Food & dining

Short Order

Looks like an alien, but tastes dreamy

Bethany Graber

Kohlrabi is likely one of the most deliciously nutritious vegetables you’ve never tasted. Despite looking like a cross between an alien and an octopus, with its bulbous shape and tentacle-esque stems protruding at all angles, this member of the cabbage family is actually quite approachable. The entire plant is edible, including its sparse leaves, which can be treated like mustard greens or chard. It can be eaten raw or cooked, once the waxy skin (that comes in shades of white, pale green, or violet) has been peeled away to reveal the firm, cream-colored interior. To enjoy its crisp texture and delicate flavor, shave the kohlrabi bulb very thinly and add to salads or slaws. Cooking gives it a more toothsome consistency and brings out its subtle sweetness. Saute chunks and deglaze the skillet with lots of lemon, pepper, and a little heavy cream. Or cut it into wedges and coat them with seasoning (try Old Bay) and olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast in a hot oven until crisp on the outside and tender inside. So now that you know what that extra-terrestrial looking vegetable is, give it a try and you’ll see that it is out of this world.