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I find kohlrabi to be one of the most fascinating veggies.
Admittedly, this is in part because many people don’t know about it, and I find pride in living outside of the mainstream. But mostly, this is because it’s such an odd-looking and delicious vegetable.
Here in the United States, the alien-looking bulbs are available at some grocery chains, but thye tend to be more widely available at farmers markets or specialty stores. I buy mine from a farmer friend or from my favorite neighborhood Asian grocer.
Nina wrote about the history of this cousin to broccoli and cabbage, and her post inspired me to go out and buy a bag full of these fun friends.
As I made my way through the checkout, I saw the employees at the register and the bagging station exchange a smile – I’m not sure anyone had ever come in just to buy fifteen kohlrabi before.
For a fun lunch treat, I like to cut, bread, and fry them into crispy kohlrabi fries. It’s a filling vegetarian meal, made even better with this cilantro and a dipping sauce made with a yogurt base. They’re also exceptionally tasty with ketchup, making this a kid-approved veg dish to boot.
If you enjoy this recipe and are officially fascinated by this bulbous produce, give my vegan creamy kohlrabi soup recipe a try.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Prep & Boil
Start by cleaning and peeling your kohlrabi bulbs. Oftentimes the vegetable will come with its stalks and leaves still attached. These need to be cut off – but there’s no need to throw them away! These will make a tasty side salad. Be sure to save them for later.
My local grocer sells the bulbs with the stalks already removed, so I only need to peel them. For this step, use a paring knife or a good vegetable peeler to slice the skin from the bulb. Be sure to take off all of the tough skin – otherwise you will be fighting to bite through it, even after it’s boiled.
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil and cook the peeled vegetables until they are tender enough for a fork to pierce through to the center with minimal resistance. You don’t want them to become soft and mushy, just al dente.
Step Two – Blend
While the veggies are boiling, quickly throw together your dipping sauce. Blend the yogurt, cilantro, mustard, and red pepper flakes together in a blender or food processor, or with an immersion blender.
I love using the sweet and smoky Marash pepper for seasoning in this dip. This is more widely known as Aleppo pepper, grown in the Syrian city with the same name.
True Aleppo pepper is difficult to come by these days. But the tasty Marash, grown in Turkey, is often sold under the same name. Look for it at any specialty grocer or spice shop – it’ll make a nice addition to your spice rack.
Season your dip to taste with salt. Since the mustard is already salty, I prefer to skip it. Scoop into small ramekins for dipping and set aside until you’re ready to serve, on the counter or in the fridge.
Step Three – Cut
Once your kohlrabi has cooled enough to handle, slice it into strips about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in thickness.
If you are facing a lot of resistance with the knife around the edges, you might not have peeled the bulb sufficiently. Don’t fret! Just look to see if there are any fibrous pieces giving you trouble, and peel them off now.
Step Four – Dredge
Scoop your flour into a small bowl and season it with a dash of salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk your egg. Place your panko breadcrumbs in a third bowl or shallow dish.
Heat the oil up in a skillet over medium-high heat for frying.
To dredge your strips, dip them first in flour until lightly coated, transfer to the egg wash, then finish with panko breadcrumbs.
Place gently in the hot oil and fry in a skillet until crispy and brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
Step Five – Enjoy!
Once browned, let your fries cool on a paper towel. This will drain off any extra oil and help them to stay crispy.
Serve with the cilantro dipping sauce. You can also dip them in ketchup for a more kid-friendly treat.
Who said vegetarian dining can’t be fun? Give these yummy treats a try today!
And if you need more fun recipes with this crunchy cruciferous as the main ingredients, try my recipe for spicy spiralized kohlrabi slaw.
Have you ever seen this crazy-looking veggie at the market? Tell us about your favorite way to serve kohlrabi in the comments.
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.