At a recent trip to my local farmers market, I came across kohlrabi. To be honest, I had no idea what it was nor did I have the slightest idea of what to do with it. This sputnik-shaped vegetable intrigued me. I asked the farmers for advice and immediately bought a few to begin experimenting at home.

The word kohlrabi is adopted from the German language—kohl means cabbage and rübe or rabi (Swiss German) means turnip. However, kohlrabi is more familiar to a cabbage and cauliflower than to root vegetables as it grows above ground.

Those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, as I was, may find it to look a bit unusual. It’s been described as the ugliest (a bit harsh if you ask me) vegetable you’ve ever loved; what happens when broccoli and cabbage get married; and a cross between an octopus and a space capsule. Hmm, an octopus and a space capsule. Really? I actually found them to be pretty and interesting looking.

This “cabbage” with a turnip-like enlargement at its stem is apparently quite easy to grow and remarkably productive. There are two main types of kohlrabi that are grown—purple and white (actually pale green). Some say the purple variety is a little sweeter, tastier and more attractive, but that’s debatable. Both varieties are edible raw or cooked and, to me, tastes like cabbage and/or broccoli stems…in a subtle way.

Kohlrabi possesses many attributes worth mentioning. They are:

  • Low in calories
  • High in dietary fiber
  • Potassium content peaks at 245 grams for one-half cup
  • Vitamin content for that same one-half cup includes Vitamins A and C, Folic Acid and Calcium

So far I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying my kohlrabi raw (with olive oil, salt and pepper) and cooked. I also tried Greek-Style Kohlrabi Pie and a Kohlrabi Gratin with Dill and Feta which my little one very much enjoyed too.

The recipes can be found here.

There’s more to discover so the experimenting continues! Do you have a favorite kohlrabi recipe? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Please let me know in the comment section below.

Bon Appétit,
Martine

17 thoughts on “What’s a Kohlrabi?

  1. Absolutely delicious root vegetable. Staple Holliday food in Scandinavian cuisine. I enjoy mine puréed or just sliced with a little dip. Yum and yum. Matter of fact I might add it to the thanksgiving dinner. It’s that good

    1. Thanks Bianca. A purée sounds nice! I bet my little guy would like that too! It seems like there’s so much that can be done with kohlrabi! I’m so happy I’ve finally been introduced to this jewel of a vegetable! Oh, and from what I read online, although it very much seems like a root vegetable it actually grows above ground. Enjoy it at your Thanksgiving table!

  2. I think they’re pretty. I grew them last year, the great big variety called “Kossack.” I had a hard time harvesting them because they looked so interesting, and it was fascinating to see the stems swell up into big balls! I did harvest a couple and ate them raw with a dip. They were good! I also added slices in a stir fry. They were good, too! I think I’ll try growing the purple ones next year, and experiment with them. The pie recipe sounds excellent, thanks! xoxo

    1. Hi Angie, I too think they’re pretty and they seem so versatile! I can’t wait to try them in more ways. I just looked up “Kossacks”, they’re huge! I too would find it fascinating to see such large “creature-like” things growing in my garden! 🙂 The pie was delicious. My photos were not vibrant enough (took them too late) so I decided not to post them. Maybe next time. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi, Martine,
    Oh, I love Kohlrabi. Now I know so much more about it! Yes, it does taste a bit like a turnip meets cabbage… and, maybe a tad bit ugly, yes. 😉 I did not know that it could be eaten raw – how intriguing. The NYtimes pie looks delicious – I like the many recipes for health in this newspaper! Thank you for sharing.
    xx Shanna

    1. Hi Shanna, the more I learn about this jewel of a vegetable, the more excited I am that I was finally introduced to it! Most of the vendors/farmers at the markets said they preferred to eat it raw. In that sense it is very much like cabbage. The NY Times pie was actually pretty good. (I too like their recipes!) I made the Pie for dinner last Sunday night, but by the time I was able to take photos, the sun had already set and my pictures were not as vibrant as I would have liked for the post. The same article has a recipe for a Kohlrabi Gratin. This weekend I will try it or make the Pie again. If I have enough kohlrabi, I may even make both! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Hi, Martine,
        A jewel of a vegetable – what an apt description. You do have a way with words!
        I can related to the challenges photographing. This is life – eating should be annoying – so snapping shots occasionally falls by the wayside. I am confident that your pie was as gorgeous as it was delicious. We eat dinner quite late – Spanish time, really – as have probably noticed from the improper lighting. I like to wait for my husband, if it is even feasible.
        This gratin sounds intriguing. I am feeling an urge to make it – maybe for Thanksgivikah? I hope that you have a lovely holiday with your beautiful family.
        Warmly,
        Shanna

        1. Hi Shanna, To be honest, I think I snagged the term from someone else I read so I can’t take all the credit! 🙂 I usually cook and photograph foods in the mornings and afternoons to avoid the need to use flash, but, as you said, the timing can be challenging. Please let me know if you try the gratin! I’ll be sure to send an update if I make it and can photograph it well. I still have a few posts and more recipes for Petit Appetit in the pipeline that I’d like to post before the holidays so I’ll get to it asap! Until then, happy holidays to you and your lovely family too! — Martine

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