>> Sunday, August 16, 2009
Have you heard of the vegetable called kohlrabi? I have been dying to try some kohlrabi for months now, but our grocery stores don't sell it, sadly. Happily, my local summer vegetable stand had a few (and just a very few) for sale last week, and I snatched some up. So glad that I did! This crazy vegetable was hit in our household.
So, what is kohlrabi? Kohlrabi - aka "cabbage-turnip" is a cruciferous vegetable that is pale green or purple in color, kind of circular, and smooth, except for the where the leaves sprout out of it. The kohlrabi I bought had the leaves already removed.
Kohlrabi, like all cruciferous vegetables, has a lot to offer nutritionally. Kohlrabi is a great source of dietary fiber, and it's an excellent source of vitamin C. Amazingly, a single half cup serving of cooked, diced kohlrabi has about 74% of the RDA for vitamin C and 16% more potassium than a half cup of orange juice. It's a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorous, and a very good source of copper and manganese. Throw in antioxidants, a decent dose of iron and calcium, and protein, and this vegetable (like pretty much all of the cruciferous vegetables) is a great one to add to your diet!
I've been so keen on trying this vegetable because of the descriptions I've read about its flavor. I've heard the flavor described as a cross between celery and apple in its raw form changing to a sweet turnip flavor when cooked. Might be the batch that I got, but I didn't get any apple flavor from mine. To my husband and me, it tasted more like a sweet jicama with just a little radish zing. It's really good raw and would be great in a salad. My daughter gave it two thumbs up in raw form, but she's easy that way.
I pondered how to prepare this vegetable after buying it, and finally decided to roast it. I like most any vegetable roasted. The flavor post-roasting was great, but I'm not quite sure how to describe it. I've had roasted rutabagers before (a turnip relative), and roasted kohlrabi is quite different in flavor. It retains it's original flavor, only the flavor is more complex with roasting with some turnip and broccoli characteristics coming out in the flavor. My son thought it tasted just like brocolli. He gave roasted kohlrabi two BIG thumbs up - going back for seconds and thirds. That's high praise from my picky eater!
On to the roasting! I know that this post has been primarily about kohlrabi, but roasting is a great way to prepare so many vegetables - carrots, onions, brocolli, red bell pepper, squash, zucchini, etc. And the method for roasting is pretty much the same for all vegetables - high heat, a little oil, and time. Easy peasy! For our kohlrabi meal, I also roasted some plain carrots alongside the kohlrabi. Young, tender carrots that aren't too big yet are fantastic roasted whole. If your carrots are big, try cutting them into smaller sticks and roasting. Yum!
Here's my method for roasting kohlrabi. Take it and apply to your vegetable of choice!
Roasted Kohlrabi (or vegetable of choice)
Coursely diced kolhrabi
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
1-2 TBSP olive oil
kosher salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F. Coat kohlrabi (or whatever vegetable you're using) with olive oil, and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Mix in minced garlic.
Roast for 20 min. After 20 min, shake or stir the kohlrabi and check every 5-10 min until the vegetable reaches desired doneness, shaking with every check. Sprinkle kosher salt to taste on top of roasted vegetable. Enjoy!
Now to convince my local grocery stores to start stocking kohlrabi. Spread the word! Kohlrabi is an unusual vegetable that is both very nutritious as well as delicious!
And...if you like roasted vegetables, you might want to check out this book: The Roasted Vegetable by Andrea Chesman. A great cookbook with lots of wonderful recipes for roasting and using roasted vegetables.