Kohlrabi. It’s one of those “weird” vegetables. It’s ugly. Well, maybe I needn’t go so far as to call it ugly, but in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Johnny Bowden describes kohlrabi as a cross between an octopus and a space capsule. I think that about sums it up, and I’m guessing its likeness to an alien creature is high on the list of why kohlrabi doesn’t fly off the shelves at the supermarket.
It should. Kohlrabi might be weird, but it’s still delicious and highly nutritious. A member of the brassica family, kohlrabi is kin to nutritional powerhouses like cabbage and cauliflower. It’s high in vitamins and minerals and full of dietary fiber and phytochemicals. If you’ve never tried it, give it a go! The flesh can be eaten raw or cooked, and its taste and texture is similar to a broccoli stem. Be sure to thoroughly peel the outer skin and fibrous inner layer until you reach the crisp flesh inside, otherwise you might not go back for seconds.
Usually, I treat my kohlrabi very simply. I like it raw, cut in matchsticks for a slaw. However, my favorite preparation is roasted. Recently, I was searching for new ways of preparing this strange vegetable when I happened across the notion of stuffing it. Why I never thought of this before is beyond me. The braised flesh gets tender yet still retains some substance, and it soaks up all the rich flavors of the filling, making it a delicious and heartwarming one-pot meal for a cool autumn night. Pair it with a crisp salad for a main course, or present it as a side dish alongside a more hearty entrée.
German Stuffed Kohlrabi with Braised Kale
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
4 kohlrabies, bulbs peeled, stems discarded, leaves set aside
1 bunch kale
⅓ cup butter, divided
½ onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ lb. bulk sausage or ground pork
¼ cup cooked rice
1 tablespoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon marjoram
⅛ teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and pepper
2 cups chicken broth
- Trim the base of the kohlrabi so the bulb will stay flat. Scoop out pulp from the opposite end with a small spoon, leaving about ¼-inch shell. Chop the removed flesh and place in a large bowl. Roughly chop kohlrabi leaves and kale. Set aside.
- Melt ¼ cup of the butter in a sauté pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden, about two minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the chopped kohlrabi. Add sausage, rice, herbs, tomato paste, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide mixture among kohlrabi shells. Spread chopped kale and kohlrabi leaves in the base of a stovetop-safe baking dish or large pot. Dot with remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Nestle stuffed kohlrabi shells in the greens, then pour in the chicken stock.
- Cover the dish first with parchment paper, then foil (if using a pot, cover with lid). Bring to a boil on the stovetop. Simmer, partially covered, until you can pierce the kohlrabi easily with a fork, about 35–45 minutes.
- Serve stuffed kohlrabi with greens and braising liquid.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products
Photo by Briana Nervig