Thursday, June 5, 2008

Neglected Vegetable: Kohlrabi

Poor kohlrabi. I almost never see it for sale, and when I do find it, I am invariably asked by a fellow shopper: "what the heck is that?"

Technically, a kohlrabi "bulb" is the swollen stem of the kohlrabi plant. It tastes like a cross between broccoli stems and turnips. If you are very fortunate, you can find kohlrabi with the leaves still attached: they are great sauteed with garlic and oil.

Prep is relatively easy: just peel the tough skin off with a vegetable peeler. The older the vegetable, the thicker the skin - try to buy smaller ones if you can.

Kohlrabi is very poorly represented in my cookbook collection. I looked and looked and found recipes in Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day and the Silver Palate ladies' The New Basics. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything (ahem) let me down (he copped out by mentioning kohlrabi, but then sent me to the turnip section).

I ended up by following Bishop's recommendation and cut these into chunks and then roasted them in the oven (at about 400) until brown and tender. They were a savory side dish for a cool evening's meal.

A Silver Palate suggestion which I want to try suggested shredding it and making kohlrabi pancakes. That was a tempting idea, but too much work for tonight.

How do you cook your kohlrabi?


Fearless Kitchen said...

Last year, when I was participating in a farm share, we got a TON of this stuff but no explanation as to what it was. My husband called it "that weird Klingon turnip." We didn't get around to trying it, not even knowing the name of it! I definitely regret that, since I've found a bunch of great recipes and absolutely no kohlrabi in the store. One good recipe I found was on Food Stories (

Sunday Cook said...

My local farmer grew some a few years ago. I saw it at his stand and told him how happy I was to see it. He asked me how to cook it; said someone else had asked him to grow it but he had no idea what to do with it himself!

(For the Bostonians: I found mine at Super 88 Market - and I am sure Russo's in Watertown would have it.)

Anonymous said...

We grew a lot of that when I was growing up in Wisconsin - maybe it's a German thing. I didn't know you can eat the leaves though! Thanks for the tip.

Anyway, we generally eat it raw, putting out a plate full of slices. You can salt it or eat it plain. We also would cube it and boil/steam it and add a little butter for a quick side.

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