Not sure what to do with kohlrabi leaves? Make this beautifully orange Kohlrabi Soup with kohlrabi greens, sweet potato, and carrots! It’s a gluten free vegan soup, perfect for when you want a meatless meal.
Have you heard of kohlrabi?
I bet it’s a vegetable most of you have never heard of, let alone eaten.
It translates into “cabbage turnip,” which is the best way to describe this vegetable. Eating it raw reminds me of a radish without such a strong bite.
Not only are the bulbs edible, so are the leaves. That’s why my Kohlrabi Soup with Kohlrabi Greens incorporates both. No food waste!
It’s a bright orange vegetable soup with kohlrabi and sweet potato. After some changes I made it a gluten free vegan soup, but you would never know after taking a bite.
I first learned about kohlrabi when I was reading my always-reliable vegetable cookbook – Greene on Greens.
One of the chapters is dedicated to kohlrabi, which I skipped because I’ve never heard of it. Then one day I was shopping at my local farm when I spotted some for sale.
I have a habit of buying new things and figuring out what to do with them later. Remembering the chapter I skipped, I grabbed a bunch and made them for dinner.
This was back in 2011. Turns out I was developing recipes way before I realized it because I made a bunch of changes to the original kohlrabi soup recipe.
It called for boned-in chicken to be cooked in the broth, but I didn’t have time. Plus I had a sweet potato ready to go rotten, so I added that instead.
I also omitted the bacon because I was afraid it would overpower the kohlrabi. Turns out I accidentally made this soup vegan.
My kohlrabi soup gets its beautiful orange color from pureeing carrots. Sure, it’s one extra step, but the carrot base builds an extra layer of flavor.
What is kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable, which is fancy botanist speak for being in the cabbage family. If you enjoy cabbage, broccoli, and even roasted Brussels sprouts, there’s a high chance you’ll also love kohlrabi.
Can you eat kohlrabi leaves?
Absolutely! Kohlrabi greens are similar to eating kale or Swiss chard, so if you’re lucky to find them with the leaves, grab them. The stems are edible as well.
What does kohlrabi taste like?
The kohlrabi bulbs have a sweet yet peppery flavor, much like a radish. The kohlrabi greens taste similar to kale leaves with a mild leafy flavor.
When is kohlrabi in season?
Like most produce you can often find kohlrabi all year long. However, kohlrabi peak season is from winter to early spring (roughly November – April).
That would make my kohlrabi soup a great side or main dish for your Thanksgiving Dinner For Two.
If you have a farmer’s market during those months, you’ll have a higher chance of finding kohlrabi intact with its leaves.
Although my local grocery store had kohlrabi with greens, the leaves were a bit wilted.
How To Prepare Kohlrabi
To prepare kohlrabi, there are two parts:
For the bulb: Cut off the stems and leaves until you’re left with the bulb. Peel then thinly slice the ends so it sits flat on your cutting board.
Cut the bulb in half then cut the halves into half so you have 4 quarter pieces. Remove the core from each quarter.
For diced kohlrabi, cut each half into slices then cut each slice into cubes.
For step by step photos, check out The Kitchn’s how to cut up kohlrabi guide.
For the greens: Wash the leaves then dry. If you’re not using the stems, cut and discard those.
Next, cut the greens into bite-sized pieces.
How To Make Kohlrabi Soup
First, heat your oil in a Dutch oven or similar large pot. You can also use butter (which no longer makes this soup vegan but still a delicious vegetarian dinner).
Once hot, add your onion, carrot, and a big pinch of salt. Cook until they start to brown.
Next, add some of the broth then cook until the carrots are soft.
Add the mixture to your blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the carrot puree back into the pot then add the remaining broth. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add your kohlrabi and sweet potato. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
Add your leaves then cook another 3-5 minutes or until the greens are softened. Stir in lemon juice and enjoy!
Did you change this recipe?
Busted! If you’ve made my kohlrabi soup recipe between 2011-2022, you may notice the directions are different.
For whatever reason the original recipe was unnecessarily complicated with extra pans. Plus it used flour to thicken it, but honestly it doesn’t need it.
I was tempted to skip the blending as well, but the carrot puree adds a lovely layer of flavor as well as a beautiful orange color rather than your typical brown broth soup.
Trust me – that little extra effort is totally worth it.
More Vegetarian Soup Recipes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt (preferably kosher), to taste
- 1/4 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups vegetable broth/stock
- 1 pound kohlrabi, bulbs peeled and diced and leaves chopped
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced (roughly 8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, add the oil. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, and a big pinch of salt. Cook until they start to soften and brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add 1 + 1/2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Cook until carrots are softened, about 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. There should be enough broth but if it's too thick to blend, you can add a little more.
- Pour the carrot puree back into the Dutch oven. Add the remaining 3 + 1/2 cups broth then bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add the kohlrabi bulbs, sweet potato, and a big pinch of salt. Cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes.
You should have enough broth, but if your vegetable amounts are bigger than indicated, it's possible you may need to add more as the vegetables will absorb the broth.
- Add kohlrabi leaves and cook 3-5 minutes until the leaves are softened. Add lemon juice then taste and adjust for salt.
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Originally published January 9, 2011