June 22nd, 2012

When I’d finished buying my vegetables at the Islington Farmers’ Market on Sunday, Martin the farmer, presented me with a kohlrabi to try. These Russian spaceship like vegetables are quite common in Indian cuisine, but I don’t think I’ve really noticed them in shops here, or tried them outside of a curry (and that would have been unknowingly).


The name kohlrabi is German and means cabbage turnip. It’s a relative of the wild cabbage and is therefore related to broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc. It grows above ground, with it’s root coming from the round base. Martin did mention that the leaves are edible, but slightly bitter.

To prepare, first remove the leaves and slice off the bottom with a sharp knife. Next peel like an apple, with a potato peeler.


I sliced the kohlrabi and then chopped it into chunks. The texture is crisp, like a firm apple. I tried it raw – it’s very good, a little creamy, similar but different to cauliflower and refreshing like lettuce. I’m sure it would be excellent in a salad. I was tempted to eat it all raw, but as I was steaming carrots and broad beans, it went in the steamer too. After about 12 – 14 minutes, the kohlrabi maintained its crispy freshness and went well with the other vegetables and a chicken breast.

I was really impressed by the flavour and next week I’ll be buying more!

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34 Responses to Kohlrabi

  1. I have to be honest, I’ve never bought kohlrabi so I was curious to read your description. I think you’re right, it would be lovely all slivered up in a salad! Maybe a cole slaw??

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    Thank you for this, MD. I’m not at all familiar with this vegetable and wouldn’t have had any idea of what do with it if given to me. Judging by your description, I bet I’d like how you prepared it here, as well as in a salad or slaw — thanks, Smidge! I need to put kohlrabi on my shopping list. Thanks!

  3. Michelle says:

    That’s a great description: Russian spaceships! I like kohlrabi. As you say, it’s good raw. Also good just sliced and sauteed in butter (what isn’t?).

  4. Never tried it, but your description certainly belies its overall dullness. I think curry is a good place for it:)

  5. I don’t see it in the shops or farmers market here, but I do grow it (well I had to re sow the 1st batch as the slugs got them ALL). I like it in salads and have used it as a coleslaw ingredient or paired with grapefruit or orange in a salad. The one thing I haven’t tried is steaming it – so thanks 🙂

  6. rutheh says:

    I would walk right by it in the produce section but your post makes it sound like something to try.
    Looks good!

  7. I’ve never seen a kohlrabi!
    I’m sure that i will learn many things in your blog 🙂

  8. Audrey Evermore says:

    I think it is used to make Vodka… or it should be.

    • Mad Dog says:

      They normally use grain these days for vodka. Potatoes were common when labour was cheap, but now processing grain is much easier. Luksusowa is a good potato vodka, made in Poland.

  9. Lovely – although I confess to only ever having put it into soup in the UK., Can´t find it here 😦

  10. sybaritica says:

    I’ve seen these several times in one of our local store lately… been meaning to try them but just needed some ides. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I used to grow these and cook them as a vegetable, as you describe, steamed or quickly boiled, and they do taste good. I haven’t seen them for years – and certainly never here because I don’t think they’re a Mediterranean vegetable.

    • Mad Dog says:

      The only info I’ve seen with regard to where they come from suggests that they are common in Central Europe and Asia, but there’s no mention of origin…

  12. ceciliag says:

    I used to live in Islington, but i probably told you that before.. we grew those this year, all finished hot, actually they were a bit of a failure as they did not heart up! c

  13. ceciliag says:

    or turnip up as the case may be!!

  14. peasepudding says:

    I love Kohlrabi, it would make a lovely coleslaw too!

  15. hotlyspiced says:

    Thanks so much for giving me info about this vegetable. I see it in my greengrocery and although it looks very pretty with its green and purple colours, I have never bought one because I’m unsure what to do with it. Your post has helped!

  16. Hi MD!
    I have seen these in a market here in Madrid but never tried it. Next time I will. 😉

  17. Pingback: Mardi Gras Jambalaya | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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