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!