Kohlrabi Nutrition Facts

Calories, carbs, and health benefits

Kohlrabi

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.As you walk through the farmers’ market you might be curious what this gnarly bulb with protruding flappy leaves is all about. Try not to be intimidated by its odd appearance, it’s just kohlrabi! 

This member of the turnip family has two edible portions, the round and bumpy bulb with small shoots pointing upwards to full bright green leaves (and yes, the leaves are edible).

The bulbs may be light green or deep purple depending on the variety. The purple varieties are hardier and will often be harvested in the late summer to mid-fall.

Kohlrabi is a very quick-growing plant, making it an excellent crop for local famers. From seed to harvest can take as little as two months, allowing for multiple rounds of growing within a harvest season.

Whichever variety you choose, once you trim away the tougher outer layer of the bulb, the inner flesh is more tender and pale green in color. The flavor of kohlrabi is pleasant but hard to explain, when eaten raw it is reminiscent of broccoli only milder and with a peppery edge. Cooking kohlrabi mellows out the flavor, making it more tender and much sweeter.

While initially deciding what to do with fresh kohlrabi may be a head scratcher, once you take this veggie for a test drive you will quickly be hooked.

Kohlrabi Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup (135 g)
Per Serving    % Daily Value*
Calories 37 
Calories from Fat 0 
Total Fat 1.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0 g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 27mg1%
Potassium 473mg13%
Carbohydrates 8g2%
Dietary Fiber 4.9g19%
Sugars 3.5g 
Protein 2.3g                     4% 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 139%
Calcium 3% · Iron 2%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Carbs

Kohlrabi is rich in the healthy kinds of carbs most folks should get more of. One cup of raw kohlrabi contains 8 grams of carbohydrate, 3.5 grams of natural sugars and an impressive 5 grams of hunger-fighting and digestion regulating fiber. Five grams may not seem like a lot of fiber but that shakes out to 20 percent of the daily recommended amount.

Since one cup is a fairly modest portion, using larger amounts in recipes for salads, soups, casseroles, and side dishes means that an increase in kohlrabi can certainly help you meet even the loftiest fiber goals.

Fats

Like many vegetables, kohlrabi is extremely low in fat. This makes it a fresh addition to salads and slaws. If you prefer your kohlrabi cooked, boil large pieces in liquid or peel, dice, and roast with some salt and olive oil to prevent it from drying out.

Protein

Kohlrabi provides about 2 grams of protein in a 1-cup (raw) serving. It contains a wide variety of amino acids (a.k.a. the building blocks of protein). Foods high in protein do help slow digestion, leading to feeling fuller longer. Even though kohlrabi is low in the protein department, its high fiber content (referenced above) will provide other necessary components to help keep hunger at bay.

Micronutrients

Despite its low calorie count, kohlrabi packs in plenty of important vitamins and minerals. The same one cup of raw kohlrabi contains just shy of 140 percent of the vitamin C you need for the day. Vitamin C also acts as an inflammation-fighting and cell-protecting antioxidant. Kohlrabi is also a good source of vitamin B6, a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the metabolism of carbs, fats, and especially protein.

Finally, your heart and muscles can reap the benefits of 14 percent of your daily potassium needs—that’s more than a banana and three times the amount of potassium found in an orange.   

Health Benefits

This low calorie veggie has plenty of healthy attributes. In addition to being downright delicious, eating more kohlrabi can help boost your intake of several key nutrients. All that fiber may also help curb cravings and contribute to more successful weight loss.

The combination of micronutrients in this veggie also promote health muscle health and help you meet your quota for antioxidants. Kohlrabi is also a member of the cruciferous vegetable family—Brassica oleracea along with broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and more.

According to the National Cancer Institute, compounds within these types of vegetables may help prevent certain types of cancer by inactivating carcinogens and protecting cells from DNA damage.

Common Questions

Many people will see kohlrabi at the farmers' market or find some with their weekly CSA delivery. The most mind boggling and intimidating query about kohlrabi is generally—what the heck do I do with it!? Once you get to know this veggie you will see there is little to fear, since it can be enjoyed raw or cooked it really comes down to personal preference more than a right or wrong way to prepare. 

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Fresh kohlrabi leaves can simply be snipped off with kitchen shears. After a good wash, trim away any hard pieces of stalk. Chop or tear the leaves and enjoy raw in a salad if they are not tough.

To cook, give them a quick warming by steaming or sauteeing with olive oil and garlic. The greens are a wonderful addition to soups, omelets, and stir-fries. For tackling the bulb portion of the kohlrabi, start by trimming the tough outer layer away with a sharp vegetable peeler. Once peeled you can slice, peel, chop, or grate as desired.

Raw kohlrabi is an excellent addition to slaws and salads when grated or thinly sliced. To grate, use a box grater or a food processor with a shredding blade. You can also spiralize for short and delicate curls that can be enjoyed raw or gently cooked

Cooking kohlrabi is super simple. Just peel, chop, and roast in a hot oven (400 to 425 degrees F) until tender and golden brown. Roast along with other quick cooking vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, and onions. You can also take roasted kohlrabi a step further by pureeing it into soup along with chicken or vegetable broth, cooked potato, and fresh herbs; top with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, if desired.

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