- Eating Kohlrabi Greens: Tips For Harvesting And Cooking Kohlrabi Leaves
- Are Kohlrabi Leaves Edible?
- Growing Kohlrabi Greens
- Harvesting Kohlrabi Leaves
- Cooking Kohlrabi Leaves
- How To Harvest Kohlrabi
- 10 Ways to Use Garden Fresh Kohlrabi
- Kohlrabi carpaccio
- Kohlrabi remoulade
- Kohlrabi and spinach gratin
- What Is Kohlrabi? Nutrition, Benefits, and Uses
- Choose the best
- How to prepare kohlrabi
- How to cook kohlrabi
- How to store kohlrabi
- Our top kohlrabi recipes
- 10 Delicious Ideas for Cooking with Kohlrabi
- What It Is
- Who’s Using It
- How to Use It at Home
- How to eat kohlrabi leaves?
- What does kohlrabi leaves taste like?
- What are kohlrabi leaves good for? Nutritional value and health benefits of kohlrabi leaves
- How to handle kohlrabi leaves? Tips for harvesting, preparing, and storage of kohlrabi leaves
- 3 Simple and tasty recipes you can use in cooking kohlrabi leaves
- Related questions:
- How to Choose Kohlrabi
- How to Store Kohlrabi
- How to Prepare Kohlrabi
- How to Steam Kohlrabi
- How to Bake Kohlrabi
- How to Roast Kohlrabi
- How to Boil Kohlrabi
- How to Microwave Kohlrabi
- How to Sauté Kohlrabi with Other Vegetables
- How to Stir-Fry Kohlrabi
- How to Make Kohlrabi Fries
- How to Mash Kohlrabi
- How to Make Kohlrabi Gratin
- How to Make Kohlrabi Puree
- Kohlrabi Serving Suggestions
- Kohlrabi Flavor Partners
- Kohlrabi Nutrition
- Get to Know Kohlrabi
Eating Kohlrabi Greens: Tips For Harvesting And Cooking Kohlrabi Leaves
A member of the cabbage family, kohlrabi is a cool season vegetable that has little tolerance for freezing temperatures. The plant is generally grown for the bulbs, but the young greens are also flavorful. However, growing kohlrabi greens for harvest will reduce the size of the bulb. Both the bulb and the greens are nutrient rich, filled with fiber and high in both Vitamins A and C.
Are Kohlrabi Leaves Edible?
The avid home gourmet may well ask, “Are kohlrabi leaves edible?” The answer is a resounding yes. Although the plant is generally grown for the thick bulb, you can also take the smaller leaves that form when the plant is young. These are used much like spinach or collard greens.
Kohlrabi greens are thick and taste best when cooked or steamed, but they are also eaten chopped in salads. Harvesting kohlrabi leaves in early spring is the best time to get flavorful, tender greens.
Growing Kohlrabi Greens
Plant seeds in well-prepared soil with plenty of organic amendment one to two weeks before the last frost in spring. Sow under a light, ¼-inch dusting of soil,then thin the plants to 6 inches apart after seedling appear.
Weed the area frequently and keep the soil moderately moist but not soggy. Begin harvesting leaves when the bulb is small and just beginning to form.
Watch for cabbageworms and other invasive pests that will chew up the leaves. Combat with organic and safe pesticides or the old “pick and crush” method.
Harvesting Kohlrabi Leaves
Take no more than one-third of the foliage when you harvest kohlrabi greens. If you plan to harvest the bulbs, leave enough foliage to provide solar energy for the formation of the vegetable.
Cut the leaves off rather than pulling, to prevent injury to the bulb. Wash greens well before eating.
For a consistent harvest of the greens, practice successive planting in spring by sowing every week during the cool, rainy season. This will allow you to harvest the leaves from a constant source of plants.
Cooking Kohlrabi Leaves
Kohlrabi greens are used much like any other vegetable green. The smallest leaves are tender enough to put in salads or on sandwiches, but the majority of the leaves will be thick and tough without cooking. There are many recipes for cooking kohlrabi leaves.
Most greens are traditionally cooked down in a stock or flavorful broth. You can do a vegetarian version or add smoked ham hock, bacon or other rich amendment. Cut out thick ribs and wash the leaves well. Chop them and add to a simmering liquid.
Turn heat to medium low and let the greens wilt. The less time the leaves cook, the more nutrient will still be contained in the vegetable. You may also add the leaves to a vegetable gratin or stew.
Kohlrabi is one of my favorite vegetables, and it’s super easy to grow. But when it comes time to use garden fresh kohlrabi, many people aren’t sure what to do. Every time I publish a photo of my kohlrabi harvests on social media, I get tons of questions about how to use it.
Before I tell you how I use it, let me give you a few tips on harvesting and preparing kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is best when it’s harvested small. If it gets too large, it can become grainy and it’s not as flavorful.
Harvest Kohlrabi While Small
How To Harvest Kohlrabi
Each plant will only yield one kohlrabi crop, so to make harvesting easy, simply pull the whole plant out of the ground. Then cut off the stem, roots and leaves.
Healthy, tender kohlrabi leaves can be saved and used for cooking; you can use kohlrabi greens just as you would kale or collard greens (I love to steam kohlrabi leaves, and then add them to my eggs or fry them up with bacon – yummy!).
Before eating kohlrabi, the outer skin should be peeled off. I find it easiest to slice it off with a knife.
Peel Outer Skin Before Eating Kohlrabi
To give you an idea of what kohlrabi tastes like, the consistency of kohlrabi is similar to a radish or turnip, but the flavor is mild, buttery and a little sweet.
10 Ways to Use Garden Fresh Kohlrabi
1. Saute kohlrabi with butter
2. Grill it in a tinfoil packet or directly on the grill using a vegetable basket or tray
3. Steam kohlrabi by itself or with other vegetables
Kohlrabi is Delicious Steamed
4. Boil and mash kohlrabi and use them as a tasty mashed potato substitute.
5. Roast kohlrabi in the oven – this really brings out the sweetness
6. Shred or slice kohlrabi and add it to salads
Shred Kohlrabi for Salads
7. Fry kohlrabi with bacon for a delicious combination
8. Eat kohlrabi raw, just like an apple
9. Use as a mild substitute for spicy radishes in any recipe
10. Slice kohlrabi and add it to veggie trays. Kohlrabi is delicious served with veggie dip, hummus or guacamole
Slice Kohlrabi and Serve with Dip
Kohlrabi is easy and fun to grow. They don’t take up much space in the garden either, so you can plant lots of kohlrabi seeds in a small amount of space.
Kohlrabi mature quickly and they are frost tolerant, so they’re great for succession planting. I like to plant my first crop in early spring, then I plant a second crop a month or so later, and sometimes I even get in a third crop once my first crop has been harvested.
This way, I can enjoy multiple kohlrabi harvests per season. I think the green variety is beautiful in the garden, but there’s also a purple variety of kohlrabi that is even better.
More Recipes To Use Up Garden Vegetables
- 15 Ways to Use Zucchini From the Garden
- How to Make Zucchini Spaghetti Noodles
- Homemade Sun Dried Cherry Tomatoes
- How To Make Your Own Crushed Red Pepper
- Fudgy Chocolate Zucchini Brownies Recipe
Do you grow kohlrabi? Tell me about your favorite ways to use kohlrabi in the comments below.
‘Blimey! Have aliens landed in my veg box?” is a common reaction when kohlrabi is included among the weekly offerings. Green, or sometimes purple, bulbous and knobbly, with leafy stalks shooting from its top and sides, kohlrabi has been described as a “vegetable sputnik”, or (on the charming Riverford website) “like Humpty Dumpty hiding in a hedge”. It doesn’t fare much better under more formal scrutiny. The late Alan Davidson, in The Oxford Companion To Food, called kohlrabi “a bizarre form of the common cabbage”; and Jane Grigson began her description of the poor things with a stark, “There are better vegetables.” Well, I would say that depends …
I’m a bit of a kohlrabi fan, and you may turn into one, too, but you won’t know until you try. Although it’s commonly thought of as an autumn or winter vegetable, I would encourage you to tuck in now, when it’s nearer in size to a golf ball than a tennis ball. You’ll find it at its perky, mild-flavoured best. It has about it the texture and crunch of a radish and something of the taste of a mild turnip, cauliflower or broccoli stem, making it a tasty addition to summer salads and stir-fries.
It’s easy to think of kohlrabi as a root vegetable, but it isn’t. It’s a brassica with the base of its stem swelled into a slightly turnipy globe. When you’re buying them – farmers’ markets, farm shops and some of the more adventurous supermarkets are good hunting grounds – look for firm, unblemished bulbs with juicy green leaves with not a hint of yellow to them. White Vienna, which is the palest shade of jade, is a reliable and tasty variety to look out for; Purple Vienna is dramatically beautiful, but a little slower growing and can have a tougher texture. If you’re storing kohlrabi in the fridge for any amount of time, remove the leaves, because they leach moisture from the root.
While our relationship with kohlrabi has been a modest one – when it was first grown here in any quantity in the early 19th century, it was fed largely to cattle – it is held in much higher esteem elsewhere. It’s popular in Holland and Germany, in central Europe and in Israel, China and India, where they include it in fiery curries sweetened with coconut. So I think it’s time we looked at it as more than just a bit of a curiosity.
If you’re still thinking, “Fine, but what in the world am I supposed to do with it?” here are a few ideas. Kohlrabi is often combined with other vegetables and used in gratins but, delicious though that is, it’s so much more versatile than that. For a great little side dish to go with grilled chops or oily fish, peel the kohlrabi, cut it into cubes, then steam these lightly until just tender and dress simply with melted butter or olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkling of chopped parsley, a bit of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Or cut it into thick batons, sauté in butter until slightly softened, tip in a good slug of white wine or chicken stock, and simmer until tender; before serving, stir in some chopped dill or tarragon, and serve alongside a roast. And larger ones are quite good stuffed – cut a bit off the base, so it stands flat, and hollow out the insides, leaving thickish shells. Steam or boil for about eight minutes, then fill with a mixture of well-seasoned minced pork and cooked rice. Pop the stuffed veg in a roasting tin with a little stock, and bake in a hot oven for 25-30 minutes.
Kohlrabi can be grated raw into salads, used as an alternative to celeriac in a rémoulade, or simply dressed in a garlicky, lemony vinaigrette. Or toss thinly sliced kohlrabi with finely chopped red onion, some capers and lamb’s lettuce. And don’t forget the leaves – you can use them in soups or stews just as you would spinach or kale, or fry them in a little oil with mustard seeds, garlic and ginger.
So next time the aliens land in your veg box or at your local farmer’s market, you know what to do – steam ’em, boil ’em, bake ’em or grate ’em. Show them there’s intelligent life on Earth.
This elegant salad shows off kohlrabi’s finer qualities, making the most of its radish-y, water chestnut-y crunch, and takes only minutes to make. Serves four.
1 medium (or 2 small) kohlrabi
4-6 anchovy fillets (I always use Fish-4-Ever anchovies, from fish-4-ever.com), cut into thin strips
50g hard goat’s cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel the kohlrabi, slice it into thin slivers with a vegetable peeler and divide these between four plates (or even one larger platter). Scatter the strips of anchovy fillet on top of the kohlrabi, then shave the goat’s cheese over, again using a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle on the thyme leaves, squeeze over a spritz of lemon juice and trickle on a little rapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve at once.
Young kohlrabi is a good alternative to celeriac for a summer version of this classic dish. If you like, add some bacon, cooked until crisp, then chopped and sprinkled over the top. Serves four as a starter, six as a side dish.
2 tsp hot English mustard
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 scant tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
75ml olive oil
75ml groundnut or sunflower oil
2-3 kohlrabi, weighing about 750g
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp finely chopped
In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour the oils into a jug, then very slowly trickle them into the mustard mixture, whisking all the time, until you have a creamy, emulsified dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Peel the kohlrabi, cut it into matchsticks and toss into the dressing along with a few grinds of black pepper and the parsley (if using). Leave for about 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.
Kohlrabi and spinach gratin
kohlrabi and spinach gratin Photograph: Colin Campbell/Guardian
If your kohlrabi still has its green leaves attached, combine them with the spinach in this tasty gratin. Serves six as a side dish.
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 knob butter, plus a little more for greasing the dish
2 medium onions (about 600g), halved and finely sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 3mm thick rounds
250g potatoes, peeled and cut into 3mm rounds
2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
200ml double cream
200ml water (or chicken or vegetable stock)
1 big handful baby spinach, or spinach mixed with kohlrabi leaves
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
For the topping
60g fresh breadcrumbs
25g butter, melted
45g cheddar or hard goat’s cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Place a medium-sized frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and butter, wait until it foams, then add the sliced onion and a pinch of salt, and sauté for 12 minutes, until soft and starting to take on a little colour.
Throw in the kohlrabi, potatoes and thyme, and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing the mixture occasionally, for another five minutes.
Pour over the cream and stock, simmer gently until the liquid is reduced by half, stir in the spinach and parsley, then place in a lightly buttered gratin dish, about 30cm x 20cm x 7cm in size, levelling it out with a spatula as you go. Place the gratin dish on a baking tray.
Blitz together the breadcrumbs, butter and cheese in a blender, and sprinkle over the top of the filling. Bake the gratin in a hot oven for about 35-40 minutes, until all golden and bubbling.
• Go to rivercottage.net for news from River Cottage HQ. Fancy growing your own but have nowhere to do it? Go to landshare.net for advice and assistance.
Want to know a recipe for beginners? Then try this: Chips made out of the leaves of kohlrabi. I bring them to all my workshops and everybody loves them. They are prepared in only a few minutes.
Brassica – meaning all sort of cabbage – is excellently suited for eating from leaf to root. Everything is edible. And I mean: everything! The flowers, the seeds, the roots…
Think about which sort of cabbage or brassica you know. From one plant we eat the leaves (savoy cabbage), from the next the bulb (kohlrabi) and from another one the unopened flower (broccoli). Plus the seeds (canola) or the oil pressed out of the seeds. Also the roots we know. There is horseradish or wasabi which are botanically out of the Brassicaceae family.
I am telling you all this because I want to highlight that a kohlrabi leaf is nothing else than a cabbage leaf. You can eat it. More than that: It is a wonderful vegetable, if prepared right. The easiest way is to turn them into chips. If I prepare them for my workshops at home, I have to be prepared to argue with my son, because he wants all for himself:-)
By the way: You can prepare these chips with the leaves of all the brassica-plants. If you have a garden, try brussel sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli. You also can use radish leaves. Depending on how thick the leaves are, the time to bake the chips is shorter or longer. If you try radish leaves you might lower the temperature a bit.
Chips from kohlrabi leaves. Photo: Patrick Schürmann
Chips from kohlrabi leaves baked in the oven
olive oil or canola oil
Loosen the leaves from the leaf ribs and pluck them into pieces. Marinate with a little salt and oil, either by hand in a bowl or with a wooden spoon. It is important that at the end the whole leaf is covered with a thin film of oil.
Place the marinated leaves on a tray lined with baking paper. Make sure the pieces do not touch.
Bake for around 20 minutes at 130 degrees (circulating air). It also works without circulating air, then maybe just turn the tray once. It depends on the thickness of the leaves and on your oven how long it takes. So ideally check every now and then to see if the chips are crisp.
Practical tip and information:
You can also bake the chips at a higher temperature. They will then simply turn brown faster. But take good care that they do not burn. And of course you can also choose a lower temperature. The chips then keep the green color better. However, I like it best when they have a lightly brown color and a nice roasted aroma.
What Is Kohlrabi? Nutrition, Benefits, and Uses
Kohlrabi is very nutritious and offers various health benefits.
High in antioxidants
Kohlrabi contains a wide array of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, isothiocyanates, and glucosinolates. These are plant compounds that protect your cells against free radical damage that may otherwise increase your risk of disease (1, 11).
Diets high in antioxidant-rich vegetables like kohlrabi are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, metabolic disease, and premature death (12).
The skin of purple kohlrabi is particularly high anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that gives vegetables and fruit a red, purple, or blue color. High intake of anthocyanins is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and mental decline (13, 14, 15).
All color varieties of kohlrabi are high in isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, which are powerful antioxidants associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and inflammation (16, 17, 18).
Promotes a healthy gut
Kohlrabi is high in fiber. In fact, you can get about 17% of your daily fiber needs from a single cup (135 grams) of this vegetable (2).
It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The former is water-soluble and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. On the other hand, insoluble fiber isn’t broken down in your intestine, helping add bulk to your stool and promoting regular bowel movements (19).
What’s more, fiber is the main fuel source of healthy gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the cells of your gut and may protect against heart disease and obesity (20, 21).
Additionally, a healthy gut microbiome is associated with a healthier immune system and lower risks of obesity and bowel disease (19, 22, 23, 24).
May lower your risk of heart disease
Kohlrabi contains powerful plant compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which are mainly found in cruciferous vegetables.
High glucosinolate intake is linked to a lower risk of heart disease due to this compound’s ability to widen blood vessels and reduce inflammation. Moreover, isothiocyanates have antioxidant properties that may prevent plaque buildup in your arteries (25).
A long-term study in 1,226 women aged 70 or older found that eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables was associated with a 13% lower risk of death from heart disease for every 10-gram increase in fiber intake per day (25).
Furthermore, purple kohlrabi is high in anthocyanins, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and your risk of heart attack (26, 27, 28).
Finally, a high-fiber diet may protect against heart disease. One review of 15 studies found that a diet rich in this nutrient decreased the risk of death from heart disease by 24%, compared with low-fiber diets (29, 30).
Supports a healthy immune system
The nutrients in kohlrabi may support your immune system.
This vegetable is high in vitamin B6, which is important for many functions, including protein metabolism, red blood cell development, and immune function (7).
Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of white blood cells and T-cells, which are types of immune cells that fight foreign substances and are key to a healthy immune system. Deficiency in this nutrient is linked to a weakened immune system (31, 32).
Additionally, kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C, which may support white blood cell function and, ultimately, strengthen your immune system (33).
Summary Kohlrabi packs nutrients and antioxidants that may boost immune health and lower your risk of chronic disease. Also, its high fiber content supports a healthy gut microbiome.
Looking something like a Sputnik in vegetable form, with a squat bulb and antennae-like shoots, kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family. The name translates as ‘turnip cabbage’ and the mild, sweet flavour is somewhere between a turnip and a water chestnut, with a crisp, crunchy texture. It can be found in two colours, pale green and the less-common purple.
All year round, but best from mid July to mid November.
Choose the best
Larger bulbs can be tough, so select a medium-sized one that feels heavy for its dimensions. The leaves should be crisp-looking and intensely green. Avoid any bulbs that have soft spots or yellowing leaves.
How to prepare kohlrabi
Snip off the leaf stems, trim off the base and top, then use a potato peeler or sharp knife to peel it as if it’s an apple. Then thinly slice, chunk or cut into wedges.
How to cook kohlrabi
- To roast, steam the bulb for 5 mins, then roast for 45 mins
- Steam (up to 12 mins)
- Stir fry (up to 6 mins)
- The leaves can be cooked like cabbage
How to store kohlrabi
Trim off the stems and keep in the fridge – it will last up to two weeks.
Our top kohlrabi recipes
1. Peppery kohlrabi slaw
Our peppery kohlrabi slaw has it all; vibrant colours, a little bit of heat and plenty of crunch. Combine kohlrabi, horseradish, spring greens and radishes to make this impressive plateful of veggies. Everyone will be coming back for a second scoop.
2. Swiss chard & kohlrabi with lemon sauce
Bring two much maligned veg together in our swiss chard and kohlrabi side dish. This healthy bowl of green goodness has a zingy lemon sauce to cut through the strong flavours of the peppery veg.
3. Beetroot-cured cod with fennel & kohlrabi slaw
Looking for a seriously impressive dinner party dish? Try our beetroot-cured cod with fennel and kohlrabi slaw. This pretty pink plate is a feast for the senses and tastes just as good as it looks.
10 Delicious Ideas for Cooking with Kohlrabi
If you’ve ever passed by kohlrabi at the farmer’s market, you may have mistaken it for a radish, a giant Brussels sprout, or even a rutabaga. Sometimes referred to as a German turnip, kohlrabi comes from the Brassica oleracea family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. It’s a cool-weather crop that’s at its best from early fall through spring. When shopping for this vitamin C-rich vegetable, choose kohlrabi with unblemished leaves and a bulb that’s three to four inches in diameter; the bulb should not appear cracked or overgrown. Leaves that are wilted are a sign that the vegetable is past its peak, but if they’re still in their prime, they’re completely edible.
Once you bring it home, cut off the leaves, wrap them in a damp paper towel, and place in a plastic bag. The leaves can be refrigerated for three to four days; the bulb for several weeks. Although kohlrabi doesn’t need to be peeled, the outer layer can taste tough so feel free to peel it with a heavy-duty vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife. Kohlrabi either come in a bright green or reddish-purple color; while they look different, they taste the same.
So, what do you do with knobby kohlrabi? Like other cruciferous vegetables, it can be roasted in the oven, like in this recipe for Roasted Kohlrabi with Buttered Hazelnuts, sliced into raw matchsticks for a crisp Kohlrabi, Apple, and Mint Slaw or Mizuna Salad with Kohlrabi and Pomegranate Seeds, or baked into salty Kohlrabi Chips. Keep it simple though. Its crunchy, slightly sweet flavor stands up on its own.
In most restaurant kitchens, large hunks of protein have been scaled back to play a supporting role and the humble vegetable has taken center stage.
The one everyone’s obsessing over right now? That weird-looking alien of a vegetable with leaves on it known as kohlrabi.
What It Is
Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family and can be eaten raw or cooked. The vegetable is made up of a bulbous bottom and long stems with leaves–you can cook with both. While, at first glance, kohlrabi might look like a look like a turnip or another below-ground root vegetable, kohlrabi is actually grown above ground.
While kohlrabi dates back to mid-16th century Italy, it was popularized in Eastern European countries, especially Germany–the vegetable’s name comes from the German words kohl (meaning “cabbage”) and rübe (“turnip”). There, you’ll often find steamed kohlrabi cut into cubes and served with a nutmeg-spiced white sauce made from milk, butter, and cream.
The bulb appears in three different colors–white, pale green, and purple–but that has no effect on the vegetable’s texture or flavor. Kohlrabi tastes similar to cabbage and turnips, the vegetables it most resembles, but posesses a milder and sweeter flavor than either of them.
Who’s Using It
At Dan Barber’s fine-dining restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the kitchen serves “kohlrabi tacos” by slicing paper-thin pieces of raw kohlrabi to serve as the “tortillas,” filling them with seared butterfish fillets and a variety of toppings: carrot “guacamole,” sour cream, cured pork, and smoked salt. The kohlrabi brings a slight sweetness to the proceedings, adding a lightness and moisture that works well with the seafood.
Recently, Nashville’s modern-Italian restaurant Rolf & Daughters served raw slices of the vegetable alongside pieces of dry-aged ribeye steak with bagna càuda, the traditional Piedmontese warm dip made with anchovies, garlic, butter, and olive oil.
And, in Los Angeles, chef Jeremy Fox makes a kohlrabi “mustard” at Rustic Canyon Winebar and Seasonal Kitchen. “We sweat down kohlrabi along with shallots and garlic in butter, then make a creamy pureé,” says Fox. “Then we fold in some of our housemade wholegrain mustard–it’s almost like you get these little pops of caviar.”
How to Use It at Home
The first thing you’ll need to do with most preparations of kohlrabi is to remove the fibrous skin with a vegetable peeler. One thing to keep in mind here is that you’ll lose a fair amount of the vegetable after it’s peeled, so when in doubt, buy more kohlrabi!
Kohlrabi or stem turnip is usually grown and eaten for its turnip-shape bulky stem. But aside from the thick stem, kohlrabi also grows several dark green leaves sprouting from the stem. So you may be wondering, can these leaves be eaten? Here is what I found out.
Can you eat kohlrabi leaves? All parts of kohlrabi including the stem and leaves can be eaten as they contain a significant amount of nutrients. Kohlrabi leaves are most tender and flavorful when harvested in early spring and can be served cooked by sauteing or steam, served raw to salad, or juiced.
How to eat kohlrabi leaves?
Kohlrabi belongs to the Brassica family which is related to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. All of them have pretty much the same texture and taste.
You can enjoyed them as you will with spinach, collard greens, beet greens, or turnip greens.
Young leaves of kohlrabi can also be enjoyed like cabbage or kale.
Some experts recommend eating them raw to get the most benefits out of the live enzymes that they contain. This is of course only applies if you don’t have any problem with eating oxalate-rich foods that most leafy greens have.
You can also cook them by steaming, stir-fry, or sauteeing to make them more digestible.
What does kohlrabi leaves taste like?
Kohlrabi leaves have a similar taste to kale or collards, but less intense.
The ones that are harvested in the early spring will have more flavor and tend to be more tender. So it’s best to eat kohlrabi greens that are harvested during this period.
What are kohlrabi leaves good for? Nutritional value and health benefits of kohlrabi leaves
Just like kohlrabi stem or bulb, kohlrabi leaves are highly nutritious.
Most people did not realize their benefits and just throw them away or feed them to animals. This is a huge mistake.
According to Dr. Paul Haider, a master herbalist, kohlrabi greens or leaves are a great superfood and people should not take them for granted.
Kohlrabi leaves are low in calories and fats and are cholesterol-free so they make a great weight loss food.
Kohlrabi leaves also have plenty of vitamins A, B, C, and K, as well as beta carotene, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and trace minerals.
Some of the important trace minerals that kohlrabi leaves have include:
- Copper and iron which are great minerals for anemia
- Potassium that helps regulate our blood pressure and heart contraction
- Magnesium that plays a great role in our body’s immune system
- Zinc that is needed for immune function and proper growth and maintenance
How to handle kohlrabi leaves? Tips for harvesting, preparing, and storage of kohlrabi leaves
Just like all greens in Brassica family, you can handle kohlrabi leaves with the same techniques used in handling kale, Brussel sprouts, and turnip greens.
Harvesting of kohlrabi leaves
To get the most flavored and tender kohlrabi leaves, harvest them in the early spring.
Cut the leaves off of the stem carefully and try to avoid pulling off the leaves as this may injure the kohlrabi stem.
Storage of kohlrabi leaves
Eating recently harvested kohlrabi leaves will give you the best taste.
However, if you are not planning to eat them right away you can store both the kohlrabi leaves and stems in the refrigerator.
If you want to store only the leaves, here’s how you do it.
- Cut off the leafy stalk from the bulb of kohlrabi.
- Wrap them with a damp paper towel then put them in a plastic bag.
- Stored them in the refrigerator where they can stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days.
You can also store the kohlrabi leaves directly inside a sealed ziplock bag. This will keep them fresh for up to a week.
Preparing and choosing kohlrabi leaves for serving
Before using the kohlrabi leaves, make sure they are washed thoroughly.
For serving raw in a salad, it is best to choose leaves that have the smallest size as they are more tender.
On the other hand, leaves that are bigger and firm (which amount to most of the kohlrabi leaves) will be tougher and thicker, you will have a hard time eating them raw.
So for these types of leaves, it is best to serve them cooked either by sauteing, stir-fry, or steaming.
3 Simple and tasty recipes you can use in cooking kohlrabi leaves
Asian-Style Kohlrabi Leaves
(Recipe adapted from Genius Kitchen)
What you will need: Kohlrabi leaves, sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, boiling water
How to prepare them:
Step 1: Wash kohlrabi leaves thoroughly (I usually soak my greens and leafy vegetables in water containing salt for around 3-5 minutes to remove pesticides before rinsing them with clean water)
Tips: The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends washing all vegetables and fruits thoroughly with clean water before eating them to prevent from getting infection from bacteria or other disease-causing microorganisms.
Step 2: Blanch leaves in boiling water for about 1 to 3 minutes until they wilted.
Step 3: Drain the leaves well and chop them according to your preference.
Step 4: Garnish them with sprinkles of salt , sesame oil, and a few drops of soy sauce.
Kohlrabi Leaves Chips (Oven-baked)
(Recipe adapted from Leaf to Root)
What you will need: kohlrabi leaves, olive oil or canola oil, salt, and baking paper
How to prepare them:
Step 1: Remove the ribs of leaves and pluck the leaves into pieces
Step 2: Marinate the leaves with a little bit of salt and oil. Make sure that all leaves are covered with a thin film of oil.
Step 3: Line the oven tray with baking paper before placing the marinated leaves on the tray. Make sure each piece are separated and are not sticking to each other.
Step 4: Bake them at 130℃ with circulating air for about 20 minutes.
Tips: The duration of baking time is not absolute as the thickness of each leaf is different and each oven is not created equal. Ideally, check the chips every now and then to see if they have reached crispiness with light brown color and nice roasted aroma.
Kohlrabi Leaves Soup
(Recipe adapted from Mehr Power Auf Dauer)
What you will need: Kohlrabi leaves (chopped), 1 clove of garlic, 2 pinches of thyme, 1 mid-sized potato (chopped), 1L vegetable stock, 2 tbs cream, seasoning to your liking (pepper, salt, dried chilli, marjoram, a splash of fresh lemon), cooking oil
How to prepare them:
Step 1: In a large pot, roast the garlic in oil together with 2 pinches of thyme.
Step 2: Add the chopped potato.
Step 3: After a short while, add the chopped kohlrabi leaves. Roast them all together for a few minutes.
Step 4: Add vegetable stock and let them simmer for about 20 minutes. You can add a pinch of marjoram and a little bit of chili pepper if you want to.
Step 5: Blend everything with a hand blender or food processor.
Step 6: Season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of lemon.
Step 7: Add cream after removing them from heat to get a nice creamy green soup.
Can I juice kohlrabi leaves? Instead of being trimmed off and discarded, kohlrabi leaves can be juiced to gain a lot of health-promoting nutrients. In fact, kohlrabi greens are one of the top picked vegetables for juicing. Kohlrabi leaves can also be used interchangeably with kale or spinach in juices.
Kohlrabi and potato gratin
Cook kohlrabi or eat it raw. Kohlrabi tastes like a mild, sweet turnip with a bit of radish tang. Young kohlrabi is juicy and crisp and delicate.
The peak kohlrabi harvest season is mid-spring to mid-fall.
How to Choose Kohlrabi
- Select kohlrabi that is firm and heavy for its size with crisp deeply colored leaves that have no yellowing on their tips. The base should be free of cracks.
- Small to medium-sized bulbs will be sweet and tender.
- Overly large bulbs will be tough and strong tasting.
- The skin of the kohlrabi base is edible when young. It is best to remove the skin of mature kohlrabi. The flesh of the base has the texture of celery root or turnip. Kohlrabi is the most tender when the base is less than 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter.
- Kohlrabi stalks are crunchy like broccoli and have a hint of radish and cucumber taste to them. The leaves can have the flavor of turnip greens.
How to Store Kohlrabi
- Kohlrabi will keep tightly wrapped for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. If you want to store the base longer, remove the leaves which otherwise will draw moisture away from the base causing it to lose its crispness.
Peel kohlrabi before or after cooking
How to Prepare Kohlrabi
- When ready to use, remove the leaves, discard the stems, wash in warm water, and then cook. Use the leaves for slow-cooked greens.
- To eat kohlrabi raw, remove the stems and then peel. You can strip out the stem by folding together the two sides of the leaf and pulling out the stem.
- You can peel kohlrabi before or after cooking, but it is easier to peel once it has been cooked. You can steam the bulb to loosen the skin. Trim the bulb to remove the fibrous under-layer just beneath the skin.
How to Steam Kohlrabi
- Use a serrated knife to slice kohlrabi into 1-inch diameter pieces.
- Add a few inches of water to a pot and add a dash of salt then insert a steamer basket. The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer basket.
- Cover the pot and bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Steam until the tip of a paring knife can be inserted easily into the kohlrabi, about 5 to 7 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Remove the lid frequently to release cooking gases.
- Drain the saucepan and kohlrabi through a colander.
- Serve the kohlrabi just crisp, al dente.
- Kohlrabi leaves can be steam also. Steam the leaves as you would steam spinach, cooking them for about 5 minutes.
How to Bake Kohlrabi
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Rub the kohlrabi with olive or vegetable oil; sprinkle it with salt. Prick the kohlrabi with the tines of a fork.
- Place the kohlrabi on a baking sheet or lay it directly on the oven rack,
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on size); turn the bulb once at halfway.
- Bake until the skin is golden and crispy; the kohlrabi will be baked when a sharp knife inserted in the flesh meets no resistance. The internal temperature should be about 210 degrees F.
How to Roast Kohlrabi
- Roast kohlrabi with the skin on or peeled. Cut large kohlrabi into thick wedges.
- Precook cut kohlrabi in a microwave until soft but still firm, about 4 minutes. Or boil in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Spread the wedges on a pan or baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil or fat and toss well. The pieces should be evenly coated and the pan should have light, even oil across the surface.
- Season with salt, dry herbs, or spices.
- Roast 20 to 30 minutes, until bottoms are browned and a spatula slides under them smoothly.
How to Boil Kohlrabi
- Peel and trim the kohlrabi.
- Cook whole or cut the kohlrabi into roughly equal size pieces, 1 or 2 inches in diameter.
- Place whole or sliced kohlrabi in a pot with water to cover and add a pinch of salt, or put in a steamer above the water.
- Add a teaspoon of sugar to give it a bit of a sweet taste.
- Bring to a boil and cook until the kohlrabi is tender; about 10 minutes for cut pieces, about 35 minutes to cook whole.
How to Microwave Kohlrabi
- Place the whole or sliced kohlrabi in a covered dish.
- Sprinkle it with a bit of water.
- Cook in the microwave on high for about 10 minutes.
How to Sauté Kohlrabi with Other Vegetables
- Melt 4 to 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy pan over low heat.
- Add aromatics such as garlic cloves or peeled or diced onions; simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the kohlrabi and other long-cooking vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. Use at least three vegetables.
- Add the next longest cooking vegetable.
- Cover the pan and continue cooking for about 20 minutes.
- Add the quickest cooking vegetables such as cauliflower or zucchini
- Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender
- Stir in additional butter to taste and flavor with salt and freshly ground black pepper or herbs to taste.
How to Stir-Fry Kohlrabi
- Peel and trim the kohlrabi.
- Slice the kohlrabi into thin strips; the smaller the pieces the faster they will cook.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of corn oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the kohlrabi and a quarter cup of stock or water.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the kohlrabi is tender, about 7 minutes.
How to Make Kohlrabi Fries
- Cut kohlrabi bulbs into spears or strips.
- Toss spears in olive oil along with salt and seasonings of your choice–garlic powder, dried thyme or cayenne.
- Place spears on a baking sheet or roasting pan and roast at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes.
How to Mash Kohlrabi
- Cut or dice kohlrabi into pieces and place them in a pot. Cover them with water and add a dash of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let it simmer until the pieces are tender, for 15 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
- Drain the kohlrabi and mash the pieces with a potato masher.
- Work in 4 to 6 tablespoons of melted butter and season to taste with salt and pepper or a pinch of powdered nutmeg or cinnamon.
How to Make Kohlrabi Gratin
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel the kohlrabi and slice them up to 1/4-inch thick.
- Layer the slices in an ovenproof skillet almost to the top. Overlap the slices slightly nearly to the top of the skillet.
- Dot the top of the slices with 2 to 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks. Pour in half-and-half (or a combination of milk and cream) to come 3/4 of the way to the top (about 2 to 3 cups).
- Place the skillet on the stove and bring the liquid to a boil; reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, until the liquid level drops.
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the top browns, 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and garnish the top with grated cheese (Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan). Cook 10 minutes more, or until tender and browned.
Kohlrabi puree and peas
How to Make Kohlrabi Puree
- To make kohlrabi soup add one medium potato for every three kohlrabies; this will make a thicker, creamier puree.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt.
- Add the kohlrabi peeled and cubed and potatoes peeled and cubed
- Cook over medium heat until simmering
- Cook until the kohlrabi and potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Drain and place the kohlrabi and potatoes in a food processor or pass them through a food mill.
- Add butter or olive oil and process until smooth. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Kohlrabi Serving Suggestions
- Kohlrabi can be served raw, grated, sprinkled with salt, or cooked. Kohlrabi can be steamed, added to soups and stews, and stir-fried.
- To serve raw, peel and slice or cut into strips, cubes, or wedges to serve with crudités.
- Julienne kohlrabi for vegetable or meat salads. Grate or shred to add to a slaw or toss with rémoulade sauce (mayonnaise, mustard, capers, chopped gherkins, herbs, and anchovies).
- Cook kohlrabi flesh like you would turnips or celeriac. Boil and serve tender-crisp. (You may want to change the water twice when boiling for a lighter flavor.) Peel and steam and serve with lemon juice and melted butter.
- Add whole peeled kohlrabi to braised dishes and stews and cook about 20 minutes. You can add the leaves halfway through.
- Roast kohlrabi chunks in a pan with meats or poultry.
- Cut the flesh into slices or wedges and add to Chinese stir-fry or Indian curry.
- Combine peeled kohlrabi with potatoes when making scalloped potatoes.
- Dip kohlrabi slices or sticks into tempura batter and deep-fry.
- Trim, scrub, boil whole or sliced for 20 or 30 minutes, then drain, peel, and serve with melted butter or white sauce or mashed.
- Kohlrabi leaves can be cooked like spinach. Trim and boil the leaves until tender about 2-3 minutes, drain then aside and serve.
- Sprinkle cooked leaves with lemon juice and a dollop of butter.
- Purple kohlrabi may change color during cooking and become whitish colored.
Kohlrabi Flavor Partners
- Kohlrabi is delicious served with cheese, curry, Dijon mustard, garlic, ginger, potatoes, rice wine, roasted meats, sesame oil, or soy sauce.
- Kohlrabi is rich in potassium and vitamin C.
- There are about 40 calories per cup of raw kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi in garden
Get to Know Kohlrabi
- Kohlrabi, which means “cabbage-turnip” in German, is a member of the cabbage and turnip family.
- Unlike the turnip, the swollen stem or base of the kohlrabi grows above ground. It can reach the size of an orange and can be white, deep violet, or greenish-white in color.
- From the base, thin stalks grow out in all directions. The stalks are topped with large broccoli-like leaves, are edible, and can be prepared just like spinach.
- Kohlrabi originated in Northern Europe as late as the fifteenth or sixteenth century although Pliny, the ancient Roman, described a similar vegetable grown by the Romans in the first century.
- Today kohlrabi is most popular in Germany and Central Europe. In Italy, it is known as cavolo-rapa, which means cabbage turnip.
The botanical name for kohlrabi is Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes.
Also of interest:
How to Grow Kohlrabi
How to Harvest and Serve Kohlrabi