The name kohlrabi comes from the German words kohl, meaning cabbage, and rabi, meaning turnip. Although these green bulbs look like they were dug up from the earth, kohlrabi is actually a swollen stem that grows above ground.
Kohlrabi—or “rabi” for the hip, urban foodie set—is easy to grow and incredibly delicious raw or cooked. You can cut it into fries and bake it, roast it, slice or shred it into salads, and sauté it into stir-fries.
Once you (or your kids) try it, you’ll want to make this odd little vegetable a regular part of your meal plan.
Kohlrabi is a powerhouse of Vitamin C, but only if you eat it raw. A single cup of raw kohlrabi has almost 84 mg of vitamin C!
Kohlrabi also has a good amount beta-carotene, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate.
Kohlrabi is a powerhouse of minerals, too. A cup of raw kohlrabi contains 14% of the Required Daily Allowance (RDA) for potassium and 9% of the RDA for copper and manganese. Kohlrabi also has small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and selenium.
Selection and Storage of Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is at its best during winter months from November until March. Choose smaller kohlrabi, which are the sweetest and most tender. The purple variety is sweeter than the green. Bulbs bigger than the size of a tennis ball won’t be very tasty and often have tough, fibrous flesh.
If the leaves are attached, make sure they are firm and green. When you get home, trim the leaves off and store them separately. They will need to be eaten within a day or two.
The bulbs should be stored, unwashed, in a bag. Small kohlrabi will hold for about a week in the refrigerator; the large, woodier bulbs can last up to a month.
Related: How to Grow Kohlrabi
Tender, young kohlrabi is delicious eaten raw, which is also how you can retain its outstanding nutrition. Peel the outer skin, then slice, dice, or grate, and add to salads. Cut them up into crudité and enjoy with your favorite dip.
Grated kohlrabi can be added to slaw, but it helps if you lightly salt it first and let stand for several minutes. Squeeze to remove any excess water before adding dressing.
You can steam or boil kohlrabi until tender, then peel the skin, and season with butter, salt, and pepper, some kind of sauce, or just enjoy plain.
Kohlrabi also makes a nice substitute for zucchini, potatoes or turnips when making veggie pancakes for the GAPS diet.
You can also slice kohlrabi very thin with a mandolin, season, and dehydrate or bake it into chips!
Fresh, green kohlrabi leaves can be enjoyed as cooked greens. Wash the leaves and remove the ribs. Blanch in boiling water until just wilted. Drain and squeeze excess water from the leaves, then chop them and saute in a little olive oil or butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of vinegar or squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Yum!
Here are two simple kohlrabi salad recipes to help you get the most out of this delicious vegetable.
Recommended for This Recipe
- 2-3 medium golden beets trimmed and peeled (you can use red beets, but they will quickly color the whole salad pink.)
- 5-7 carrots
- 5-7 small kohlrabi or 2-3 larger kohlrabi, trimmed and peeled
- 3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. raw honey (optional)
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1 sprig fresh dill chopped, to taste
- sea salt to taste
- sriracha Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
- parsley for garnish (optional)
- Grate or process the beets in the food processor until medium fine. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Grate or process the carrots in the food processor until medium fine. Add to mixing bowl.
- Grate or process the kohlrabi in the food processor until medium fine. If they are very small, chop them finely. Add to mixing bowl. (You want to end up with equal amounts of grated beet, grated carrot and grated kohlrabi.)
- Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl (or blend in Vitamix or blender), then pour over the salad and mix until well combined.