Baked Kohlrabi Fries with Greek Tzatziki + An Honest Conversation about Perfectionism

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

Perfectionism. It’s both a blessing and a curse, motivating us forward to success and growth while also holding us back. Perfectionism is our best friend and our worst enemy.

I’m the oldest of three, a Type A lifelong perfectionist. Always striving (and struggling). Always knowing I can do better, be better.

Perfectionism is like a fire burning hot within us, fueling passion, ambition, and drive. The more we feed that fire, the more it burns, the more it fuels us to press forward, to achieve, to lead, to be in control, to make life fit our very narrow definition of what we consider acceptable.

Blogging made me realize what I feed my fire with. Not ambition, not passion, not some vision of success. I feed my perfectionism fire with “Not good enough.”

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

I’ve been blogging at Steph in Thyme for almost a full year. A year spent learning and exploring and finding my feet, teaching myself all about food photography, SEO, impactful social media marketing, affiliate marketing, branding, and the technological ins and outs of WordPress and Google Analytics (and much more). All in an attempt to turn this blog into a way of life, a way to turn a passion for food and writing into a self-sustaining, and one day, profitable business.

While my perfectionist nature helps me stay motivated, excited, ambitious, and always striving to learn and improve all aspects of my blog, it also holds me back, especially in one big area. Food photography.

Some may look at the picture of kohlrabi above and say, “What a cool looking vegetable.” I see it differently, thinking to myself, “Dang, I should’ve bought a bulb that still had its stem attached for a REALLY cool photo.” or “Dang, I should’ve used a white tabletop for a brighter photo. This looks so drab.” Those “dang” moments turn into “This isn’t good enough. I’m not posting it.”

And that’s where I get stuck. Not sharing new content. Going back and re-shooting old content. Going back and tweaking old photos in Lightroom. Deleting Pins on Pinterest.

Instead of moving forward, I’m moving backwards, if I move at all. Instead of progress, sabotage. And the worst kind: Self-sabotage.

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

I was very close to not blogging about this recipe.

Nevermind that it’s positively delicious and one of my favorite recipes to date, but that didn’t seem to matter. Nor did it matter how much I love the sweet and savory flavor profile of this vegetable, which is like biting into a sweet turnip and earthy radish at the same time. It didn’t matter that the beautiful flavor of kohlrabi didn’t need much dressing up to yield delicious home fries, just a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper. The texture of the baked kohlrabi home fries melt in your mouth, but still have enough bite and structure to pick up and dip into a tangy sauce. Simple, easy, and scrumptious. But that didn’t matter either.

What mattered were the photos and the fault I found with them. They weren’t sharp enough, bright enough, pretty enough. They didn’t have the same crisp, clean look as my recent Stone Fruit Cobbler recipe. The natural lighting is drab and flat.  My overhead shot up top isn’t sharp or styled enough.

I should’ve shot at a different time of day. I should’ve used a different window. I should’ve used my tripod to avoid camera shake. I should’ve approached my styling differently so the pictures are more interesting and enticing.

The endless critique of “should’ve” puts me in reverse, or leads to inaction. No post, no new content, and therefore no growth.

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

I look upon the tzatziki photos a little more kindly, but maybe it’s my bias. I lived in Greece until I was five, and tzatziki is one of my favorite foods in the whole wide world. Tzatziki is a traditional Greek sauce typically served over vegetables or meat, but one I choose to eat with a spoon.

Simple yet so flavorful, brimming with grated cucumber and seasoned simply with garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar for a dipping sauce that’s cool, tangy, zesty, and creamy at the same time. I eat it with just about everything, so why not with kohlrabi? Done and done. Recipe tested and deemed deliciously shareworthy.

While the recipe is sound, I kept finding fault with the photos. The tzatziki photos are sharper at least, but the natural light is flat. Tzatziki is full of zing, but the photos are not doing it justice.

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

No matter how much I played around with photo editing in Lightroom, I just couldn’t get these photos to look the way I wanted them to look. I couldn’t capture my very specific definition of food photography perfection. And because the photos aren’t perfect, the entire post isn’t good enough. Post scratched.

Then I talked with CJ. I mulled over my struggle with perfectionism and how it’s doing me more harm that good. How it’s trapping me into a state of paralysis, preventing me from moving forward. My idea of perfection is starting to become unattainable as I strive for levels of food photography awesomeness from bloggers with years of experience. The comparison game is as self-sabotaging as perfectionism.

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

I could’ve gone to the store and remade this recipe and photographed again on a different day, but I needed to break myself of the habit of moving in reverse and let go of the comfort I had built over spinning in circles in once place, always re-editing, tweaking, changing.

With that said, I believe going back and re-working or re-shooting a recipe until blog-worthy are certainly necessary at times. I realized I lost sight of when those times are appropriate, my idea of perfection so strict it became stifling, warping my common sense and how I define “necessary” and “appropriate.”

Baked Kohlrabi Fries with traditional Greek Tzatziki l Steph in Thyme #glutenfree #vegetarian

After a long conversation with myself about my perfectionism, I decided to share this delicious recipe for Baked Kohlrabi Fries with Greek Tzatziki. It’s a healthy approach to Game-Day snacking, an alternative to French fries and sweet potato fries that’s still full of flavor and texture. It’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy kohlrabi, and I’m obsessed with Greek tzatziki. That they pair well together is like striking food gold.

And the photos are perfect in their imperfection. Visual proof of how far I’ve come in my food photography, how hard I’m working to make them better, and documentation of my beautiful journey of learning, exploring, and sharing my passion with the world. I could sit on my laptop, spinning in one place, editing and tweaking and spiraling over an idea of perfection that’s becoming harder for me to attain.

Or, I can introduce you to the tasty wonder of kohlrabi fries with a description and photos that hopefully inspire you to make them at home. At the end of the day, that’s really why I’m doing this. Not to be perfect, but just to be me as I am right now, sharing what I find yummy with friends in food.

With all that said, I hope you enjoy this healthy and different approach to home fries and discover kohlrabi if you haven’t encountered the vegetable before.

I would love to hear from you, both about perfectionism and kohlrabi. Please share in the comments or connect with me via the social channels below.

For more food related fun, and to see what’s cooking up in my kitchen, follow me on:
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Baked Kohlrabi Fries with Greek Tzatziki
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Baked kohlrabi home fries with tangy, zesty, creamy Greek tzatziki dipping saucei. A healthy approach to Game-Day snacking and an alternative to potato fries.
Serves: 6-8 servings
Kohlrabi Fries
  • 1 large bulb kohlrabi, ends removed and sliced into ½" thick home fries
  • ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Greek Tzatziki
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 large English cucumber, grated and excess water squeezed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Rinse the cucumber and pat dry. Trim off both ends then shred cucumber using a grater. Lay cucumber shreds on a paper towel at the bottom of a colander. Set colander in the sink or over a bowl to let the cucumber shreds strain. Let sit for one hour. Take the ends of the paper towel(s) with the cucumber shreds in the center and twist and squeeze tightly to remove any excess moisture.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, drained cucumber shreds, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and crushed garlic. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir again. Cover and chill for four hours, or ideally overnight.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Rinse the kohlrabi and pat dry. Trim off the tough ends. Slice the bulb in half, then slice each half into ½" size fries.
  4. Place raw kohlrabi on a large rimmed baking sheet (I lined mine with a silicone mat). Drizzle olive oil over the fries and season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to coat then spread evenly in a single layer across the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the fries can be pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and scoop onto a serving platter. Serve warm with tzatziki.

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  1. says

    AMEN to that girl! The struggle is real. I have struggled with that a lot, and I would venture to say that probably every blogger has at some point. I think we have to get to a place where we are happy with what we do and not allow that “good enough/perfectionism” to take over because it’s a kill joy and prevents you from doing what you loved in the first place! You are on my heart girl, I’ll be praying! Hugs sweet girl!

    PS these fries look ridic! And that tzatziki sauce, just pass me a spoon!

    • steph says

      Awww thank you so much for the virtual pep talk, love, and hugs! So glad I’m not alone in the struggle. Thanks for the kind words xoxox

  2. says

    I would never think to make kohlrabi into fries…so creative! And your tzatziki is making me wish I had a bowl just for me right now! How cool you lived in Greece!!! And I think you’re too hard on yourself because you’ve accomplished so much in one year and your photos are just lovely!!

  3. says

    Waouh your blog is awesome! totally my food philosophy healthy + wholesome. I love this fries but I am not sure where I could buy this veggie in NZ, I never saw this anywhere ;/

    • steph says

      Thank you so much! And New Zealand, wow! I dream of visiting NZ one day. The closest we got was a trip to Fiji for our honeymoon, wish we had time to tack on some time in NZ!

  4. says

    I am so glad you decided to post this recipe. I love the photos and the recipe, and I’m very interested to learn about kohlrabi, a vegetable I keep hearing about but have never tried. I have the same insecurities, fears and doubts about my work on my blog. I feel like I’m on a journey of discovery and I really value the experience because I am learning new things every day. It’s pushing me to get better. And I’m really happy to connect with this community and to hear wonderful voices like yours. Keep it up. I think you’re doing a beautiful job. :-)

    • steph says

      Thank you so much, Christine! Appreciate your kind words. Very well said about a “journey of discovery,” I love that! I’m a very goal-driven person, but I’ve had to embrace that blogging is really a journey and not so much about the end destination. Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad I got an opportunity to discover your blog (gorgeous cardamom baked stuffed apples!) and am following your journey now <3

    • steph says

      Thank you! I’ve heard about kohlrabi so much but haven’t tried it until recently. Love its texture and flavor!

  5. says

    Oh girl. You just took the words out of mouth. Being a perfectionist is good and bad. While we strive to be our best, like you said, we self-sabotage along the way. I have recently decided to take a bit of time off as I have a baby due at the end of this month and blogging became a drag. Despite doing it as my full time job, I was dreading photographing because I was working too quickly. Too many things on my plate and I was hating 90% of my photos. Even scraped a whole month work of work! I feel your pain, and I love your honesty about this as it’s so true for so many of us but we don’t voice it! Hearing it from others makes one feel better and not to stress the “I hates” quite as much. At least that is how I see it!

    In other words, I love these photos! I love the shadows, the mood and the colors! And you are making me crave some healthy fries!

    • steph says

      Thanks so much for sharing, Meg! Great point about working too quickly – I’ve been doing that as well recently. Between recipe development, photographing, editing, writing, social media…there’s such a long to-do list and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I’ve been rushing the process and have had to remind myself to slow down and take my time to really get everything “right,” especially the photos. And I agree, I feel better knowing I’m not alone here!

      Congrats on the upcoming bundle of joy, so exciting!! <3

    • steph says

      My Nana used to eat kohlrabi all the time growing up, I heard about it from her and saw it in the grocery store the other day and had to try it! I found it taste like a cross between cabbage, turnip, and radish. A bit sweet, but also earthy. Tasty!

  6. says

    I’ve never tried kohlrabi before but these fries are making me want to go purchase some right now! Everything about this recipes looks delicious!

  7. says

    These fries look perfect enough for me. I wish I can have a bowl now. I’m also a perfectionist and I just talked about it on my blog too! I have the same problem of always editing pictures to a point I am almost sick of looking at them. It is tough to learn how to let go. But on the good side, this is what makes us better, right? Sharing your delicious fries now! :)

    • steph says

      Yes! I totally agree – finding that point of letting go is so important and does make us better. Very well said! Thanks so much for sharing <3

    • steph says

      My Nana grew up eating kohlrabi (Polish descent)…I’ve heard about it for years and recently started seeing it everywhere, both at farmers’ markets and at the grocery store. It’s my new favorite vegetable!

  8. says

    Loving both of these recipes!! I try my best to get my photos “perfect,” but I don’t beat myself up if something goes wrong. I also like to take a lot of photos, so if one shot doesn’t seem to be working, I can sub in another.

    • steph says

      Yes! Great idea. I tend to take a ton of photos, all different angles, swapping out props. But when the light is wrong though, none of that seems to matter. It’s always a struggle with light!

    • steph says

      Thank you so much for visiting and reading! And great way to put it – it’s really about letting go (and learning to let go).

    • steph says

      Thanks so much for reading and visiting, glad you found it relatable :) I’m sure we can apply the Agreements to our perfectionist tendencies. I have to remind myself daily to “let go.” Yoga and Pranayama certainly help, but it sure is a process/journey!

  9. says

    Thanks so much for sharing these at Savoring Saturday, Steph! I’m going to feature them at this weekend’s party – hope you’ll be back!

  10. says

    I hear you about the perfectionism and not sharing content because you think you could do better the next time….that being said, I’m glad you decided that these were perfect in their imperfection and shared them with us.

    I’ve only tried kohlrabi once and it didn’t taste as good as your fries look. I will have to keep a look out for kohlrabi when I make my weekly trips to the Farmer’s Market. I’ve pinned this recipe so I can remember to make it.

    Oh and I love tzatziki and I had no idea that it was that easy to make. Will definitely be making it very soon.

    • steph says

      Thanks for visiting and sharing, Linda! I hope you find kohlrabi and enjoy this recipe and the tzatziki (yes, so easy!). Thanks for pinning!


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