This easy oven roasted kohlrabi recipe transforms the unique vegetable with a lemon vinaigrette, goat cheese and fresh tarragon. Crunchy toasted sunflower seeds bring texture to round out this kohlrabi side dish.
Kohlrabi is one of those weird looking vegetables that you’ve probably not tried before.
Maybe it’s shown up at the farmer’s market or a home delivery produce box type of thing but unless you’re frequently shopping at Whole Foods or the like, it’s not a usual grocery store find.
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on it, I want to share this incredibly simple roasted kohlrabi recipe with you so you’re not intimidated to dive into the world of this odd looking green spherical vegetable!
WHAT IS KOHLRABI?
Kohlrabi is sometimes referred to as a German turnip. And for good reason, it sorta looks like one!
If you want a true turnip recipe, try these roasted turnips with chive butter sauce. So incredibly simple yet delicious!
WHAT DOES KOHLRABI TASTE LIKE?
Taste wise, however, kohlrabi is milder. I’d say it’s even borderline sweet (for a vegetable). Raw kohlrabi’s texture is crisp and juicy, similar to an apple.
If I had to compare its taste to another vegetable, I’d say it’s somewhere between a broccoli stem and a really mild cabbage.
It’s in the brassica family (the same one that’s home to broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.) so that flavor profile shouldn’t surprise you.
Kohlrabi greens (which are also edible), are slightly bitter in nature similar to collards or beet greens when cooked.
RAW OR COOKED?
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.
Raw kohlrabi tastes like jicama crossed with cabbage whereas cooked kohlrabi tastes milder like the combination of a stem of broccoli and a roasted turnip.
I like snacking on it raw with some hummus while prepping the rest of it to be cooked.
You’ll typically see kohlrabi being sold with the stems/greens still attached.
Just imagine the picture above with long thin stems coming off those nubs.
The greens are also edible and are delicious sautéed with some olive oil and garlic.
A preparation similar to my simple sautéed Swiss chard would be perfect!
For roasting the kohlrabi, however, it’s best to cut the stems off so you’re left with a (mostly) round bulb that can be peeled and sliced.
GREEN VS. PURPLE KOHLRABI
You may find purple kohlrabi as well and that’s fun to pick up too.
It’s exactly the same, just purple on the outside.
THE BEST WAY TO EAT KOHLRABI
While you can snack on it raw, enjoy it in salads, puree it into a creamy soup (try it in my creamy root vegetable soup!) or, add it to a hearty stew, my favorite way to enjoy kohlrabi is to simply roast it.
Just like so many other vegetables (think beets, carrots, radishes, etc.) when kohlrabi is roasted, its flavor sweetens and mellows.
The result is a perfectly caramelized exterior and a tender cooked, mild tasting hearty vegetable.
It can be great in a roasted root vegetable medley or, like I’ve done with this roasted kohlrabi recipe, drizzled with a simple lemon vinaigrette and topped with fresh herbs and goat cheese.
HOW TO CUT KOHLRABI
Unlike a lot of other vegetables that just get roughly chopped before roasting or sliced into wedges like roasted buttercup squash, I find the best way to cut kohlrabi for roasting is into rounds.
The trick is getting the right thickness to the kohlrabi rounds.
You want them thin enough to cook through to a nice tender bite but not too thin that they’ll burn in the oven.
I find the sweet spot to be about 1/4″ thick.
No need for a fancy mandoline, just eyeball the thickness with a sharp knife.
DO YOU PEEL KOHLRABI?
While you certainly can peel kohlrabi, when cooking it there’s actually no need to.
When roasting, the peel softens enough to eat. Simply cut off any “nubs” sticking out of the kohlrabi bulb but feel free to leave the outer skin on.
If eating kohlrabi raw, you’ll want to peel it as the outer skin can be tougher to both chew and digest.
HOW TO MAKE ROASTED KOHLRABI
There are two steps to this kohlrabi side dish:
- Pan searing
- Oven roasting
Starting with the pan sear helps bring that gorgeous golden color to the outside of each kohlrabi slice.
The oven then roasts the kohlrabi to the perfect tender bite while further caramelizing the edges.
To pan sear, simply add half the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Once hot, add the kohlrabi slices (working in batches so they don’t overlap) and brown on each side.
Transfer the kohlrabi rounds to a prepared baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and roast for 10-12 minutes until tender and golden around the outside.
You can see a visual of the process in my how to make roasted kohlrabi web story.
HOW TO SERVE ROASTED KOHLRABI
While you can absolutely enjoy the roasted kohlrabi as is straight out of the oven, this easy lemon shallot vinaigrette, crumbled goat cheese, fresh tarragon and toasted sunflower seeds take things next level.
To prepare the vinaigrette:
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, minced shallots, Kosher salt and black pepper until combined.
Drizzle it over the roasted kohlrabi once out of the oven.
Garnish the roasted and dressed kohlrabi:
Dot the crumbled goat cheese and fresh tarragon leaves on top and finish with some toasted sunflower seeds.
Congratulations, you’ve transformed a plain-Jane turnip looking vegetable into a stunning side dish that will delight!
Roasted kohlrabi makes an excellent side dish to almost any protein.
From something like balsamic pomegranate flank steak to a simple skillet pork chop, skillet lamb chops or even a nicely prepared white fish dish or baked sockeye salmon recipe, this roasted kohlrabi recipe pairs perfectly.
I also love the idea of serving this recipe over a bed of dressed greens for a light vegetarian meal.
No matter how it’s served, the lovely balance of the mildly sweet roasted kohlrabi with the tangy and bright lemon shallot dressing, the creamy goat cheese, crunchy sunflower seeds and fresh tarragon is just pure bliss to your tastebuds and won’t disappoint!
MORE SIDE DISHES LIKE THIS ROASTED KOHLRABI TO ENJOY:
Roasted Kohlrabi with Goat Cheese & Tarragon
- 2-3 large kohlrabi, nubs sliced off and cut into rounds
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon minced shallots
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
- 1-2 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves removed and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds, *see note
- Preheat oven to 400°F and either lightly grease or line with parchment paper.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove top with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Once hot, add the sliced kohlrabi rounds to the skillet (you may have to work in batches to fit them all) and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and repeat on the other side. This will take about 4-5 minutes per side.
- Transfer the browned kohlrabi to the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- While kohlrabi roasts, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, minced shallots, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Place the roasted kohlrabi on a serving dish or platter and pour the vinaigrette over top.
- Finish with the crumbled goat cheese, fresh tarragon and toasted sunflower seeds before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.