That was my question when I saw this in my CSA share this past weekend:
I’ve seen and eaten a plethora of different veggies in my lifetime thus far but I had never seen this little baby before. At first I thought it was a really strange beet. But no, it’s kohlrabi. The word “kohlrabi” is German for “cabbage-turnip” so I guess that’s what those German folks thought it tasted like. Turns out they were right. I’ve heard others say it tastes like a turnip/apple combination but I think it’s safe to say it’s more cabbage-y than apple-y. However, it is probably a little sweeter than you might be imagining. Kohlrabi looks like it should be a root vegetable like a potato or a rutabaga but it actually grows on top of the ground. Fascinating!
On to the eating. You can eat kohrabi raw or cooked. You’ll just need to slice off the “tentacles” and either slice the veg to eat as a snack with dips (tonight we’re planning to slice the bulb with a mandolin slicer and use those as “chips” to eat with our hummus!) or prepare it to be cooked. You can see in the picture above that the inside of the veg is a pale green-ish color as opposed to the dark purple color you see on the outside. Tricky, huh?
I haven’t tried this recipe for kohlrabi puree yet but the next time I get it in my CSA share I’m definitely trying it. It’s like mashed potatoes but with kohlrabi. The recipe is from Farmgirl Fare, where she also writes about the strange veg:
4 kohlrabi bulbs with leaves
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces mushrooms, quartered
3 Tablespoons cream (or milk, chicken stock, olive oil, or water)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Trim the kohlrabi bulbs, peeling them if the skins seem tough. Rinse the leaves (discarding any that are yellow) pat them dry, and coarsely chop. Set aside. Cut the bulbs into 1-inch chunks.
2. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the kohlrabi chunks. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, another 1 to 2 minutes. Don’t let the garlic brown.
4. Add the mushrooms and the reserved kohlrabi leaves to the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes. Then uncover, and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated, 3 minutes. Set the skillet aside.
5. Drain the kohlrabi chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the mushroom mixture and the cream (or whatever substitute you’re using). Purée until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Transfer the purée to a saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Serve warm.
As she mentions, you can even eat the kohlrabi greens. See how they look a little like swiss chard, with the purple vein down the center?
If you find yourself face to face with kohlrabi in the future, don’t be scared! Calmly refer back to this post and that of the Farmgirl. As for the rest of my first CSA share, it looks pretty normal:
We’ve got some lettuce, bok choy, radishes, salad turnips, broccoli rabe, an ear of popcorn, asian braising mix, potted oregano, and of course, the kohlrabi. I officially love CSAs! Can’t wait to tell you what I make with everything!