What Is Kohlrabi?

Learn about the crunchy vegetable kohlrabi, including how to shop for it, store it, and prepare it (both raw and cooked).

Kohlrabi
Elise Bauer

Have you ever eaten kohlrabi? These little sputnik-shaped vegetables come in green or purple, can be eaten raw or cooked, and taste a bit like broccoli stems, but milder and slightly sweeter.

Kohlrabi

Family: Brassica (cabbage)

Edible parts: Leaves and stems

Surprise! The "bulb" grows above ground and is actually a swollen segment of the stem

Uses: Cook the leaves, peel and cook the bulb or slice and shred and eat raw

What Is Kohlrabi?

The word kohlrabi is German for "cabbage turnip" (kohl as in cole-slaw, and rübe for turnip) though kohlrabi is not a root vegetable at all. It's a brassica—like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower—and those cute bulbous shapes grow above ground, not below.

Kohlrabi is a rather versatile vegetable when it comes to how to prepare. We usually eat them raw—peeled, sliced and added to a salad or used for serving with a dip.

Kohlrabi
Elise Bauer

How to Prepare Kohlrabi

You can also steam, boil, bake, grill, or roast them. Just peel away the outside thick skin first. Add them to soups or stews. Grate them and toss with grated carrots or apples.

Boil them and mash them with potatoes or other root vegetables. Stir-fry them with other vegetables, or julienne them and fry them like potatoes. Look for Indian recipes using kohlrabi as they are often used in Indian cuisine.

The leaves are also perfectly edible, and can be cooked up like kale.

Purple Kohlrabi
Elise Bauer

How to Choose and Store Kohlrabi

When shopping for kohlrabi, look for bulbs that feel heavy in your hand and are crisp. Avoid wilted leaves and blemishes.

Store kohlrabi in the crisper drawer. You're better off storing the leaves and the bulb separately; cut the leaves off and store them in a bag. Use the leaves as soon as possible, within a few days. The unpeeled bulbs will keep for up to a month.

What Does Kohlrabi Taste Like?

Kohlrabi tastes similar to a broccoli stalk, but a bit more tender and sweet. Don't forget to remove the tough outer peel, then use the bulb either raw or cooked. It can be prepared much like a broccoli stalk, too—if raw, shred it and use it in slaw or thinly slice and use in a salad. Small or thin pieces are best since the raw bulb is very crunchy.

To cook, again cook it like you would a broccoli stem. Chop and add to a stir-fry or soup, roast in the oven, steam, and more. The leaves are also tasty and can be used similarly to kale. Remove the thick part of the stem and slice thinly to add to salads. Or cook them up, stir-frying the leaves along with the bulb or tossing them into soups.


     
     
     
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Kohlrabi having a good time (just couldn't resist). Elise Bauer