Veggie Resolution #9: Kohlrabi

Cooking / Eating In

Last week’s CSA pick-up included the usual goodies: garlic scapes (Love!), fava beans (Looooove!) and the like.  It also included one extremely beautiful but alien-looking vegetable – the kohlrabi.  As you can see, it looks a bit like a radish and at times a beet, but not completely like one or the other.  Plus its leaves grow from all parts of the bulb – fascinating!  I was intrigued by its beautiful magenta color, but as to how to prepare it – completely clueless.

Thankfully I turned to my trusty source, the internet, and scrounged up some facts about the kohlrabi.  Here’s what you need to know:

  1. It is related to cabbage, broccoli and kale
  2. Its exterior can range from white to pale green to deep purple (I’m so happy with the magenta one I got – isn’t it pretty?)
  3. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

Another thing I learned – if you have a choice, choose the smaller kohlrabi (the size of a golf ball was mentioned) as the larger ones can be fibrous and tough.  Weeell, I didn’t know this beforehand, and since my CSA allotment was “1 large or 2 small kohlrabi” I of course took the largest one I could find – the size of a softball.  Oopsies. Thankfully it was still tender and delicious!

I considered eating the kohlrabi raw, but then I found a recipe with Parmesan, and well – I think you know which option I chose.  I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (I used a little less Parmesan so I could really appreciate the flavor of the veggie), but it’s pretty close.  You will need:

  • 1 large kohlrabi
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 tbsp minced parsley

1. First, you need to tame this tricky guy.  Peel off the stems and leaves, so you’ve got a semi-naked kohlrabi:

2. Then remove the tough outer layer, so you’ve got a fully naked kohlrabi:

3. Cut the kohlrabi into thin strips, Julienne style.  If you have some kind of Julienne cutter, that would be really handy. I didn’t, so this was really laborious.

At this point, I tried one of the slices – it was sweet and slightly reminiscent of cabbage, with a consistency of a potato or crispy apple. Not bad!

4. Saute the kohlrabi in olive oil, stirring frequently, until tender (approximately 8 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.  Immediately add Parmesan, stirring until cheese is slightly melted.

5. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

I added chopsticks to the photo because I thought the finished product kinda looked like an Asian dish, but yeah, it really doesn’t. Oh well. ANYWAY.  I really really liked this dish.  I wasn’t sure if I would – the raw kohlrabi smells a bit like cabbage, and while I don’t detest cabbage it’s not my favorite food in the world.  But the cooked kohlrabi was sweet, tender and just the slightest bit crispy.  If you ever come across this unique looking vegetable, definitely give it a try!

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44 Comments

  • Reply
    Alice
    July 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I love cabbage so I might have to give this veggies a try. After being cut up, it reminds me of jicama!

  • Reply
    Mina
    July 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

    look at you, you vegetable maven! i’ve always been stumped by kohlrabi, but it sounds great! thanks for the recipe–now i know what to do with the damn thing.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    July 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    So you are opening up my world to veggies, Serena! I have NEVER heard of this before, but I’m sure if I mentioned it to my mom, she’d be like “oh yeah, I used to eat that all the time. Maybe we can add it to our garden.”

  • Reply
    Layla
    July 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I’ve never, ever, heard of this vegetable!

    • Reply
      Serena
      July 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      Me neither! Not until last week, that is!

  • Reply
    Amy
    July 12, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Interesting! The veggie looks so pretty.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    July 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

    This sounds delicious! The way you describe it sounds so good. 😀

  • Reply
    Dawn {The Alternative Wife}
    July 12, 2011 at 10:42 am

    So funny, last year when I was part of a CSA I got it too and had no idea what it was. I ended up loving it. I miss not being part of one this year because I was introduced to so many new veggies that I had never hear of.

  • Reply
    gloria
    July 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

    This look beauty and delicious, lkove colour! gloria

  • Reply
    Diana
    July 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I bet that taste pretty good. You are doing a great job with odd veggies that not a lot of us know about and you are making them look better than ever. You will have this country eating better in no time 🙂

    • Reply
      Serena
      July 12, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Thank you, Diana! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mo
    July 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I think it’s super pretty! 🙂
    I have never seen one before, but it has so much character. It looks so shy and vulnerable after you shed it of its leaves and color!

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    July 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    YAY! I’m so glad you were able to conquer it! Looks like you did a fantastic job!

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  • Reply
    Kim
    July 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m intrigued by the kohlrabi! I’ll have to try this out soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Geek in Heels
    July 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for experimenting with, and writing about this strange veggie. I’m usually a wimp when it comes to exotic/new foods (especially ones that look funky, like the kohlrabi), but you’ve given me some extra courage to try more new things!

    • Reply
      Serena
      July 12, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Definitely give it a try, it’s a really delicious vegetable!

  • Reply
    Ngoc
    July 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    ooh looks yummy. On Bizarre Foods, they had kohlrabi and shredded beef jerky as a salad. You should try that next time too.

    • Reply
      Serena
      July 12, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Oooh interesting 🙂

  • Reply
    Meister @ The Nervous Cook
    July 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    So that’s what you do with kohlrabi!

  • Reply
    Annie
    July 12, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I absolutely love kohlrabi and I always buy them in the Union Square farmer’s market on Saturdays. YUM. I’ll have to try it this way, I usually make a salad out of it raw with radish and asian pears. 🙂

    • Reply
      Serena
      July 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      Yum, I love asian pears! And I could see how the texture of the kohlrabi would go well with radishes and pears too. I’ll have to try it!

  • Reply
    MacchaMe
    July 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    You make it look tasty!

  • Reply
    Michael
    July 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I never saw the purple one, but I’m more familiar with the green one usually sold at Asian supermarkets. The skin is usually kind of tough. I peel it slice it and stir fry it with beef and oyster sauce.

  • Reply
    Lilian Harlow
    July 13, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Oh I have had this vegetable before in a restaurant and it was DELICIOUS! I’m not sure how they prepared it, but I’ve been wanting to try it again ever since.

  • Reply
    honeymyheart
    July 13, 2011 at 2:37 am

    what an interesting vegetable. i’ve never heard of it, but looks like it turned out well 🙂

  • Reply
    Mandy
    July 13, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I love this recipe–I’ve never tried it cooked before, I just always diced it up and put it in salads! It adds a nice crunchy texture to them & I think the flavor is reminiscent of broccoli. I’ll have to try cooking it next time!

  • Reply
    Butter
    July 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Poor, naked kohlrabi, ending up on the internet, no less. Sounds simple and tasty – I will have to pick one up next time I see it at the farmer’s market. Wish there was a way to incorporate the gorgeous magenta color.

  • Reply
    shannon
    July 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    interesting! love the way you prepared it. i haven’t tackled kohlrabi yet, so… i’ll try to get on it 🙂

  • Reply
    penga
    July 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    i’ve never heard of this veggie before! it looks so interesting (and tasty in that last photo)!

  • Reply
    Ramya
    August 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration. I bought some (smaller, tender) kohlrabi at the Greenmarket last week and prepared this today. SO delicious!

    • Reply
      Serena
      August 8, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      Yay! I’m glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    Megan
    October 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Just got a kohlrabi in my CSA box and came straight here to figure out what to do with it! Mine’s green, I wonder if the flavor will be different than yours? I’ll let you know how it goes!

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