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What is that Alien Looking Vegetable?

As farmers' markets are opening all over the country right now,

we want to help inspire you with some of the early season vegetables you will be able to enjoy within the next few weeks!

Recently we welcomed you to asparagus season and this week we want to highlight an odd, alien-looking vegetable with a strange name...



Kohlrabi may be the world's most overlooked and under-appreciated vegetable, but it's definitely one you should know about!

Watch our video or keep reading to learn more!


Add crunch to your stir fry!

A few years ago, we were doing a cooking demo for a group of business leaders.  We were keeping it simple by sautéing some fresh vegetables, which were marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and then topped them with fresh herbs.  To make it a little more interesting (and, of course, to nudge people out of their comfort zones), we included some kohlrabi with the vegetables.  Everyone asked, “what is that crunchy thing?”  When we explained it was kohlrabi, the reaction was, “Wow, I have never had kohlrabi before…I really like it!  Where can I get one?”


Perfect for dipping!

Later, we were doing a demo for herb day at the farmers' market...featuring homemade basil pesto.  We grabbed some kohlrabi, cut it up, and used it for dipping with the pesto (which was absolutely delicious!).  Again, everyone asked, "what is's really good!"..."what do you do with it?"...and "where can I get one?!"


What is a kohlrabi?

Pronounced "coal-rä-bee," this strange alien-looking vegetable originally comes from northwestern Europe and comes from the German word "kohl" (meaning cabbage) and "rabi" (meaning turnip).

In the 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden, kohlrabi is described as a "cross between an octopus and a space capsule.”  Sounds like something you want to rush out and get, right?!

Kohlrabi actually comes from the cabbage family and is one of our favorite "strange vegetables!"  It's grown above ground…it is not a root vegetable, and the edible bulb is actually part of the stem.

It is a cool-season crop, so you may not find it at farmers’ markets in the summer in regions where the summer heat affects its growth.  But it grows well in the spring and fall…and year-round in cooler climates.


How do you pick it and eat it?

When picking a kohlrabi, you want it to be firm, not soft or squishy.  The bulb is the part people typically eat, although you can also cook the greens.  Kohlrabi is found in white, pale green and purple.  Younger, smaller varieties don't need to be peeled; however, larger kohlrabi can have a tough and bitter outside layer, so you will probably want to peel the larger ones before eating.

While it may be tempting to buy the largest kohlrabi of the bunch, the smaller ones will be much more tender, crisp and juicy.  The inside is white and has a crunch, similar to an apple.  You can peel it with a vegetable peeler, but a small paring knife works just as well.  Kohlrabi will keep in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for at least a week or more.


Why you should respect the bulb!

Kohlrabi is extremely nutritious!  It's low in calories (only 19 calories for 1/2 cup of raw slices) and a great source of potassium, Vitamin C and fiber.

One of the best reasons to include kohlrabi in your routine's a cruciferous veggie!  This means it's filled with antioxidants and extra cancer fighting nutrients!  You might hear someone describe kohlrabi as a mild radish or turnip, but we think it tastes more like a combination of a water chestnut and an apple.  Our favorite description comes from a farmer who once told us..."kohlrabi is the poor man's water chestnut."


What can you do with kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi is excellent raw…in salads or to use with your favorite dip or hummus.  It's also fantastic cooked into a variety of REAL food meals.  Here are just a few delicious ideas…you can even transform kohlrabi into fries!


Asian Kohlrabi Salad

Chile Kohlrabi Fries

Glazed Turnip & Kohlrabi Salad

Kohlrabi and Mango Salad

Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Kale Salad Tortillas with Zesty Dressing

Pork Chops with Apple Kohlrabi Slaw

Summer Peach Lettuce Wraps

Strawberry Blue Cheese Pecan Salad

Kohlrabi, Apple & Carrot Salad

Simple Sautéed Vegetables

Kale and Blueberry Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

Watermelon Kohlrabi Mint Salad

Mexican Spiced Fruit Salad

Ivett's Mango Pico de Gallo


So, the next time you're at farmer's market or the store, give kohlrabi some love!  If you buy it at the store, it's a great cashier conversation starter (I bet many may ask YOU what it is!).

Create a challenge this season to try it a variety of ways...raw or cooked -- you can even impress your friends and family and help them discover something they might not have otherwise tried!

We would love to know if you like kohlrabi as much as we do!


What are your favorite ways to prepare and enjoy this one-of-a-kind veggie?


Remember, it's what's on the inside that counts!


Leave A Comment

4 Responses to What is that Alien Looking Vegetable?

  1. We love kohlrabi (thanks to you and your recipes!) and were excited to find some at the South Bend, IN farmers market this past weekend while visiting family there. BTW, one of my daughter’s Easter guests, a woman who is 70, actually said, ‘Vegetables scare me!’ And she hadn’t even SEEN my kohlrabi yet, haha! She did eat some broccoli salad, she said because it had bacon in it. Progress? Her son says she lives on coffee and air.

    • Thanks to you we tried kohlrabi and love it! I like to eat it raw. Will be on the look out for it at the farmers market 🙂

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