Kohlrabi, cavolo nero, pine nut and tomato stew on sweet potato miso mash

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Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

Kohlrabi must be one of the oddest-looking of vegetables – UFO and jellyfish are words I’ve heard used to describe it. It’s lovely grated raw into salads and coleslaws, but it’s most often cooked, especially in Germany and Eastern Europe. Cavolo nero – Italian for ‘black cabbage’-has made inroads into our diet thanks to the growing popularity of Italian cuisine and, like Brussels sprouts, needs a good frost to enhance the flavour. To prepare it, simply pull the sword-like leaves from the thick stems. Holding the leaves in your hand, run your fingers (or a small knife) along the rib to separate the leaf from the rib. Only the leaf is edible.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 kohlrabi, peeled, halved and cut into wedges
  • 1 large head of cavolo nero, to yield 150 g leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shiro miso (white miso)

For the Sweet Potato Miso Mash

  • 800 g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons shiro miso (white miso)


Start making the sweet potato miso mash by boiling the sweet potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked.

While they are cooking, make the stew: heat a wide pan and add the oil, followed by the onions, rosemary and pine nuts. Sauté over a moderate heat, stirring frequently, to caramelize the onions, but make sure the nuts don’t burn.

Add the tomatoes, soy sauce and 700 ml water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kohlrabi and cavolo nero, and mix in well. Cover and cook at a very gentle boil until the kohlrabi is just cooked, around 12–15 minutes. Mix in the miso, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.

Finish making the sweet potato miso mash, when the sweet potatoes are cooked, drain them well. Place the butter and rosemary in a small pan and cook over a moderate heat until the butter goes a light nut-brown colour. Mash the potatoes with the butter, using the miso as your seasoning. Taste it and add a little extra if needed.

To Serve

Divide the mash between 4 bowls and ladle the stew on top.

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