Everything to Know About Kohlrabi
It’s magical in slaws and salads — but you can roast it too.
By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen
Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.
That vegetable you see at the farmers market that looks a little bit like a tiny alien? That's called Kohlrabi. If you’re a fan of broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, you'll most definitely love kohlrabi too. Read on for how to prep and use it.
What Is Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable, just like cabbage, broccoli and kale. It comes into season in the summer time.
The funny-looking vegetable is about the size and shape of an orange, with a bunch of leafy stems sticking out. It has thick skin that can range from pale green to purple, though the inside is always a very pale yellow.
The smaller bulbs tend to be more tender and flavorful, but the large ones are also fine for cooking and eating. The bulb and the leaves are all edible (the freshest kohlrabi will still have the leaves attached, which can be eaten raw or cooked like any greens). Every inch of the veggie is packed with fiber, vitamin C, potassium and even some protein.
What Is Purple Kohlrabi?
Purple kohlrabi ranges in hue from deep violet to pale lavender. Like green kohlrabi, purple must be completely peeled before you use it. Once it’s peeled, it looks and tastes just like green kohlrabi. The leaves are just as edible, and they do add their beautiful purple hue to dishes.
What Does Kohlrabi Taste Like?
Kohlrabi tastes like a peppery version of the insides of a broccoli stem. It has the sweetness of the broccoli with a bit of the peppery spice of turnips or radishes. If you want to emphasize its sweetness, try adding a pinch of sugar when you're cooking kohlrabi.
How to Cook Kohlrabi
How to Prep Kohlrabi
Peel the kohlrabi. Whether you’re cooking kohlrabi or serving it raw, you will need to completely peel and discard the thick, tough outer layer (you may need a sharp knife for this; the skin is quite tough and indigestible).
Cut the kohlrabi. To enjoy the crunch of raw kohlrabi, you'll want to cut it into delicate pieces. Chop it into julienne matchsticks, shred it using the shredding attachment on your food processor or thinly slice it with a mandoline. Or, if you're cooking it, you can cut it into coins or wedges.
How to Enjoy Raw Kohlrabi
Because of its appealing crunch, shaved or shredded kohlrabi is often turned into slaw or tossed into salads.
Common Ways to Cook Kohlrabi
There are several ways to cook kohlrabi, most of them similar to how you cook potatoes: boiled, steamed, roasted, fried or mashed. Slices and sticks can be stir-fried, and the whole stem can be hollowed out and stuffed with a veggie and rice or meat filling and baked like stuffed peppers.
Kohlrabi greens are the top leaves that shoot off up the sides, and they can be cooked like spinach, or thinly sliced and added raw to salads.
We love the ease of a bag of slaw mix, but if you want to go all-in with kohlrabi, you can peel and grate it in. Either way, this salad is delicious.
Kohlrabi gets the roasted potato treatment in this recipe and then it’s dusted with parmesan cheese. One bite will convince any kohlrabi skeptic that it’s worthy of all the praise.
The delicate chew of savoy cabbage meets the crunch of kohlrabi in this lemon-dill dressed slaw.
You’ll be really happy that the recipe for this sweet-crunchy kohlrabi slaw makes 2 cups of blue cheese dressing but uses only 1. The leftovers are perfect for a wedge salad later in the week.
Apples and kohlrabi are a good combo in slaws and salads: the sweet apple balances the cruciferous flavors in the kohlrabi.
It’s always nice to have an alternative to mashed potatoes, and our Kohlrabi mash is a great option to save to your recipe box.