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March 21, 2012 at 8:00 AMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Cooking with Kohlrabi

From the Dietitian's Dish Blog Series

One of the more unique veggies we pulled out of our reusable CSA bag this past week was kohlrabi. Now if you have not been face-to-face with this root veggie before, I urge you to take a look as it is certainly peculiar. If you ask me, they slightly resemble those cute little green aliens from the first “Toy Story” movie. Thankfully they are just as much fun to cook with as they are to look at.

A single serving of this German turnip, about 1/2 cup, is nutrient rich, full of fiber, and packs more than your daily requirements of vitamin C. Because it comes from the cancer fighting family of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, it is safe to say that the health benefits are plenty.

Have you ever crunched on the stem of broccoli (if you haven’t you may find that you enjoy it more than the florets, please don’t toss those gorgeous stems!) or perhaps the heart of a cabbage? That taste is pretty close to how kohlrabi tastes raw – and its even better roasted. You can enjoy kohlrabi sliced fresh, sautéed with olive oil and lemon juice, breaded and baked, roasted, or in a delicious salad. I opted for the latter this week with a couple of slaws.

If you would like to try cooking with kohlrabi, yet are intimidated by this mysterious veggie, I promise you it is far easier to cook with than you would think! All you need to do is slice off the outer skin with a sharp knife and slice it into whatever size pieces your recipe calls for. If you find kohlrabi with the leafy stems still attached, don’t throw them away as you can cook those up just as you would spinach or kale. I might suggest sautéing them up with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and your favorite seasoning mix for a quick and simple side dish.

Speaking of cooking, let's get back to those slaw dishes I mentioned earlier…

First, I made a very basic coleslaw recipe. All I did was sub in freshly shredded kohlrabi for half of the cabbage in our usual recipe. The kohlrabi was very easy to shred. I chose to use a standard grater, though you could easily use a food processor or simply finely slice it up with your knife. If you aren’t going to serve the slaw right away, I recommend using a larger cut as the finely shredded slaw will become soggier much more quickly.

Kohlrabi Coleslaw

Ever had a great broccoli stem coleslaw? Kohlrabi acts similarly, but adds an element of fun and adventure to the classic warm weather side dish.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 1 medium green cabbage, washed and shredded
  • 2 large kohlrabi, washed, peeled, and shredded
  • 2 carrots, washed and shredded
  • Coleslaw dressing* (*Note: Coleslaw dressing is very easy to make, though if you are picking it up from the store click here for my favorite choice.)


  1. In a large bowl, combine veggies.
  2. Slowly add in your dressing while mixing well, until veggies are lightly coated.
  3. Enjoy!

Asian Coleslaw

Next, I decided to be a bit more adventurous by experimenting with Asian coleslaw. I found a variety of recipes for this slaw online and here you will find my own version which combines in aspects of several and was modified to include only the ingredients we already had available in our own kitchen.

I prefer serving this side dish alongside a fabulous meal of brown rice sushi rolls, though we also found that it pairs quite nicely as the filling for a wrap – adding a fun pop of flavor among other ingredients. 

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 carrots, washed, peeled and shredded
  • 1 kohlrabi, washed, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 large cucumber, washed and shredded (peeled if not organic)
  • 2 turnips
  • ½ bunch of scallions (about 4 stems)
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  1. In a large bowl, combine veggies.
  2. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  3. Allow mixture to stand for 10-20 minutes before draining off the liquid in the base of the bowl (to prevent soggy vegetables).
  4. Add the oils, toss, and serve!

Asian Kohlrabi Slaw Wrap

As I only used the slaw as a topping for an already fabulous wrap, I served a dash more as a side inside of an avocado boat. See that? Healthy food can look good too :)

Asian Kohlrabi Slaw in Avocado Boat

What are you cooking up this Spring?

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  • Thank you so much for these! I'm trying to grow kohlrabi for the first time this year, and I had no idea what it was or how to use it until now. :)

  • Jessica -

    Inspired by your blog on swapping avocado for mayo, I actually decided to make a dressing for my coleslaw using only avocado as my fat. In addition, I added fresh squeezed lime juice, a little liquid aminos (soy sauce alternative), grated onion and TONS of grated ginger - my newest spice addiction! It turned out awesome. Just let the food processor work it's magic and stirred it into a cabbage, carrot mixture with some flaxseeds for texture. n.n We ate most of it on it's own, but I used some as a topping for rice and I suspect it would be wonderful in wrap or a wonton!

    And the broccoli stems - you are so right! I tried taking a potato peeler to the stems one day after feeling annoyed by how much of the broccoli weight I paid for would go into the trash. So long as you get off all that tough outer layer, it's REALLY good with just a little squeeze of lemon and a shake of salt. It kind of reminded me of celery actually, but without the strings. Nice, cool and refreshing. I don't waste my stems anymore. :)

  • thanks Jessica for the new twist on coleslaw I just made a batch last week myself with just cabbage, carrots, and onion.

  • Love to hear about fellow gardeners - especially those who are braving new veggies! I am excited to get digging myself, though I'm first focusing on the rest of the yard and non-veg gardens :) What else are you growing, Dave? Is your kohlrabi almost ready for harvest? I'm sure you will love it.

    Erin, sounds like the avocado post led to a brilliant creation in your own kitchen and it sounds delicious! I will have to try that out as we have several gorgeously green orbs ready to be sliced into as I type...

    Nancy, I'm happy to hear you're enjoying a taste of coleslaw yourself! Certainly an excellent pairing for off of the fish Friday's going on this season (notice that I did not say fish-FRY Fridays...). Enjoy!

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