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Kohlrabi stem with leaves
SpeciesBrassica oleracea
Cultivar groupGongylodes Group
Cultivar group membersMany; see text.
Kohlrabi, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
6.2 g
Sugars2.6 g
Dietary fiber3.6 g
0.1 g
1.7 g
Vitamin A equiv.
2 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.05 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.02 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.4 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.165 mg
Vitamin B6
0.15 mg
Folate (B9)
16 μg
Vitamin B12
0 μg
Vitamin C
62 mg
Vitamin D
0 μg
Vitamin E
0.48 mg
Vitamin K
0.1 μg
24 mg
0.4 mg
19 mg
0.139 mg
46 mg
350 mg
0.7 μg
20 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water91.00 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

Kohlrabi (pronounced /klˈrɑːbi/; scientific name Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group), also called German turnip, is a biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage. It is another cultivar of the same species as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, Savoy cabbage, and gai lan.

It can be eaten raw or cooked. Edible preparations are made with both the stem and the leaves. Despite its common names, it is not the same species as turnip, although both are in the genus Brassica.


The name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter.[1]

Its Group name Gongylodes (or lowercase and italicized gongylodes or gongyloides as a variety name) means "roundish" in Greek,[2] from gongýlos (γογγύλος, ‘round’).

In the northern part of Vietnam, it is called su hào (from French chou-rave); in eastern parts of India (West Bengal) and Bangladesh, it is called 'ol kopi'.[3][4] It is also found in the Kashmir Valley in Northern India and is there known as 'monj-hakh',[5] 'monj' being the round part, and 'hakh' being the leafy part. It is called 'nol khol' in Northern India, 'navalkol' in Maharashtra, 'nūlkōl' (நூல்கோல்) in Tamil, 'nool kol' in Telugu, 'navilu kosu'[ನವಿಲು ಕೋಸು] in Karnataka[6] and in Sri Lanka as 'knol khol' (turnip cabbage).[7] It is also native in Cyprus, where it is known as 'kouloumpra' (κουλούμπρα).[8] It is eaten in the Czech Republic under name 'kedlubna', while in Slovakia it is known as 'kaleráb'. In Romania, it is the 'gulie' or 'cărălabă', which is similar to the Polish 'kalarepa' and to the Hungarian 'karalábé', all of these last three denominations being adaptations of the German word 'Kohlrabi'.


The first European written record is by the botanist Mattioli in 1554 who wrote that it had “come lately into Italy”. By the end of the 16th century, kohlrabi spread to North Europe and was being grown in Austria, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Tripoli and parts of the eastern Mediterranean.[9]


Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.[10]

A basket of kohlrabi

Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality.[11] The plant matures in 55–60 days after sowing and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity. The approximate weight is 150 g. It grows well in hydroponic systems, producing a large edible bulk without clogging the nutrient troughs.

Kohlrabi grown in a flower pot, England
Blooming plant in the 2nd year

There are several varieties commonly available, including 'White Vienna',[12] 'Purple Vienna', 'Grand Duke', 'Gigante' (also known as "Superschmelz"), 'Purple Danube', and 'White Danube'. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten. One commonly used variety grows without a swollen stem, having just leaves and a very thin stem, and is called Haakh. Haakh and Monj are popular Kashmiri dishes made using this vegetable. In the second year, the plant will bloom and develop seeds.

Preparation and use[edit]

Kohlrabi stems (the enlarged vegetal part) are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. These layers are generally peeled away prior to cooking or serving raw, with the result that the stems often provide a smaller amount of food than one might assume from their intact appearance.

The bulbous kohlrabi stem is frequently used raw in salad or slaws. It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal.

Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used similarly to collard greens and kale, but take longer to cook.

Kohlrabi is an important part of Kashmiri cuisine, where it is called Mŏnji. It is one of the most commonly cooked vegetables, along with collard greens (haakh). It is prepared with its leaves and served with a light soup and eaten with rice.

In Cyprus, it is popularly sprinkled with salt and lemon and served as an appetizer.

Some varieties are grown as feed for cattle.[13]


  1. ^ "Vegetable Dictionary - Kohlrabi". extension.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  2. ^ Stearn, William Thomas (1983). Botanical Latin. 275. David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-8548-7. gongylodes / gongyloides: roundish [also p. 323, Gongylodes (Knob-like): having an irregular roundish figure
  3. ^ Ghosh, Ushnish. "OL KOPI (Nool Kol, Ganth Gobi, Kadam, Kohlrabi) WITH GREEN and PANEER (PUNJABI & KASHMIRI)". 8 December 2010. ushnish.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  4. ^ "OL KOPI – KHOLRABI TORKARI". masalatize.com. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Ganth Gobi Kashmiri Style | Kashmiri Mundi | Kashmiri Kohlrabi Recipe". yummefy.com. Retrieved 2020-08-21.
  6. ^ "Kohlrabi recipes - knolkohl bhaji - Navalkol subji, navilkosu palya". vegetarian Cooking Recipes Tips.
  7. ^ John Whitchurch Bennett Ceylon and Its Capabilities (1843), p. 150, at Google Books
  8. ^ "Κουλούμπρα, Κούρβουλα". Cyprus Food Museum.
  9. ^ "Oxford Plats 400". University of Oxford.
  10. ^ "Kohlrabi Is Weird! And Here's What You Can Do With It — Ingredient Spotlight". The Kitchn. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  11. ^ "Growing Kohlrabi - Bonnie Plants". Bonnie Plants. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  12. ^ "Early White Vienna Kohlrabi". rareseeds.com. Archived from the original on 26 June 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  13. ^ Bailey, L. H., (1912, republished in 1975). Kohlrabi for stock-feeding. In Cyclopedia of American Agriculture: Vol. II--crops. Macmillan Publishing, New York. p. 389–390. ISBN 0-405-06762-3. Google Book Search. Retrieved on June 15, 2008.

What is Kohlrabi?[1]

External links[edit]

Media related to Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes at Wikimedia Commons