Kohl is the German word for cabbage. Like many things in the US, we mix words from different cultures and many times we don’t even realize it. This article is not about the German language but I thought it was an interesting start. By the way, it’s pronounced like the English word ‘coal’ and ‘ra-bee’.
The translation from German is ‘cabbage turnip‘ which describes it pretty well! The Germans are very exact with their language.
It looks like a very intimidating vegetable which is why for the longest time I stayed away from it. However, it turns out to be just as easy as your average potato, plus I think it tastes nothing like cabbage or a turnip.
I first knowingly consumed kohlrabi at my Swiss neighbors’ house. It has a mild taste, not really distinctive so it takes on the other flavors in the dish. The second time I heard about it was in my coursework for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). They used it alongside carrots on a fresh veggie platter.
Now I was intrigued and in the mood to try new vegetables so I grabbed one at the store last week. Then it sat in my fridge until Sunday when I could finally think of something to do with it.
You can eat the greens attached, similar to the greens on a beet or carrot, however, these greens were a bit wilted and yellowed so I stuck to just the bulb. I found an easy recipe for roasting and proceeded to give it a go.
First, you need to remove the thick layer of skin. This was the most difficult part since it’s hard to tell if you got it all off. You will be able to tell later when you are eating it because it’s fibrous and inedible. It’s also extremely tough to cut through when the skin is on.
Once the skin is off cutting through the flesh is very easy, again, similar to a potato. I threw the pieces into the roasting pan, meanwhile, I took light olive oil and added some crushed red pepper and crushed garlic and let it warm up over very low heat to not ‘cook’ the garlic but just infuse the oil.
I tossed the hot garlic oil with the kohlrabi in the roasting pan and set it in the oven at 200C. This is where I saw the difference from potatoes, kohlrabi cooks much faster. They were done in 25-35 minutes depending on your oven.
Why should you incorporate kohlrabi into your diet? There are a ton of great health benefits but the best reason is that they are part of the cabbage family and I know people don’t get enough of this in their day to day diet because cabbage is often considered stinky or creates stinky situations. Kohlrabi doesn’t have the same ‘odorous’ effects. If you catch my meaning.
Also, consider switching in kohlrabi the next time you need to use potatoes just incorporate more variety into your diet.
The next time you are at the grocery store, take some pictures of other vegetables you’ve never used and research how to cook with them.
It’s great to have more options to cook with in order to get a wider variety of foods in your diet.