I recently received a vegetable, looking like a big green beet with a thick skin. As I don't know what it is, I can't look for appropriate recipes on the internet. The Google reverse image search couldn't help either.

Here is the thing:

enter image description here

  • How can this common vegetable have such a weird name in English?
    – IS4
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 17:40
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    The unusual thing is that it combines a German and a Latin root. "Kohl" is German for cabbage, also found in "cole slaw". "Rabi" is from Latin "rapa", meaning turnip (also found in "broccoli raab" and "rapeseed oil" aka canola). It's more closely related to the cabbage, but we eat the root, which reminded somebody of the turnip. The two languages exchange (word) roots all the time, especially in scientific circles. Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 18:17
  • @IllidanS4 That's a matter of opinion. I don't consider it a weird name at all, but then again, I understand that English has origins in many languages and loanwords from many more. It's also hardly a "common" vegetable in most English-speaking countries.
    – user428517
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 22:25
  • Cook it and have it with a lemon and herbs bechamel, and some spuds :) Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 8:40
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    @JoshuaEngel Since the name is 1:1 the same in Germany, I wouldn't be that quick to assume that the word came into English from the two roots - it could first have been formed in Germany (where it doesn't sound strange, despite half of it having a Latin root) and then have become a loanword in English.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


As was mentioned, this is a kohlrabi. I felt more explanation should be given based on the fascinating nature of this plant.

Kohlrabi is one of the handful of cultivars of brassica oleracea. Others include:

cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, savoy, kohlrabi, and gai lan. Brassica Oleracea (Wikipedia)

Brassica oleracea has been cultivated in many different parts of the world to appear almost like entirely unique plants. However, each of the listed plants are, in fact, the same species with slightly varying traits. Kohlrabi, for example, has been bred to have lateral growth in the meristem while broccoli has been bred to have a large, flowering head.

Kohlrabi can be eaten either cooked or raw. It's often used in salads and slaws, and can be interchanged with collard greens or kale.

  • IMHO, the taste is very similar to cauliflower. So you could use it in recipes that require cauliflower. Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 10:39
  • I've described it in the past as "apple crossed with raw brocolli". It's delicious, and I'd recommend it eaten raw with salso, hoummous etc. as a form of Crudite.
    – Brondahl
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 12:17
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    @jeroen_de_schutter I must disagree. At least to me cauliflower is utterly unappetizing whereas kohlrabi (never knew the english name) is actually very good eaten raw. I would also strongly recommend eating raw as cooking it just spoils it imo.
    – DRF
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 15:03
  • Cauliflower with a creamy cheese sauce, Kohlrabi raw or cooked very well as a side dish - both great (and completely different). :)
    – AnoE
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 21:56
  • This also means that if you want some of kohlrabi and broccoli in a dish, you only have to buy the broccoli - broccoli stem is very close to kohlrabi when cooked (less mustard-y and fresh maybe). Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 8:38

Kohlrabi. Basically a form of turnip.

  • 12
    Being a little picky I know, but although a kohlrabi is often used like a turnip and is also known as a German Turnip, it is much closer related to cabbage family and grows above ground, not an enlarged root like a turnip. The taste is very similar to the core of a cabbage, a bit more tender and sweeter as long as not too old.
    – dlb
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 20:50
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    The first word of this answer is correct. The rest is wrong: kohlrabi is not a relative of the turnip, it does not grow like a turnip, it tastes very different than a turnip, and it's prepared quite differently than a turnip.
    – Marti
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 21:41
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    @dlb it is not related to cabbage, it IS cabbage. See my answer.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 22:36
  • 3
    I don't have the rep to simply downvote, but I did click the down-button in agreement with dlb, marti, and tbears comments. It's a very brief answer also, tbear's is more informative.
    – Carl
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 23:29
  • 4
    @Marti It's most certainly a relative of the turnip. Brassica oleracea (kohlrabi) is very closely related to Brassica rapa (turnip). Botanists do not always agree on the boundaries between Brassica species, which have of course been thoroughly confused by millennia of selective breeding and cross-breeding, and some may even classify them as the same species.
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 12:41

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