Kohlrabi Is Weird! And Here's What You Can Do With It

Ingredient Spotlight

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So.... Kohlrabi. Yeah. It's a little out there as far as the pantheon of commonly known vegetables goes. It's somewhat reminiscent of broccoli stems. It looks a bit like a space alien. And I can count on one hand the number of times I've cooked with it. Do you find kohlrabi a little weird, too? Let's discuss.

What Is Kohlrabi?

Why don't we start with what we know. Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family, and as such, comes with this family's signature sweet-but-peppery flavor profile. We usually eat the bulbous bottom, but the entire kohlrabi plant is actually edible. The skin has the rubbery texture of broccoli stems and can be white, light green, or bright purple. The insides are usually a creamy white.

Buying, Storing, and Prepping Kohlrabi

When buying kohlrabi, pick vegetables that are firm and solid — never squishy. They will keep in your crisper drawer for a week or more. To prepare them for cooking, trim off the leaves and stems (which can be saved for a stir fry!) and slice or chop the bulb into bite-sized pieces.

If the skin feels particularly thick and rubbery, you can peel it with a vegetable peeler, but otherwise, the you can leave the skin on.

Serving Kohlrabi Raw

Now, what to do with this cabbage-y broccoli-like vegetable? It's actually pretty fantastic raw! When served raw, it has a super-crisp texture and a mild peppery bite. It's a little like a sweet radish.

I love it sliced paper-thin on a mandoline and drizzled with good olive oil and sea salt. This way, you can serve it as an appetizer or side salad. You can also serve the thin slices artichoke-style with a remoulade sauce or garlic-butter sauce for dipping. One more idea: raw matchsticks of kohlrabi make a great addition to summer slaws.

Cooking with Kohlrabi

If cooked kohlrabi is your aim, try roasting cubes or wedges in the oven. The kohlrabi turns sweet and a bit caramelized in the high heat of the oven, making a great side dish for steak, grilled fish, or almost any main course dinner. You can also stir fry bite-sized pieces, add them to soups, or steam them. In all cases, the kohlrabi is ready to eat when it is tender. Sprinkle with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice for a simple presentation.

Do you ever cook with kohlrabi? What are your favorite things to do with it?

(Image: motorolka/Shutterstock)