Are Kohlrabi Leaves Edible?
Let me confirm with you the reader that, yes, kohlrabi plants do indeed contain edible leaves. In addition, they taste wonderful! Kohlrabi greens can make an incredible side dish which we will go on to discover later in the post with some handy recipes. Skip the vegetable peeler and opt for the greens today.
If you like what you read, why not try growing your own? There’s a small section at the bottom of the post that goes into the basics you may need for growing your own plants. This is guaranteed to get you the freshest flavor from the vegetable.
Some Background Info – What is Kohlrabi?
Some of you may look at kohlrabi bulbs and think that they are a root vegetable that just forgot to grow underground. This is not the case. It is actually a member of the cabbage family making it one of the many cruciferous vegetables. These include cabbages, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
Most people know how to cook with the bulb. It can be eaten raw or cooked, has a thick skin, and many individuals choose to remove the outer layer. However, we are focusing on the greens today that are too often overlooked. The whole plant can be found in the farmers market or grocery store during the cool season growing month.
Fun fact – Kohlrabi also goes by the name German Turnip from the breakdown of the word in German: Kohl (“cabbage”) plus Rübe (“turnip”).
The vegetable is mainly broken down into these color groups: green, white, blue and purple kohlrabi. They also come in a variety of flavors, shapes, storage length times, and growth rates (so you can stagger your crops).
Two great heirloom varieties to consider for a small garden while retaining a good flavor are the Purple Vienna and White Vienna. They are small in size and delicate in taste.
Parts of The Plant Used
- Tender greens – You can remove the kohlrabi stem if you find it tough
- Smaller bulbs – Older bulbs tend to be fibrous
Flavors/Textures of Bulb and Leaves
- Kohlrabi taste: The bulb’s flavor reminds you of a cabbage or the stems of broccoli, but it may be slightly sweeter. There are hints of turnip, but it is more delicate than that root crop. It has a great crunch when raw.
- Kohlrabi leafy greens – Peppery flavor similar to a radish.
Take those kohlrabi leaves out of the crisper drawer and let’s get cooking. The best way to ensure you have outstanding flavor is to use the freshest kohlrabi available. Some of these recipes will use the leaves in a similar way you use collard greens or kale which is a great example of the versatility of the greens. You can build off of that idea as you explore dishes outside of this post.
A quiche that fills you with energy and puts those greens to work. Great for that weekend brunch with your friends!
2. Stir fry
An easy weeknight meal that you can throw together. I love the rich colors in this dish that make it look so appetizing!
The author of this recipe is right when mentioning the fact that a frittata really is a way to throw all your leftovers together. Used the bulb and are left with the greens? All you have to do is stir them into this frittata for an egg masterpiece.
Kohlrabi Greens and Blue Cheese Frittata
The peppery taste of the greens pairs so nicely with sweet potatoes and carrots. The soup’s flavor is rounded out with a bit of lemon juice which is a bit of a surprise…in a good way. Cozy up on the couch in the cold of winter and it will warm you right up.
5. Asian Kohlrabi Leaves
Low on time? Make this quick side dish to get your veggies in while not selling your meal short on flavor.
Grab a sharp knife and start chopping! Salad is a wonderful way to begin your adventure eating kohlrabi leaves. The possibilities are endless in the variations available. Create this basic recipe and add tomatoes, carrots, olives…whatever suits your fancy to jazz it up.
7. Kohlrabi Leaf Chips
The perfect snack that gives a satisfying crunch. All you need is a little olive oil, salt, and your greens, and you are ready to bake.
Cruciferous vegetables tend to be chock full of vitamins and minerals. Kohlrabi leaves are an incredible way to boost your nutrition. [ 1, 2 ]
- Has the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- May boost your immune system
- Good source of fiber
Did all the delicious recipes make you think that you absolutely need to start growing kohlrabi at your home? Totally understand that. Here are some basics you need to know to get started.
Season For Planting
The best time to grow kohlrabi is in cool weather. Its growing season begins in late winter/ early spring. Depending on your Ag zone, you may have two chances to grow kohlrabi! I know…you can hardly contain your excitement. You can sow seed for the second planting in late summer or early fall for a winter harvest.
As a member of the brassica family, it has an inclination to attract flea beetles. Row covers may be your best bet to mitigate damage from these pests and others (like little bunny rabbits for instance).
Don’t worry if you don’t have a raised bed. Kohlrabi is well suited for containers as long as the containers are big enough. A two gallon bucket, 10 inches deep should do the trick for at least one plant. Remember to fertilize the crop and give it adequate light. Also, consider buying heirloom varieties suited to your region such as the ones mentioned in the beginning of the post. Heirlooms adapted to your particular region can more easily withstand environmental pressures.
I promise, once you taste fresh kohlrabi, you won’t want to buy the stuff from the grocery store again.
In summary, we have fully answered the question “are kohlrabi leaves edible?”. I hope these recipes inspire you to utilize this very tasty leaf in many of your future recipes. Let your taste buds guide you on a grand adventure exploring all the wonderful uses for kohlrabi greens.
Leave a comment if you liked the post and share any recipes you are inspired to create!
P.S. If you want to start your own vegetable garden, take a look at our post on how to start your own today! Think of all the kohlrabi you could grow…
[1 ] https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168424/nutrients
 Lane, D. J., & Richardson, D. R. (2014). The active role of vitamin C in mammalian iron metabolism: much more than just enhanced iron absorption!. Free radical biology & medicine, 75, 69–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2014.07.007