Sautéing kohlrabi greens is a great way to use up the entire kohlrabi vegetable. Cooked with bacon, scallions, garlic and finished with a touch of sweet balsamic vinegar, the result is a delicious leafy green side dish that comes together quickly.
Rounding out the ways to enjoy eating kohlrabi since we’ve already talked about roasted kohlrabi and kohlrabi noodles as the base of a crunchy Thai inspired salad is this simple recipe for sautéing kohlrabi greens.
If you’re a fan of leafy greens, particularly the ones that err on the bitter side like dandelion greens, I think you’re going to love the chance to utilize the entire vegetable here.
Kohlrabi (purple or green, variety doesn’t matter as they taste the same) with the greens still attached are usually an easy find at places like Whole Foods or your local farmer’s market.
If the greens are bright in color and fresh looking, they’re perfect for enjoying in this easy sauté recipe.
With crispy bacon, scallions, garlic and some balsamic vinegar for a touch of sweetness, the slightly bitter greens cook down in a skillet until tender.
They make a wonderful side dish to an array of meals with the satisfaction that none of your vegetable purchase went to waste!
CAN YOU EAT KOHLRABI GREENS?
A question worth asking since kohlrabi greens aren’t something you ever see sold separate from the bulbous kohlrabi itself.
But the answer is yes despite the limited recipes that exist for enjoying these lovely slightly bitter and nutritious greens.
The leaves are freshest when they’re still attached to the kohlrabi bulb and look bright green and full of life. They look very similar to collard greens just not as broad of a leaf.
If wilted and yellowing, it’s best to discard them unfortunately.
The smaller the kohlrabi, usually the more tender the greens.
When eating the kohlrabi greens, you’ll want to cut the stems off at the bulb and then cut off the bottom portion of the stem without leaves.
Everything else is fair game to enjoy!
WHAT DO KOHLRABI GREENS TASTE LIKE?
On a spectrum of leafy greens, I’d say these fall smack in the middle.
Kohlrabi greens don’t taste as bitter as dandelion but nor are they nearly as mild and tender as Swiss chard.
I’d liken them much more to beet or collard greens when preparing in a similar manner to this.
As mentioned above, the smaller the kohlrabi, the more tender the greens.
So, if you’re weary about trying them, look for a smaller plant with the leaves attached as it will be a more mild tasting experience.
THE BEST WAY TO USE KOHLRABI GREENS
That’s not to say tender baby greens couldn’t be eaten raw, they can.
But most of the time, you’ll find larger more mature leaves like those pictured here which are much more enjoyable after cooking until tender.
The best ways to cook these greens is either sautéing in a skillet until tender like this recipe or steaming.
Although, this kohlrabi soup which adds the leaves at the end of the recipe until they’re wilted is a unique approach too.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED
- Kohlrabi greens – cut off from about 3 large kohlrabi bulbs. Or, the equivalent from smaller ones.
- Bacon – organic or pastured uncured bacon is chopped and use as the main flavoring to this dish.
- Scallions – yellow or red onion can be substituted if desired.
- Garlic – mince 2 large cloves or about 1 tablespoon of prepared minced garlic because no leafy green sauté is complete without it!
- Broth – or water to help cook down the greens once in the pan.
- Balsamic vinegar – a splash right at the end lends the perfect balance of sweetness to the bitter greens, salty bacon and garlicky flavors.
HOW TO COOK KOHLRABI GREENS
Place a skillet (I like to use cast iron for this recipe) over medium-high heat.
Once hot, add the chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate leaving the residual bacon fat in the skillet. Set the plate aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the scallion and garlic to the skillet and sauté for just a minute until fragrant.
Place the washed, dried and chopped kohlrabi leaves in the pan, add the broth (or water) and cover with a lid. Cook until the leaves have significantly wilted down, about 6-8 minutes.
Remove the lid, season with salt and pepper to taste, add the balsamic vinegar, toss to combine and turn off the heat.
Transfer the bacon on the plate back into the skillet, give a final stir and serve warm.
Hopefully the next time you snag some kohlrabi from the store or market you’ll now put the greens to good use!
There are other ways to enjoy them as well like cooking into a pasta (swap them out for kale in this red lentil pasta), using in a stock, adding to a curry dish or even in a simple stir fry instead of greens like bok choy.
Of course, I’ll continue to use and love the more “traditional” part of the kohlrabi but, as someone that tries to eat leafy greens (and usually simply sautéed greens like this for the general ease of preparation) at least once a day, I love having another vegetable in my arsenal to now do so with!
MORE LEAFY GREEN RECIPES TO ENJOY:
Kohlrabi Greens with Bacon
- Kohlrabi greens from 3 large kohlrabi bulbs woody ends chopped off, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 2 slices organic or pastured uncured bacon chopped
- 1 large scallion roughly chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons broth or water
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium then add the scallions and garlic to the skillet with the residual bacon fat and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add kohlrabi greens and broth to the skillet. Cover with a lid and cook until greens are wilted and tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the lid, season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir to combine then immediately turn off the heat. Add the crispy bacon back to the skillet, toss together and serve.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.