What Is Kohlrabi And What Does It Taste Like?

A hardy vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, and is versatile enough to be used in all kinds of recipes, should logically be one popular piece of produce. And yet, many people see kohlrabi at the store, farmers market, or in their CSA delivery and have no idea what to do with it. Or even what the heck it is!

The Spruce Eats shares that kohlrabi grows with leafy greens above a round, heavy bulb that sits just above the soil. The leaves shoot up from stems on the sides of the bulb, which is one of the reasons this vegetable looks so unusual. Another reason, according to Kitchn is that kohlrabi bulbs stripped of their leaves, stems, and roots, can look lumpy and textured. Although the leaves are edible, the bulbs are often sold with the leaves cut off.

According to The Spruce Eats, this odd-looking veggie belongs to the same plant family as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. The bulbs are usually green, but there are purple kohlrabi out there, too. Both varieties have a cream-colored center.

Here's what you can do with kohlrabi

The flavor and texture of this cruciferous sphere make it easy to enjoy in all kinds of ways. Food Network says once the bitter, outer layers are peeled away, kohlrabi tastes mildly of other vegetables in the family, and with a slightly spicy note like you might find in radishes or turnips. The leaves can also be enjoyed, prepared as you would do for Swiss chard or kale.

Taste of Home suggests choosing kohlrabi with plump leaves attached, or if they've been removed, bulbs that are firm and fresh. Use a sharp knife to remove the tough outer surface of the vegetable. You'll want to do this whether you're planning to enjoy it fresh or to cook it up.

So how do you prepare this knobby, alien veggie? One idea from BBC Good Food is to grate kohlrabi with horseradish and scallions to make a vibrant, crunchy slaw. Kitchn likes kohlrabi in regular salads too, either by using the green leaves or by slicing up the bulbs. Fresh dishes like these let the flavor of kohlrabi come through, as well as the crunchy texture.

Like other winter veggies, kohlrabi is also delicious roasted, which Kitchn says brings out its sweetness. Steam-cooking kohlrabi makes it possible to turn it into soups, purées, and even fry it up into savory fritters. Convinced? We are, too! Let's head to the store and look for this weird-looking, but delicious, veggie.