the following post was written by my
silver fox mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
The first time I ever tasted or even held a kohlrabi in my hand was when I got one in my weekly co-op vegetable box. Thursday is like Christmas around here because that is the day I pick up our vegetables. I never know what will be hidden inside the box and it’s always exciting to open the lid to view the bounty within. Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) changed the way we eat. New vegetables suddenly crossed the threshold of our house and I had to figure out a way to use them. And the one vegetable that I knew the least about was kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi is a relative of the cabbage family. The name comes from the German kohl (cabbage) and rabi (turnip). Although not common in American cuisine, it is widely eaten in Europe and Asia (in Kashmir it can be found on the table 3-4 times a week!!) It is an amazing but true fact that a common Mediterranean edible weed, the ancestor to all of the cabbage family crops, mutated when grown in gardens all over Europe to create a vast number of strange and scintillating vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower, to name a few of the older cultivars. But kohlrabi is the strangest of them all, a round swollen stem with large leaves pointing straight up. The vegetable looks like a visitor from outer space and I can only imagine that if it were a creature, it surely would have a sense of humor.
Anyway, that first time I got a kohlrabi in my box, I didn’t know what to do with it. I peeled and chopped it and put it in our salads with carrots, radishes, and other assorted vegetables. This week, though, when four huge kohlrabies appeared in my box, I figured I had better do something a little grander or else we would be eating kohlrabi all week. I decided to roast them and we were amazed at how delicious they tasted. Raw kohlrabi tastes like a cross between a turnip and a radish. But when cooked, the flavor is elevated to an artichoke/potato hybrid (without the starchiness of a potato). Last night we had friends to dinner and when it came time for seconds, everyone asked for more roasted kohlrabi! And no one at the table had ever eaten it before.
You can substitute kohlrabi in any potato recipe (it is delicious scalloped or in gratins). It is SUPER low in calories (30 calories per serving) and SUPER high in vitamin C, plus it’s more flavorful than potatoes. You can also mash or puree them with other vegetables.
And the greens, which look just like collards, can be cooked into any recipe you use for greens. Tear them off of the tough stem first. I boil them for a few minutes until they are tender, drain them, and then stir fry them in garlic, oil (sesame or olive), and add soy sauce or other flavorings.
They are great mixed in with quinoa or served with rice. Or you can use them in soups.
Roasted Kohlrabi (serves 4)
4 kohlrabi, peeled, sliced ¼ inch thick and cut in half
2-3 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450. Peel and slice kohlrabi into ¼ inch slices. Cut in half (if kohlrabies are big, cut in quarters).
Mince garlic. Toss kohlrabi, garlic, and oil in a bowl with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and return to oven to brown for about 5 minutes. Serve immediately:
Other Kohlrabi ideas:
• Use in soups. I made Green Soup from Love Soup by Anna Thomas this week using kale and kohlrabi greens instead of chard or spinach:
This soup is amazing and can be varied according to what greens or other vegetables you happen to have around the house. I found lots of other recipes for kohlrabi soup on the Internet. Here are a couple that sound really good:
• Put in salads. I either chop or shred the raw kohlrabi and add it to any salad I make. Here is a salad recipe from my CSA that is really yummy.
• Stuff them. Use a melon baller to scrape out the insides of the kohlrabies, leaving about a half an inch shell. Chop the scraped out kohlrabi and sauté with onions, salt and pepper other chopped vegetables and seasonings of your choice. Combine with quinoa, rice or other grains and stuff kohlrabies, mounding slightly. Pour 1 T of water in a microwave proof dish. Cover and microwave on 100% for 7 minutes. Or bake in the oven at 350 until kohlrabi is tender.
• Cook like potatoes: (Here is a great gratin recipe, also from my CSA.)
Have fun with kohlrabi—a versatile and tasty addition to the kitchen!!