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Ingredient

Kohlrabi

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What is it?

It may look like a turnip, but kohlrabi is a type of cabbage related more to broccoli and cauliflower than to any kind of root vegetable. It’s a bulbous stem that grows just above ground, with leafy stalks protruding upward from various parts of the bulb. Both bulb and leaves are edible and are best cooked separately. You can find purple and green kohlrabi, although both are white inside and taste essentially the same.

We can’t get enough of kohlrabi’s crisp, juicy texture and unusual flavor, which combines the earthy sweetness of cabbage and the crunchy bite of a turnip, with a hint of radish-like heat. Kohlrabi is delicious paired with chives, watercress, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, apples, and bacon as well as with seasonings like horseradish, sesame, ginger, and mustard. You can pickle it or use it as you would cabbage in your favorite slaws.

How to choose:

Look for bulbs 3 inches in diameter or less (about the size of a medium turnip). They’re more tender and delicate in flavor than larger ones and usually don’t require peeling. Large bulbs tend to be tough and woody, with a hard outer layer.

How to prep:

Use kohlrabi bulbs raw—shredded or thinly sliced—to add crunch to slaws and salads. Or cook them in a variety of ways. They’re tasty sautéed or roasted (cut them into thin slices or bite-size wedges first) or added to your favorite braises and stews. You can also boil the bulbs until tender and mash them. When cooked, kohlrabi retains some of its crunchy texture, but the flavor mellows quite a bit. Treat the leafy tops as you would kale or collard greens: Sauté them in oil or add them to soups and stews in the last 15 minutes or so of cooking (trim off the stalks before cooking).

How to store:

Cut the leafy stalks off the bulbs and refrigerate them separately in zip-top bags. If stored properly, the bulbs can last a few weeks. The leaves, however, should be consumed within two or three days.

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