Ingredient Introduction #21 – Kohlrabi

All aboard!

This week’s wonder is one that’ll take you places. Okay, fine. It looks like it could take you places.

Meet kohlrabi.

I think it looks like a hot air balloon or a flying contraption from another land. I think the characters in Fraggle Rock use it to get around.

Kohlrabi is in the cabbage family. “Kohl” means cabbage in German and “rabi” means turnip, because it resembles one.

I found this gem at the farmers’ market. One farmer had the purple variety the last time I went.

You can use the whole thing. Don’t throw away the leaves. I repeat, don’t throw away the leaves.

Kohlrabi gives you vitamin C and fiber. Hooray!

I used this veggie two ways.

The first preparation involved the oven.

Cut off the leaves right where they come off the bulb.
Set them aside.

Using a sharp knife, peel the bulb. I did this by cutting off the top and bottom so it’s flat on both sides. Then shave down the sides like you would citrus fruit.

I cubed the interior, rolled it in olive oil, sprinkled on some salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and roasted the pieces at 450 for about 20 minutes.

Toss them often, otherwise they’ll burn.

The flavor is a lot like a rutabaga. The aroma is a little like a turnip. Roasting softens and sweetens the kohlrabi. It’s a lot like its namesake, cabbage. I also think it resembles Brussels sprouts in flavor.

To use the leaves, strip them off the stems and rub them with olive oil. Spread them out on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast at 450 for 3-4 minutes. They crisp up nicely, and taste a lot like kale chips.

Think healthy potato chips. But, beware. They did not keep well. So eat them as soon as they’re cooked.

My second preparation didn’t involve cooking.

I peeled the bulb, then sliced it, and cut the slices in half. Then, I made a dip with Greek yogurt, whole grain mustard, and garlic powder. Dip the kohlrabi pieces, and crunch away. The texture is a lot like an apple. The flavor leans toward a hint of cabbage. I’m a big fan of cooking cabbage with mustard, which is why I included the yellow yumminess in the dip.

You can do a lot with kohlrabi. You can grate it and make cole slaw, or slice/dice it and add it to a salad.

You can cook down the leaves like you would collard greens. You’ll need a few kohlrabies to get enough leaves for a meal of “greens”. You can also roll the raw leaves like cigars and julienne them. Then, put the shreds in a bowl with a vinaigrette and let them sit for a few hours. That’ll soften the leaves and make them edible as a salad.

Get this goodie fresh from the farm while you can. I haven’t really ever seen it in the grocery store, so hit the farmers’ market soon! I want to try the purple one. It’s gorgeous!

The flavor may not take you on a journey, but the shape alone is reason enough to get carried away with kohlrabi.

Tip: Don’t just go to the farmers’ market. Investigate the offerings. Check every table. When you see something you’ve never seen before, ask the farmer to tell you about it. My favorite booth is one that’s run by this Asian family. Through broken-English the mother gives me all sorts of tips and information. I love it!


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