What Can You Do with Kohlrabi?
Here are some ideas on how to use this green.
Kohlrabi—from the German kohl (“cabbage”) and Rübe (“turnip”) —is a cultivated variety of Brassica oleracea and a close relative of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale (among others). Its defining physical trait is its swollen, almost spherical bulb.
The leaves, stems, and bulb (the most commonly eaten part) have a mild flavor like a sweeter broccoli or a more vegetal cauliflower, though kohlrabi is a bit less sulfurous than both. The bulb, which can be eaten either raw or cooked, has two distinct layers of fibrous skin that should be thoroughly peeled away before eating. The texture of the bulb is crisp like a radish, though larger, more mature kohlrabi can get a little woody and develop a bitter flavor. It's therefore advisable to look for small- to medium-size kohlrabi; something about the size of a navel orange is ideal.
When sliced thin, shredded, grated, or julienned, the peeled bulb makes a nice addition to salads and a delicious replacement for cabbage in slaws. When cut into larger pieces, it works great roasted, stir-fried, or in braises and soups, though long cooking can dull the delicate flavor. It can also be pureed into a creamy soup like cauliflower can be.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Kohlrabi, which can be either green or purple, is in the Brassica genus. Look for younger, small- to medium-size bulbs. The flesh of younger bulbs is crisp, delicate, and sweet (sometimes with a peppery note) and is best when sliced thin and eaten raw or cooked quickly.