How to Prepare Kohlrabi for Cooking and Eating

Studio shot of kohlrabi
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  • 01 of 07

    What is Kohlrabi?

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    Although kohlrabi may look like a root vegetable, it is actually related to cabbage. Kohlrabi has a cabbage-like smell and the taste of broccoli stems. This makes it a great alternative to cabbage or turnips, plus it is high in vitamins and minerals.

    Kohlrabi, which can be green or purple, is a bulbous vegetable surrounded by two layers of stiff leaves that are attached in a rosette, like a cabbage. It has long, leafy greens that shoot out from the top. All parts of the kohlrabi can be eaten, both raw and cooked. It is delicious steamed, sauteed, roasted, stuffed, creamed, in soup or stew, as well as countless other ways.

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  • 02 of 07

    How to Peel Kohlrabi

    Vegetable peeler
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    Before you peel the bulb, cut off any leafy greens attached. You can use them raw in salads (if tender) or saute or steam them as you would other greens. It is not necessary to peel a kohlrabi, but since the outer layer of leaves can be tough, you may prefer to do so. Using a vegetable peeler or knife, peel the kohlrabi and make sure to remove all the woody part. 

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  • 03 of 07

    Peeled Kohlrabi

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    Once you have fully peeled the vegetable, what you are left with is light green to white and has no fibers. Peeled kohlrabi looks like a white lump and resembles a turnip. Kohlrabi actually means “turnip cabbage” in German.

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  • 04 of 07

    Halve the Kohlrabi

    Cutting Kohlrabi
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    Cut your kohlrabi in half; your kohlrabi should be solid all the way through, with no spongy or brown spots. Cut these out if you have them, leaving only the firm bulb intact.

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  • 05 of 07

    Slice the Kohlrabi

    Halved kohlrabi
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    It is best to slice your kohlrabi thinly because it cooks faster that way. Matchstick, julienned, or half-moon pieces are good. You can also cube it for a stew or for roasting, or even hollow out the interior to be stuffed with a meat or vegetable filling.

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  • 06 of 07

    Basic Cooking Technique

    Cooking kohlrabi
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    There are several ways you can cook kohlrabi, from roasting to steaming to pureeing in a soup. A simple method with delicious results is to saute the sliced kohlrabi in a bit of butter in a skillet. Once it begins to show some caramelization, season with salt, nutmeg, and a little sugar​ if the kohlrabi isn't sweet enough. Cook until slightly al dente and serve immediately. 

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  • 07 of 07

    Recipes Using Kohlrabi

    Vegetable stew
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    You may be surprised at how many recipes there are for kohlrabi. Since it is a popular vegetable in Germany, you will find dishes from that part of the globe, such as kohlrabi in cream, where the kohlrabi is boiled and then enrobed in a cream sauce made with thickened stock.

    Along with Germans, Hungarians adore kohlrabi. A popular dish is Hungarian creamy kohlrabi soup, where the vegetable is puréed until smooth. Another Hungarian dish is stuffed kohlrabi—ground or leftover pork and beef are combined with egg and sour cream and stuffed into a hollowed-out kohlrabi. 

    Don't be afraid to try it raw! Slice the kohlrabi thinly and add to your favorite salad, perhaps along with its tender greens, or add it to your next vegetable platter and serve it with a tasty dip.