Top 5 Ways to Use Kohlrabi
I love trying out new vegetables in my plant-powered kitchen. Recently, I spied kohlrabi at my farmers market, and had to bring it home to give it a spin. This is a highly nutritious vegetable—part of the famous cruciferous vegetable family, along with cabbage, cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts. These pungent vegetables have phytochemicals that are linked with cancer protection. Rich in fiber, vitamins A, C, K and the Bs, you can’t go wrong with adding this vegetable to your lineup.
Known as the “German turnip” because of its resemblance to turnips, kohlrabi literally translates to “cabbage turnip.” Originally from northern Europe, this unique looking bulb was unknown in the U.S. until the early 1800s. Its flavor, which is like a milder, sweeter turnip, has also been likened to broccoli stems. Be sure to eat them when they’re young, as the flavor intensifies and they toughen with age. The freshness of the attached greens is a good indicator of age, so try to find kohlrabi with greens attached.
Don’t be afraid of its unusual, knobby appearance. Kohlrabi is made up of a bulb (usually pale white-green or purple) with stalks of leaves sprouting up. If the greens are young and fresh, use them like other greens—raw in salads, sautéed, or steamed. You can use the crunchy bulb in fresh slaws or with dips; cooked in soups or stews; roasted like you might other vegetables, or sautéed in stir-fries or fritters.
Top 5 Ways to Use Kohlrabi
1. Roast ‘em Up! One of my favorite ways to enjoy kohlrabi is roasted. Cut into small, uniform chunks, roasting caramelizes them beautifully, sweetening their flavor deliciously. Toss them with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and add a few herbs—I like the flavor of thyme here—and finish with a drizzle of your favorite vinegar if you like. Try them in my recipe, Roasted Kohlrabi with Pumpkin Seeds—garlic, cumin, pumpkin seeds, and white wine vinegar really make them shine.
2. Enjoy it Raw. Take advantage of this veggie’s raw crunch! Sliced into discs or matchsticks, kohlrabi is a nice change served with your favorite veggie dip. It also adds a novel kick to salads with its subtly spicy flavor, similar to a mild radish. Definitely give grated kohlrabi a go in slaws. Tossed with a good quality olive oil and lightly seasoned, it’s so good, but try mixing in other slaw faves for color and flavor, like I do in my recipe, Shaved Kohlrabi, Carrot, Radish Slaw.
3. Trying Sautéing. This is the perfect way to use the whole veggie. Both the crunchy bulb and the tender greens can be utilized, complementing the different textures and similar flavors each brings to the pan. Be sure to slice the bulb into small slices for quicker cooking and add them to the pan ahead of the greens, which just need a short wilt. Delightful with lemon juice or light vinegar, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs or pine nuts, this is a quick meal, perfect for weeknights.
4. Steam up a Batch. Kohlrabi is incredibly versatile. Cut or slice as desired, steam, and most anything goes. Add steamed kohlrabi to dishes, like stir fries, pasta, soups, and stews. It’s also fun to mash them with cauliflower or potatoes.
5. Fry some Fritters. Who says you can’t play with your vegetables! Kids absolutely love fritters—as do adults, for that matter—and kohlrabi makes the ideal fritter. Grate the bulb and mix it into a batter of flour or breadcrumbs. Bake or fry—frying gives them that nice crisp exterior—and enjoy on their own or with your favorite dip or sauce, like cashew cream.
For other guides on using seasonal produce, check out the following: