What to Do with Kohlrabi

Pureed Kohlrabi
Sauted Kohlrabi
Roasted Kohlrabi with Parmesan
Roasted Kohlrabi with Sesame, Poppy and Fennel Seeds
Kashmiri Curried Kohlrabi
Quickly Pickled Kohlrabi Chips

Seven Kholrabi Slaws:

Kohlrabi-Radish Slaw
Kohlrabi Slaw with Cabbage, Carrots and Raisins
Asian-Style Kohlrabi Slaw
Paula Deen-Style Kohlrabi Slaw
Creamy Kohlrabi Slaw with Bacon and Water Chestnuts
Creamy Kohlrabi Slaw with Carrots
Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Creamy Mustard Dressing

Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, with a name that is a combination of the german words for cabbage and turnip. Like cabbage, kohlrabi can be purple or green, and the purple varieties are somewhat stronger tasting. The texture and taste is similar to that of a broccoli stem, and can be eaten in a similarly wide range of ways: raw, steamed, baked, roasted or pureed.

purple kohlrabi

purple kohlrabi from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, Calif., Dec. 24, 2011


The stems and leaves can be used in any recipe calling for greens. Small kohlrabi usually don’t need to peeled, but for those that are tennis ball-sized or larger, the tough skin will need to be peel off with a knife. Trivia buffs may be interested in knowing that kohlrabi is one of the most common vegetables eaten in Kashmir, hence the addition to this list of one recipe from that part of the world.

Pureed Kohlrabi [top]

4 kohlrabi bulbs with leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cream (or milk, chicken stock or water)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim the kohlrabi bulbs, peel off any tough skin and cut each bulb into several pieces. Rinse and coarsely chop the leaves.

2. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the kohlrabi. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Add the kohlrabi leaves to the skillet, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Then uncover, and cook, stirring, for several more minutes until all the liquid has evaporated. Set the skillet aside.

5. Drain the kohlrabi chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion mixture and all the remaining ingredients. Purée until smooth.

6. Transfer the purée to a saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes.

Sauted Kohlrabi [top]

2 large or 4 small kohlrabi, peeled and trimmed of leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon crushed dried basil leaves or
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil leaves

1. Grate the kohlrabi and place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit 30 minutes. Squeeze water out.

2. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet. Brown onions and stir in kohlrabi. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and turn up the heat to medium. Cook another 2 minutes.

3. Sprinkle with basil and serve.

Roasted Kohlrabi with Parmesan [top]

4 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Cut the kohlrabi into 1/4 inch thick slices and cut the larger slices in half. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, turning them over when they are about half cooked and stirring occasionally to brown the slices evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes.

Roasted Kohlrabi with Sesame, Poppy and Fennel Seeds [top]

3 medium kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the kohlrabi, olive oil, seeds and salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Spread the mixture in a single layer in a baking pan.

2. Shake pan occasionally while roasting until the kohlrabi is browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and adjust seasonings to taste.

Source: Adapted from Perfect Vegetables, by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

Kashmiri Curried Kohlrabi (Ganth Gobhi) [top]

1 teaspoon garam masala
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground fenugreek seeds
4 whole cloves
4 to 6 small kohlrabi with greens (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces, and the leaves finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 to 3 fresh green chili peppers, such as serrano, minced with seeds
½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, including soft stems
½ cup water, or as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick wok or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garam masala, cumin and fenugreek seeds, and cloves. Sizzle the spices in the oil for a few seconds and then stir in the kohlrabi pieces and leaves and cook, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Mix in all the remaining ingredients (except the water and black pepper) and continue to cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the water, cover the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes, until the kohlrabi is tender and most of the water has evaporated. Sprinkle with black pepper before serving.

Source: Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes, By Neelam Batra.

Quickly Pickled Kohlrabi Chips [top]

4 medium kohlrabi, trimmed
3 small onions
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 cups vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon tumeric

1. Peel and thinly slice kohlrabi and onions. Mix salt with 1 quart ice water, pour over the vegetables, and soak for 3 hours. Drain, rinse, and place in a bowl.

2. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil, cook for 3 minutes, and pour over the vegetables. Cool, cover and refrigerate for 3 days.

Source: Adapted from the Victory Garden Cookbook


kohlrabi from the farmers market in Flagstaff, Ariz., June 17, 2007

A Slew of Kholrabi Slaws

There are countless ways to make kohlrabi slaw. You can add ingredients ranging from sweet (apples or raisins) to pungent (cilantro or radishes). You can add a vinegary dressing or go for a creamier version with mayonnaise, sour cream, yoghurt or a combination. Here’s an array of kohlrabi slaw recipes from which you can mix and match to come up with a version all your own.

Kohlrabi-Radish Slaw [top]

2 small kohlrabi
1 cup radish
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 Trim any tough parts of skin from kohlrabi and shred with radishes in food processor or grater.

2. Mix 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley in a glass bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

3. Add shredded kohlrabi and radishes and toss. Chill for 30 minutes or more.

Kohlrabi Slaw with Cabbage, Carrots and Raisins [top]

3 medium kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed off, grated
1/3 purple cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated
1/2 red onion, grated
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 cup mayonnaise

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Chill for several hours before serving.

Asian-Style Kohlrabi Slaw [top]

4 kohlrabis, shredded
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 lb. snow peas, chopped
1 1/2 cup Napa cabbage, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin 1-inch slices
1/2 to 1 fresh pasilla pepper, diced or 1/8 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients except black sesame seeds and green onions in a large bowl and toss well to distribute flavors.

2. Garnish top with black sesame seeds and minced green onions.

3. Best if made several hours ahead to allow dressing to penetrate vegetables.

Paula Deen-Style Kohlrabi Slaw [top]

2 bags ramen
3/4 stick butter
1/4 cup slivered almonds
4 medium kohlrabi, shredded
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Dressing Mix:
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ramen noodle seasoning packet

1. Put the ramen noodles in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin while melting butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat. Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally (keep temperature at low/medium heat).

2. Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place the shredded kohlrabi into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Source: Adapted from recipe for Paula Deen’s Broccoli Slaw

Creamy Kohlrabi Slaw with Bacon and Water Chestnuts [top]

4 slices bacon
4 medium kohlrabi, shredded
1/4 cup low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels. Chop coarsely. Mix with shredded kohlrabi.

2. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add water chestnuts, onion, bacon and broccoli; toss to coat. Chill until serving time.

Source: Adapted from recipe on Eatingwell.com

Creamy Kohlrabi Slaw with Carrots [top]

4 medium kohlrabi, shredded
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup French dressing
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sliced green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Trim any tough skin from kohlrabi and grate.

2. In large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until ready to serve.

Kohlrabi and Apple Salad with Creamy Mustard Dressing [top]

4 medium kohlrabi, cut into thin strips
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon sugar

1. In a bowl whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks and whisk in the lemon juice, the mustard, the parsley, the sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in kohlrabi strips and diced apple and combine the salad well.

Source: Adapted from recipe in Gourmet Magazine, Oct. 1992