metric in 1976, and failed! Too bad. Jeff

  8. Howdy and thanks for the best bread baking book ever!! It rocks! I’ve had great success – even me! I might have overlooked this in your book and website. Can two loaves be baked at one time? Many thanks for your time.

    1. Rayna: Two loaves are no problem. If you really overload the oven, you can end up with a longer baking time, but not usually a problem except in very small ovens.

      Thanks for the kind words, come back and visit anytime. Jeff

  9. The yogurt dip sounds like a good idea. But here’s an even simpler sliced kohlrabi dish that I eat roughly every other night while it’s in season. Slice it thin, sprinkle it with salt, and squeeze lime over it. Then (and this is crucial), consume it with beer (a crisp, clean one — more Pilsner or Belgian White than Guinness). That’s it.

    1. This reminds me of the sliced radishes they serve with salt in beer halls in Germany and Austria– great idea, thanks Matt. Jeff

  10. Love this blog – A tip for helping with bitter greens. Many, such as kale, taste better with a little frost – so mimic that by washing and putting it in the freezer for a few minutes before using it. I especially like it for where I would have been chopping it small anyway. I just leave it for a few minutes longer and then just crumble it into the recipe.

  11. I am hoping you have a wheat free bread recipe which I can prepare in the 5-minute format. I am currently buying loaves of spelt bread at $6.50 and would love to be able to do better at home. This is not a gluten problem but a wheat problem, so I am open to most other grains in any combination. thanks!

  12. We sure do, Gina— there are a whole chapter of gluten-free, wheat-free breads in the new book. Also breads based on spelt (the basic 100% whole wheat recipe can be made with spelt as a swap). Jeff

  13. I made up a procedure to top the hot blind baked pizza quickly. As your waiting for the grill to heat up, top a plate with equal dimentions as your rolled pizza dough with your toppings but reverse the order. So toppings, cheese, then sauce. When grilled pizza is hot and ready to top, place it on top of the plate, invert the whole plate and pizza, lift off the plate and your pizza is ready to go back on the grill in less than 30 seconds.

  14. Hey, I like this idea of turning the somewhat bitter greens into pesto, what a great way to eat it! Thanks again for all these great ideas!

  15. Jeff, I’m having friends over for pizza on the grill and am wondering if there’s a way to cook the crust all (or most) of the way then remove it and top it? I’m also wondering if you’ve ever tried pre-cooking the crusts for freezing.

    1. My guess is that you can do the grill-pizza your way, though that’s not the way we tested for our Pizza book– on Amazon at https://amzn.to/eo10NJ but this is pre-order only, book won’t ship till release date 10/25 or so.

      But freezing definitely works. Bake till it just sets, and dock the crust (pierce with a fork) to prevent puffing. Jeff

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