Monday, June 18, 2012

Attack of the Kohlrabi!

It was staring up at me. A bulbous, purple root mass with thin piping attaching giant purple-flecked leaves. "What IS that?" I whispered.  The farmer's market vendor smiled and said, "Kohlrabi."  The name itself, strange and smooth, rolled around my tongue as the more pressing question burst forth: "How do you EAT that?"  The vendor shrugged, said her dad ate it raw, but I could roast it, and, intimidation setting in, I did not buy the purple things.

The next day, at my regular farmers market, kohlrabi stalked me; every stall showed its wares, purple and green, taunting me in my helpless, unknowing state.  I gave in and bought it, assuming that I could search for recipes on the internet. There were a few recipes, some pictures on Huffington Post (unfortunately posted after my kohlrabi-recipe search), and a recipe or two on foodnetwork, but nothing that grabbed my attention.

Which led me to embark on a three-week journey of kohlrabi experiments as I slowly fell for this bizarre looking plant.  The recipes below are a range from fairly simple summer salad to a more complicated stewed kohlrabi suitable for some of the unseasonably cool days we've had this June.  But most of all, the thing to love is the flavor of kohlrabi, a funky mix of radish and cabbage flavors with a smooth, crisp texture.

Kohlrabi Summer Salad


1 kohlrabi bulb
1 apple
1/2 cup walnuts or almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sea salt to taste

1. Slice the kohlrabi in half. Cut side down, start thinly slicing the bulb.  Once that's all sliced up, do the same to your apple.

2. Add all the ingredients, toss, and serve.

How simple is that?  Fresh, crispy, crunchy, sweet, salty, colorful... and did I mention, healthful? It doesn't get much better (or easier) than this.

Kohlrabi Wedges

1 kohlrabi bulb
1-2 sprigs of rosemary
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika (or more, if you like the smoky flavor)
sea salt to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 425 farenheit.

2. Slice the kohlrabi into wedges, just like in the above salad.

3. Toss the kohlrabi with the oil, rosemary, sea salt, and paprika.

4. Lay it out on a baking sheet, and cook for 40 minutes.

The kohlrabi will be fork-tender, juicy, translucent, and surprisingly sweet. Munch these like potato wedges, but pat yourself on the back for avoiding the starchiness and calories of potatoes.

Stewed Kohlrabi

1 kohlrabi bulb
1 small onion
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup of chicken (or vegetable) broth
sea salt to taste

1.  Medium dice the onion and kohlrabi (pieces should be about the size and shape of a large-ish lego piece). 

2. Mid-dice, start warming up a saute pan with the olive oil and butter, and toss the onions on when you've finished chopping (keep the heat low so you don't burn the onions).

3. After the onions get fragrant and translucent, add the kohlrabi, turn the heat to medium, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the kohlrabi starts to get a little soft when you poke it with a knife.

4. Add the spices, stir to coat the pieces of onion and kohlrabi, and let it cook 3-4 minutes more.

5. Add the broth and raisins, cover the pot, and let the kohlrabi stew for 10 minutes, until it melts when you touch it.

This dish is a little more complex, but yields a deep, warm, satisfying flavor, especially on a cool evening. 

So when you see these futuristic vegetables, don't be scared! At $2.75 for 3-4 bulbs at the Philadelphia farmer's markets, kohlrabi is a delicious, easy-to-please steal.

What do you like to do with your kohlrabi?


  1. How interesting! I love new unusual things that I've never heard of before. I so want to try this.

  2. Thanks Brandi! Let me know what you think of the recipes, and definitely add on to them if you have a yummy addition!

  3. Hi's Suz, Hannah's friend! I was telling her that I picked kohlrabi at a u-pick farm (because they looked so funny) but I have no clue what to do with it she sent me your link. I was just eating it raw in salads but your recipes sound very yummy, thanks for the ideas!!!

  4. Hi Suz! Thanks for the note - I always start grinning when I see someone's written to me! Let me know what you think of the recipes, and enjoy the kohlrabi :)