Kohlrabi Dice

There are very few vegetables that I find intimating, but I remember the first time I met kohlrabi. Kohlrabi is the ultimate in surprise.

I imagine the process of harvesting the kohlrabi: seeing the leafy stalks above ground, giving the stalks a pull and discovering this strange space-like bulb.

So, what is kohlrabi? It’s a member of the cabbage family, but it doesn’t act (or taste!) like a cabbage. You can find white kohlrabi and purple kohlrabi and green kohlrabi.

Will you look at that shape? It has three basic elements: the Sputnik-like bulb, the long linear stalks and the rounded green leafy sheets toward the top.

Today we’re focusing on the bulb: our final product will have a completely different size and shape. We can’t eat this bulb at its current size, so we’ll break it down into smaller pieces. The outer skin is too tough to eat straight, so we’ll need to discover what’s beneath it. Let’s go from the round-bulb-like Sputnik shape to a squared-up-dice!

I started with a handful of small kohlrabi bulbs. I removed the greens, leaving some “stalk handles.”

I call these “stalk handles” because you can literally pop the stalks off by pulling them like a handle away from the bulb.

Now we’re stalk / handle free.

We’re left with this unruly bulb. Attack this with a knife and it will just roll all over the cutting board. So, I started by creating a flat edge. This keeps the kohlrabi from running away.

Now we’re flat. No rolling here.

Same song, second verse. I cut the side off, creating another flat edge. There are two benefits from this process: you basically remove the tough skin, and you convert the round shape into a squared, cube shape.

Next, I spun the kohlrabi a quarter-turn and cut the edging off.

Two more times…

Now for the top.

Okay, we’re pretty close to a cube.

When I think about dicing, I almost immediately think of grid. I see spreadsheets pop into my mind: columns, rows and cells. I think of x axis and y axis and z axis. I start by cutting some columns into this cube. I think I’ll make four columns (three cuts).

I turn the whole operation a quarter turn and repeat.

Ha! All fall down. Life goes on.

I will organize this chaos and continue as planned.

I attacked my little piles and applied the column treatment to each stack.

Pile one. Check.

Bulb one. No longer a bulb. Check.

I finished dicing up the remaining bulbs. You’ll notice the white color of the interior. The texture is tight; it’s like a more dense potato or a radish. The taste is closer to a turnip.

So, how do we cook this thing?

I pulled out my trusty cast-iron skillet, turned the heat to medium and started melting butter (about a tablespoon), but if butter isn’t on your list, olive oil works too. The butter really sings, though. If you’re on the fence about it, I highly recommend some solid grass-fed butter.


I love the smell of melting butter.

Next, the kohlrabi cubes met the melted butter.

Enter a pinch of salt and fresh course ground pepper.

For the pieces to cook in sync, I pushed them into a single layer.

Now after about 4 minutes, the kohlrabi started to brown up nicely.

I flipped the pieces and turned up the heat to medium-high.

It’s amazing how much diced kohlrabi resembles diced potatoes…

A little more salt and pepper.

And that’s it. See, kohlrabi isn’t that intimidating.

Kohlrabi Dice shines as a great addition to brunch, or it makes a good side at lunch or dinner. If you’re tired of potatoes, kohlrabi is super to easy to make, plus it’s a welcome variation, since it carries a natural spice, a kick and a knack.


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  • http://thecookinglife.wordpress.com Michelle @ The Cooking Life

    Hi Katrina, I don’t think you’ll remember me but I met you during freshman year at ACU – you and your husband Mark. Anyways, I’m friends with him on FB and clicked on your blog link – I’m so glad I did! Love the pictures and explanations that you have. Will def. be coming back to read your blog often!

  • http://twitter.com/artandtable Art & Table

    Hi Michelle – I do remember you! Just clicked through to your site.  Very nice! I’m inspired by the street-style mid-east chicken– it looks fantastic!