Kohlrabi: One of the Vegetable Kingdom's Overlooked Stars


I’m always puzzled as to why certain vegetables achieve mainstream status and others that are just as delicious and nutritious exist in obscurity. Kohlrabi is one such vegetable. Whenever I see it at the market – its gorgeous, odd green or purple bulbs next to its more popular cabbage-y cousins – I first want to thank the farmer who grew it and next take some home.

Since it’s March, and I’ve already eaten pounds and pounds of brassica vegetables (your kales, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, and collards) this winter, I’m looking for something new to help me shake off the winter doldrums. Kohlrabi is a wonderful welcome-to-spring vegetable:

– it’s crisp, juicy, and sweet with a bit of a radish’s bite,
– it’s high in fiber and vitamin C,

– the whole plant is edible, so you don’t need to peel it if it’s young and tender – the greens can be sauteed or steamed, and

– it’s versatile, too: terrific both raw and cooked.

For cooking ideas, you might take a look through your Indian cookbooks. Kohlrabi is much more popular in Indian cuisine. Or, take a cue from Eastern Europe, where it’s also more widely eaten, and add chunks of kohlrabi to stews and soups, like you would a turnip.

I like kohlrabi best raw. I shred it into a bowl of brown rice with avocado and sprouts for lunch. You could grate it and add to a veggie sandwich, or cut it into chunks and eat it as crudite. Next, I think I’m going to try this recipe from Epicurious for kohlrabi and apple slaw.

Image: annia316 ღ

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.