Kohlrabi is a vegetable that’s related to the cabbage family. It’s widely consumed in Europe and Asia and has gained popularity around the world.
The health benefits and culinary uses of kohlrabi are numerous. It’s a good source of nutrients, such as vitamin C and fiber. Plus, you can enjoy kohlrabi raw or roasted and add it to salads, slaws, and stir-fries.
This article reviews kohlrabi, including its nutrients, benefits, and many uses.
Kohlrabi, also known as German turnip, is a cruciferous vegetable.
Despite its secondary name, kohlrabi is not a root vegetable and does not belong to the turnip family. Instead, it belongs to the Brassica, or mustard family and is related to cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower (
It has long leafy stems and a round bulb that’s usually purple, pale green, or white. It’s always white-yellow on the inside (
The unique appearance of kohlrabi — with multiple stems growing out of the bulb — is sometimes described as alien-like.
Kohlrabi’s taste and texture are similar to those of broccoli stems and cabbage, although it’s slightly sweeter.
The bulb is widely used in salads and soups but can also be roasted or sautéed. Its leaves and stems are slightly crunchy, and you can cook them similarly to collard greens.
Kohlrabi is a cool-weather crop. It’s in season during the fall, winter, and early spring.
During colder months, you can find kohlrabi at most grocery stores, farmers markets, local food co-ops, or in community-supported agriculture shares.
Even outside of its peak season, kohlrabi is usually available year-round at most grocery stores. Your best chance of finding it is at large grocery stores or markets that have a wide selection of vegetables.
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable that’s closely related to cabbage. Its leaves, stems, and bulbs can be eaten raw or cooked. You can find kohlrabi at farmers markets and large grocery stores with a wide variety of veggies.
Kohlrabi is an excellent source of nutrients.
A cup (135 grams) of raw kohlrabi provides (
- Calories: 36
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 93% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
- Potassium: 10% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
- Manganese: 8% of the DV
- Folate: 5% of the DV
The vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects your body from free radical damage and plays a role in wound healing, collagen synthesis, iron absorption, and immune health (
Furthermore, it’s a good source of vitamin B6, which supports immune health, protein metabolism, and red blood cell production (
One cup (135 grams) of kohlrabi provides 93% of your daily vitamin C needs. It’s also a good source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6.
Kohlrabi is very nutritious and offers various health benefits.
High in antioxidants
Kohlrabi contains a wide array of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, isothiocyanates, and glucosinolates. These plant compounds protect your cells against free radical damage that may otherwise increase your risk of disease (
Diets high in antioxidant-rich vegetables like kohlrabi are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, metabolic disease, and premature death (
The skin of purple kohlrabi is particularly high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that gives vegetables and fruit a red, purple, or blue color. A high intake of anthocyanins is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and may also benefit brain function (
All color varieties of kohlrabi are high in isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, which are powerful antioxidants associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and inflammation (
Promotes a healthy gut
Kohlrabi is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The former is water-soluble and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. On the other hand, insoluble fiber isn’t broken down in your intestine, helping add bulk to your stool and promote regular bowel movements (
What’s more, fiber is the main fuel source of healthy gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the cells of your gut and may protect against heart disease and obesity (
May lower your risk of heart disease
Kohlrabi contains powerful plant compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which are mainly found in cruciferous vegetables.
High glucosinolate intake is linked to a lower risk of heart disease due to this compound’s ability to widen blood vessels and reduce inflammation. Moreover, isothiocyanates have antioxidant properties that may prevent plaque buildup in your arteries (
A long-term study including 1,226 women ages 70 and older found that eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables was associated with a 13% lower risk of death from heart disease for every 10-gram increase in fiber intake per day (
Finally, a high fiber diet may protect against heart disease. One review of 15 studies found that a diet rich in this nutrient decreased the risk of death from heart disease by 24%, compared with low fiber diets (
Supports a healthy immune system
The nutrients in kohlrabi may support your immune system.
This vegetable is high in vitamin B6, which is important for many functions, including protein metabolism, red blood cell development, and immune function (
Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of white blood cells and T-cells, which are types of immune cells that fight foreign substances and are key to a healthy immune system. Deficiency in this nutrient is linked to a weakened immune system (
Kohlrabi packs nutrients and antioxidants that may support immune health and lower your risk of chronic disease. Also, its fiber content supports a healthy gut microbiome.
Kohlrabi may be sold with or without its stems and leaves.
If you just have the bulb, store it in a sealed bag in the fridge. If you cut off a piece of the bulb and want to store what’s left, wrap it tightly in plastic or beeswax wrap. Sliced or chopped kohlrabi pieces should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
With proper storage, both whole and cut kohlrabi bulbs should last for up to a week.
Kohlrabi that comes with its stems and leaves should also be stored in a sealed bag in the fridge. The stems and leaves may start to wilt within a few days, but the bulb will last longer.
If you want to use the stems and leaves, try to use them sooner than later. Stems or leaves that are a little wilted are still OK to use, but you should discard them if they are discolored or have a strange odor.
To prepare kohlrabi, start by removing the stems and leaves with a knife. Chop them up into pieces if you plan to add them to recipes.
Next, use a paring knife to peel the skin on the kohlrabi bulb. Even though it’s edible, it tends to be tough, so most people prefer to remove it.
Finally, slice the kohlrabi into pieces of your desired shape and size. You can also grate kohlrabi with a cheese grater or turn it into “noodles” with a spiralizer.
Enjoy kohlrabi raw or cooked. It can be boiled, sautéed, roasted, or grilled.
Cooked kohlrabi can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Depending on how it was prepared, it may last for up to a few days.
Kohlrabi should be stored in a sealed bag or container in the fridge. The stems and leaves can be removed, cut into pieces, and added to recipes. To prep the bulb, peel it with a knife to remove the tough skin, then slice it into the desired shape and size.
Raw kohlrabi has many uses. You can simply chop it into pieces and enjoy it as a crunchy snack with hummus.
You can likewise add chopped or grated kohlrabi to salads, slaws, and even fritters. Matchstick kohlrabi pieces are a great addition to this Crispy Apple Kohlrabi Salad from Cookie and Kate.
One of the best (and easiest!) ways to cook kohlrabi is to roast it. Follow this recipe for Roasted Kohlrabi from Life’s Little Sweets for inspiration.
Kohlrabi can also be sliced into medallions and roasted, like in this Roasted Kohlrabi “Steak” with Mushroom Sauce from It’s a Veg World After All — Healthline contributor Lizzie Streit’s own blog!
And remember, you can spiralize kohlrabi, too! Some stores even sell packaged kohlrabi “noodles.” Use them in addition to or in place of spaghetti, or try this recipe for Sage Brown Butter Kohlrabi Noodles.
Meanwhile, kohlrabi leaves can be added to a salad, sautéed in a stir fry, or used in soups.
Finally, the bulb can replace crunchy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, radishes, and potatoes, while the leaves can be used in place of kale, spinach, or other greens.
Kohlrabi is a delicious and easy addition to many recipes. Both its bulb and leaves can be eaten raw or cooked and serve as easy swaps in many recipes.
Kohlrabi is packed with nutrients that are linked to various health benefits.
It’s a good source of fiber, which is important for a healthy gut and proper digestion.
Plus, its many nutrients and plant compounds support your immune system and may lower your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and inflammation.
If you want to experiment with new vegetables, kohlrabi is an easy, versatile ingredient to add to your recipes.
Just one thing
Try this today: Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up kohlrabi. If you’re new to this veggie, try it raw with a flavorful dip like hummus or guacamole. Remove the skin before cutting it up into smaller pieces to dip.