Ta-da! They make little kohlrabi babies.! Kohlrabi has been kind of a lonely vegetable with its unique-looking appearance, however, it has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance lately. I grew up eating a lot of kohlrabi, and recently it has been offered to me via several farmers connections. I still remember my mother’s slow roasted kohlrabi sticks that looked like French fries tossed in garden-fresh dill. It’s a shame that not too many people are familiar with it!
Kohlrabi a member of the brassica family, like kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. The word comes from the German word “kohl," meaning cabbage, and “rabi," which is the word for turnip.
Kohlrabi peel is either a light green or purple color. Peel that outer layer off until you reach the light-colored, crisp flesh. The tough skin will not soften when cooked. Also, don’t through out the leaves! They’re perfectly edible and make a nice addition to most kohlrabi dishes. I suggest treating them like kale.
Kohlrabi is a versatile vegetable when it comes to preparation. You can eat it raw in salads, but I suggest combining it with other vegetables like apples or fennel because it can be a bit rough on the stomach. I also have steamed, boiled, baked, grilled and roasted them. Make a stir-fry with other vegetables, such as carrots. In addition, kohlrabi is terrific in soups and stews. It also makes a light vegetable puree comparable to mashed potatoes—just boil them and mash them with potatoes or root vegetables like celery root. I realized, when seeking out recipes on the Internet, that it is popular in Indian cooking, which is no surprise since kohlrabi adapts very well to spiced or spicy types of dishes.
Kohlrabi & Apple Salad
(recipe makes four salads)
1 pound kohlrabi
1 apple with a tart flavor profile such as Granny Smith
1 fennel bulb
8 juniper berries
2 lemons, juiced
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
8 turns black pepper
- Peel kohlrabi, then slice into 1/8”-thick strips. This can be done with a knife but I much prefer to use a mandolin.
- For the fennel, cut the tough top part and any fibrous leaves off.
- Chop apples into 1/8” cubes.
- Crush juniper berries with the side of a chef’s knife, then chop finely.
- In a bowl, combine kohlrabi, apple, fennel, and juniper berries, then season with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper.
- Let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then serve. It will soften the kohlrabi pleasantly.
Chef’s Note: Nutritionally, kohlrabi has phytochemicals that are highly regarded for their antioxidant properties.