What to do about: Kohlrabi
This past week saw a stunning batch of large, purple kohlrabi in our shares. If
you’ve never tangled with one of these beautiful, bulbous stems and their leafy tendrils,
you may be confused, or even intimidated, by this vegetable. Have no fear, kohlrabi is
easy to work with, extremely versatile, and, most importantly, delicious.
Kohlrabi, also called a German turnip or cabbage turnip, is a squat member of the
cabbage family. Unlike most of its cousins, however, the bulk of the vegetable is made
up of its fat stem rather than a cluster of leaves. Off of the main stem come several thin
stalks topped with leaves. The bright purple exterior (or green in the case of green
varieties) of the plant is relatively inedible, remaining tough even after cooking, so
standard preparation calls for removing the stalks and peeling the stem with a vegetable
peeler or paring knife. What remains will be a nice piece of pale stem that is quite edible
raw. The flavor and texture of raw kohlrabi is similar to a mix of broccoli stem and a
crisp apple, though more mild and less sweet. Cooked, it behaves much like its cousins
broccoli and cauliflower, softening but capable of taking on various traits depending on
cooking methods. It can be steamed, sautéed, roasted or boiled, grilled or broiled, fried,
and everything in between. The greens are also edible and of a similar flavor and texture
similar to mustard greens, tender enough to eat raw once chopped, and resilient enough
for a quick sauté. Raw is probably the best place to start though, if you want to truly
appreciate your newfound friend.
Kohlrabi is a staple in many Germanic countries and in India, especially the
region of Kashmir, where it is often used in curries. A very common use of raw kohlrabi,
besides just eating the whole thing as a snack, is in making slaws. After taking a piece to
try for yourselves, why not explore kohlrabi a little further with a nice, crunchy, simple-
Curried Kohlrabi Slaw-
Serves approximately four
One large or two small kohlrabi stems, peeled, shredded or julienned
¼ Cup kohlrabi greens, finely chopped
¾ Cup shredded carrot
1 Granny Smith apple, shredded
2 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
5 tablespoons canola or other neutral flavored oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown mustard
2 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt and more to taste
In a small saucepan, add curry powder, garlic, ginger, and oil. Heat oil over low heat
until just starting to crackle, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, transfer to a
medium bowl, and allow to cool.
Shred or finely cut the kohlrabi, carrot, and apple, and place in a large mixing or serving
bowl. A box grater or mandoline will make quick work of this task.
Combine the cooled oil mixture with the vinegar, mustard, pepper, and salt in the bowl
and whisk until integrated into a dressing.
Immediately cover the kohlrabi mixture with roughly ¾ of the dressing to prevent
browning of the apple, add the greens, and gently mix to evenly coat the mixture with
Allow the slaw to rest for five minutes and taste. Add more dressing and salt to taste.
Note: This dish is extremely adaptable, and can be seasoned in a hundred different
ways. If you enjoy spicy food, adding a stemmed, seeded, and minced jalapeño will give
this recipe even more potency.