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General Description: Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea) resembles a turnip with protruding stalks topped by broccoli-like leaves. Kohlrabi, whose German-derived name translates to “cabbage turnip,” is either a lovely shade of deep violet or light green. In Italy, the same vegetable is known as cavolorapa (cabbage-turnip), describing its flavor perfectly. Under its tough outer skin, both the violet and green varieties have whitish green, firm, crunchy flesh.

Kohlrabi is two vegetables in one: The root and the leaves are both delicious but completely different in flavor and texture. Kohlrabi root is reminiscent of celery root, broccoli stem, and cabbage, with a bit of the hotness of radish and the sweetness of turnip. Its leaves are like turnip greens. Though not very well-known, kohlrabi is among the most versatile of vegetables.

Season: Kohlrabi is available year-round with supply peaking in early summer.

Purchase: Choose small to medium-sized kohlrabi with small, smooth bulb-stems and firm green leaves.

Avoid: Overly large kohlrabi will be tough and strong tasting.

Storage: Kohlrabi will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks, but first separate the leaves, which will not keep more than a few days. The leaves will draw moisture away from the root, which will lose its crispness.


  1. Remove the leaves, discarding the stems and any tough center ribs, and then shred them. Use the leaves for slow-cooked greens.
  2. Steam kohlrabi bulb to loosen its skin, or pare away the tough outer skin before cooking.

Serving Suggestions: Cut into slices or wedges and add to Chinese stir-fry or Indian curry. Combine peeled kohlrabi with potato when making scalloped potatoes. Dip kohlrabi slices or sticks into tempura batter and deep-fry. Add shredded kohlrabi to coleslaw for extra crunch. Roast chunks of kohlrabi in the pan with meats or poultry.
Cheese, curry, Dijon mustard, garlic, ginger, potatoes, rice wine, roasted meats, sesame oil, soy sauce.

Flavor Affinities: Cheese, curry, Dijon mustard, garlic, ginger, potatoes, rice wine, roasted meats, sesame oil, soy sauce.

from Quirk Books: