How To Cut Up Kohlrabi

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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I’ve always thought that kohlrabi looks like an alien spaceship. The weirdly cylindrical shape, the skinny arms — what is this stuff? Lucky for us, kohlrabi isn’t alien at all but a delicious addition to summer salads and slaws.

Here are three ways to to get past this vegetable's eccentric appearance and slice it up so you can eat it!

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Kohlrabi Basics

If you've received one of these whimsical-looking vegetables in your CSA, or bought one for the first time at the farmers market, here's what you should know:

  • It's a member of the cabbage family
  • The whole plant is edible, but usually when we talk about kohlrabi we mean the bulb of the plant, as we do here.
  • The bulb kind of tastes like broccoli stems (my favorite part of broccoli!)
  • It doesn't have to be peeled, but the peel can be tough so I usually do.
  • You can eat it raw in slaws and salads, as well as roasted and stir-fried.

Now, let's look at how to cut up these little guys.

How To Cut Kohlrabi

What You Need

Ingredients
Kohlrabi

Equipment
Cutting board
Chef's knife
Peeler
Mandoline

Peeling and Basic Instructions

  1. Cut off the stems: If the stems and leaves are still attached to the kohlrabi, cut them off. (Save the leaves and cook them just like kale or turnip greens.)
  2. Slice in half: Cut the kohlrabi head in half down through its center.
  3. Slice into quarters: Place the halved kohlrabi cut side down and slice into quarters.
  4. Cut out the core: Use the tip of your knife to cut at an angle through the core. Discard the tough center.
  5. Peel the kohlrabi: Now that you have small, manageable quarters, use a sharp vegetable peeler to remove the tough skin.

Method 1: Thick Slices

  1. Slice off the top of the kohlrabi: If you want to simply slice each quarter for baking or stir frying, begin by cutting off the top of the vegetable.
  2. Slice: Use a sharp chef's knife to carefully cut the vegetable into slices of even thickness.

Method 2: Thin Slices

  1. Process on a mandoline: If you want thinner slices for salads, the best tool is a mandoline as shown here. Position a kohlrabi quarter on a mandoline, and use a finger guard to hold it in place as you slice.

Method 3: Matchsticks

  1. Start with slices: If you want matchsticks for stir fries or slaws, start with either thick or thin slices as directed above.
  2. Stack the slices and cut: Stack the slices and use a sharp chef's knife to create evenly-sized matchsticks.

Recipe Notes

  • Don't discard the kohlrabi leaves or stems as they are perfectly edible and delicious in sautés and stir fries.

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(Image credits: Leela Cyd)

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