The first time I saw kohlrabi I thought, that is one alien-looking vegetable.
Kohlrabi was unknown until a European botanist described it for the first time in 1554. By the end of the 16th century, it was known in Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Tripoli, and the eastern Mediterranean. It is said to have been first grown in Ireland in 1734.
In the United States, records of its use go back to 1806. Two types are grown in North America: white (light green in color) and purple. The white is much more popular although the purple is more attractive.
Think of kohlrabi as the wild yet hearty cousin to Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and broccoli (which it is). Its taste is similar to a turnip but milder and sweeter, especially if it is harvested before it becomes too old and tough.
I like and cook with both and can understand how it might be off-putting. Please don’t be put off by its appearance even if it does look like someone teleported a Martian vegetable right into your kitchen. Once it is peeled and grated you’ll love its flavor and texture. It pairs perfectly with the carrots, onions, and jalapeños in this spicy kohlrabi slaw.
4 cups kohlrabi bulbs (peeled and grated)
1 medium carrot (coarsely grated)
½ cup onion (peeled, cut in half and sliced thin)
2 jalapeños (seeded and diced fine)
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
1 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Peel the kohlrabi by cutting off the top and bottom and then peel the skin off with a paring knife. Using a box grater, grate the kohlrabi on the large openings until you have about 4 cups. Transfer kohlrabi to a medium size bowl. Add carrot, onion, and jalapeño to the kohlrabi. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bowl. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Uncover and drain. Set bowl aside.
Bring vinegar, 1/2 cup water, salt, sugar, and oregano to a boil in saucepan. Pour over cabbage mixture and allow to cool. Serve as a side to your favorite Panini sandwich, as a topping for hot dogs or as a side to grilled burgers!