This post is adapted from the Preparing Local Vegetables Workshop, which has lots more how-to tips.
Kohlrabi is a mysterious thing. When it comes on the scene at farmers’ markets it sits patiently, waiting for some adventurous or familiar person to scoop it up. If you haven’t acquainted yourself with kohlrabi just yet, you might find that it’s a great way to mix up your local food selections. Kohlrabi is a German name, drawing from the word for cabbage (kohl) and turnip (rabi).
The kohlrabi bulb looks like a root vegetable, but it actually grows just above the ground and is a swollen stem. Kohlrabi is a cultivar of cabbage and like cabbage it grows really well in many parts of NL, so consider adding this unique veggie to your garden next year. "The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet." (Wikipedia)
Kohlrabi is delicious raw or cooked, and its greens and bulb (stem) may be eaten. A kohlrabi bulb has the texture of a crispy radish but is mild in taste, and it can be prepared like a turnip. You may find the green outside of the kohlrabi bulb a bit tough, particularly if it was harvested late. If so, peel that off as you would the skin of a root vegetable. It is edible though and can be left on most of the time. To use kohlrabi bulb:
- sauté it in white wine or chicken stock
- thinly slice or grate it for salads
- chop it into chunks and add it to soups
- use it as a substitute in recipes that call for turnip
- roast it; try this recipe for Roasted Kohlrabi with garlic and Parmesan cheese
As for its greens, think of them like kale or Swiss chard and use them any way you would those greens. They have a nice flavour, almost like broccoli. To use the kohlrabi greens:
- add them them to soups, sauces and stocks
- steam or blanch them
- use them as green wraps filled with grains and beans
- slice them into thin ribbons for salads
- add them to green smoothies
- sauté them; try this recipe for Spicy Kohlrabi Greens
This is the kohlrabi recipe I made last night and it turned out really nice. I think that like other kinds of coleslaw, it will get even better as leftovers when the flavours marinate.
Adapted from Secret Menu
- 2 kohlrabi bulbs
- 1/4 cup light vinegar (e.g. white balsamic, white wine, apple cider)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (with seeds for added crunch)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 leaves of fresh basil, sliced into fine ribbons (or a pinch of dried basil)
- 1/4 cup nuts or hulled sunflower seeds
Peel the tough green skin off the kohlrabi bulbs if desired. Grate the bulbs, using the larger holes on your grater, into a mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, and nuts or sunflower seeds. Pour the vinaigrette over the kohlrabi and mix well. Serves 2 as a meal salad.