Karalabe Leves: Hungarian Creamy Kohlrabi Soup

Kohlrabi soup
Roman Maerzinger / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
165 Calories
7g Fat
19g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 653mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 72mg 361%
Calcium 230mg 18%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 696mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Hungarian Creamy Kohlrabi Soup (Karalábé Leves) recipe is perfect for vegetarians but, because it contains dairy, would not be appropriate for vegans. In any case, it's a delightful light way to start a multicourse meal.

Kohlrabi, a popular Eastern European vegetable, tolerates frost well and can be stored a long time in a root cellar.

Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable possessing myriad health benefits. The bulbs come in white and purple varieties. The white variety is more flavorful and tender when small, with a hint of radish and cucumber flavors. Purple Kohlrabi tends to have a slightly spicier flavor.


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 pound kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and chopped

  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pan with a lid. Add 1 medium chopped onion and cook gently until soft, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add 1 pound kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and chopped, and cook 2 minutes.

  3. Add 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock, 2 1/2 cups milk, and 1 bay leaf to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes or until kohlrabi is tender. Let cool a few minutes and remove bay leaf.

  4. Using an immersion blender, conventional blender or food processor, purée soup until smooth.

  5. You may want to strain the soup through a fine sieve if the kohlrabi is especially fibrous.

  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls with a hearty bread of choice.

Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients

Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.


  • If your kohlrabi bulbs come with the green tops, blanch them and clean as you would for spinach, stripping the leaves down off the tough center stem. Roll the leaves and slice across as for a chiffonade of basil.

Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables

Kohlrabi belongs to a class of vegetables known as cruciferous or Brassica. Cruciferous vegetables are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects, which are beneficial in fighting diseases like diabetes and certain cancers.

The name "cruciferous" is from New Latin and refers to the flowers and leaves that form a cross shape.

Cruciferous vegetables are also low in calories and high in fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C and beneficial enzymes. Included in this group of vegetables are cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, bok choy, radishes, rutabagas, turnip leaves, collard greens, and more.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Jung HA, Karki S, Ehom NY, Yoon MH, Kim EJ, Choi JS. Anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects of green and red kohlrabi cultivars (brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2014;19(4):281–290. doi:10.3746/pnf.2014.19.4.281

  2. National Cancer Institute. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention.

  3. Manchali S, Chidambara Murthy KN, Patil BS. Crucial facts about health benefits of popular cruciferous vegetablesJournal of Functional Foods. 2012;4(1):94-106. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2011.08.004