Kohlrabi – The German Turnip

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Have you ever eaten kohlrabi? Not many people have. In fact, few have actually held or even seen a kohlrabi in the supermarket. And yet it is an extremely nutritious and tasty vegetable.

What is it?

Kohlrabi is a stout green vegetable that resembles a cabbage and a turnip in shape, size and color. The name kohlrabi comes from the German word for cabbage, kohl, and the German word for turnip, rube or rabi.  

It’s in the same family as the brussels sprout, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and collard greens. Kohlrabi tastes like the stem of broccoli but it has a crisper texture. Many people compare the texture of kohlrabi to an apple.

Kohlrabi is a root vegetable that has leafy greens which grow above ground. The greens are edible, too, and are often eaten like kale or collard greens. However, it’s the fruit that is most often eaten. It’s a popular food in Indian cuisine.

Health Benefits

Kohlrabi is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are the lovely chemicals and nutrients that help your cells repair. Eating vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants has been shown to prevent disease.

Like many vegetables, kohlrabi is also high in fiber, healthy carbohydrates, and it even has a bit of protein. One cup of kohlrabi has about 36 calories.

Fun Fact

According to recordholders.org, the largest kohlrabi weighed 39.5 pounds. That’s the size of a small toddler, a medium sized dog, or about five gallons of water.

How to Eat

Eating kohlrabi is easy. You can peel it like an apple and dig in. You can dice it up and add it to salads. Many people enjoy eating kohlrabi raw. However, you can cook it too. If you like slaws, like coleslaw, you can shred a peeled kohlrabi and an apple and enjoy the crunchy sweetness.

Like many other vegetables in the kohlrabi family, it can be roasted too. Slow roasting tends to bring out the sweetness of vegetables and that’s true for kohlrabi. You can cut it into the shape of a French fry, sprinkle a little salt and enjoy.

It’s delicious boiled or sautéed and added to a curry. And if you enjoy pickles, pickled kohlrabi is delicious. It’s important to make sure you peel the kohlrabi well before eating. It has two outer layers that should be peeled away before eating raw or cooked.

Finally, don’t forget that the greens can be cooked too. Kohlrabi greens are excellent raw as part of a salad. They’re also delicious when sautéed in a bit of olive oil or tallow, onions and garlic.

While the kohlrabi has been called the ugliest vegetable, don’t read this book by its cover. Crunchy sweetness hides inside this rotund, green and bumpy vegetable.


Kohlrabi Recipes


Creamy Kohlrabi Salad

1 pound kohlrabi globes, each about 2 inches across
3 scallions, minced
1 tbsp minced red onion
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp coarse mustard

Cut kohlrabi into quarters and steam, covered, over boiling water until tender, 25 minutes.
When kohlrabi are cool enough to handle, remove the skins with your fingers. Place kohlrabi in a medium bowl with scallions and onion.
In a food processor or blender, combine ricotta, mayonnaise, and mustard and process just until creamy. Pour ricotta mixture over kohlrabi mixture and toss well to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Kohlrabi and Carrots

2 c. sliced, peeled kohlrabi
4 med. carrots, bias sliced
1 tsp. instant chicken bouillon
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
¼ c. half & half
1 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt

Cook kohlrabi and carrots separately in boiling salted water. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup liquid from carrots and 1/3 cup kohlrabi; combine. Add bouillon and stir to dissolve.
Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and vegetable liquid. Cook and stir until thickened and boil 1 minute.
Add half and half, lemon juice and salt; stir to mix. Pour over hot vegetables.


Creamy Mashed Kohlrabi

1 large Kohlrabi, cubed
2 Tbsp Butter
½ Cup Milk
1.5 Tbsp Sour Cream
2 Large Green Onions, minced
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel and cut kohlrabi into small cubes. Add to boiling pot of water. Lightly salt water and boil at least 15 minutes until kohlrabi is fork tender.
Mince the green onions and garlic. Add garlic, green onions, sour cream, and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Leave the milk ready on the side.
When the kohlrabi is fork tender, drain it. Add well drained vegetable into the food processing bowl. Cover and process, adding milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
Return puree to warm pan and heat through as needed.


Kohlrabi and Egg Noodles

4 cups egg noodles
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 cups grated kohlrabi
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook egg noodles in boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through yet firm; drain.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add kohlrabi, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the kohlrabi is tender.
Stir the drained egg noodles into the kohlrabi; cook and stir until the noodles are slightly fried.


Kohlrabi Casserole

5 large kohlrabi
1 onion
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Peel the kohlrabi, wash and cut into ½ inch slices.
Dredge each slice with flour and lightly fry on both sides.
Fry the finely chopped onion in the remaining oil, until yellow.
Add 1 teaspoon flour and let fry some more.
Then add milk and let come to a boil.
Place the fried kohlrabi in this sauce, salt and simmer, covered, shaking the pan from time to time.
At the end add the chopped parsley.
In this dish the milk can be replaced with water and added 1-2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.