Kohlrabi is a member of the cruciferous, or cabbage, vegetable family, with an edible bulb and also edible leaves. It can be eaten raw or cooked and adds a wonderful crunch to all kinds of dishes. My favorite way to use it is uncooked in a slaw, like Carrot, Cabbage, and Kohlrabi Slaw, or a salad, like the Crunchy Green Salad recipe down below!
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What Does Kohlrabi Look Like?
Kohlrabi kind of looks like a vegetable UFO! Kohlrabi is about the size of an orange, heavy for their size, with a bunch of stems sticking out willy nilly, and then often some collard green-like leaves stick out from the top (unless they were trimmed off). They have thick skin that can range from pale green to purple-ish, though the inside is always a very pale yellow.
The smaller ones tend to be more tender and flavorful, but the large ones are also fine for cooking and eating. Select small, hard, unblemished bulbs that are heavy for their size.
What Does Kohlrabi Taste Like?
Kohlrabi reminds me, in taste and texture, of peeled broccoli stems with a bit of peppery radish thrown in. The leaves are edible (the freshest kohlrabi will still have the leaves attached, which can be eaten raw or cooked like any greens).
How Do I Prepare Kohlrabi?
Peel it very thoroughly (you may need a sharp knife for this, as the skin is quite tough and indigestible) and cube, slice, julienne, or grate it and use it as the recipe directs. No matter how you prepare it, you need to peel it first.
Kohlrabi can be cooked — boiled or steamed (and then also mashed), sautéed, roasted, or fried. I, more often than not, use it raw for its appealing mild flavor and pronounced crispness. Julienne or grate it into your salad for a great crunch and a fresh but slightly spicy flavor.
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If the bulbs have leaves, cut them off. Store both the bulbs and the leaves separately in plastic bags in the refrigerator; up to a week for the leaves, and at least a couple of weeks for the bulbs (as long as they are unpeeled). If you store the leaves and bulb separately, each will stay fresher. You can also store kohlrabi in a cool dry place instead of the fridge.
When Is Kohlrabi in Season?
Winter and spring, but they are often available all year long. The bulb grows underground, the leaves above ground, though as the plant matures, the bulb starts to emerge from the ground.
Is Kohlrabi Nutritious?
Kohlrabi is high in fiber and vitamin C, according to Healthline. It is extremely low in calories, about 40 calories per cup.
Recipes That Use Kohlrabi
Crunchy Green Salad with Kohlrabi
This is one of our go-to salads. It can be made ahead and refrigerated for an hour. The longer it sits, the more melded the flavors will be, but the less crunch the vegetables will have, so it’s a bit of a toss-up (ba dump bump). I’ve happily eaten it a day or two after it’s been made.
You can also make the vinaigrette a couple of days ahead and slice up the vegetables a day ahead, then toss it right before serving.
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Kohlrabi in Crunchy Green Salad
- Cut the kohlrabi into manageable chunks, then cut those chunks into thin planks, about ¼-inch thick. Then sliver up those planks into ¼-inch-thick matchsticks (this is what is known as a julienne cut). Don’t worry if the slivers aren’t neat and tidy.
- Very thinly slice the celery crosswise, then do the same with the hearts of romaine so that you have thin ribbons of lettuce. Place it all in a serving bowl, along with the kohlrabi.
- Whisk together the rice vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper in a small bowl (or shake it up in a small container with a lid). Toss the vegetables with the dressing and serve, topped with the pea shoots, if desired.
- Peel kohlrabi very thoroughly (you may need a sharp knife for this, as the skin is quite tough and indigestible) and cube, slice, julienne, or grate it and use it as the recipe directs. No matter how you prepare it, you need to peel it first.
- This salad can be made ahead and refrigerated for an hour. The longer it sits, the more melded the flavors will be, but the less crunch the vegetables will have.
- You can also make the vinaigrette a couple of days ahead and slice up the vegetables a day ahead, then toss everything right before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.