Turnips, daikon radishes and jicamas share loads of similarities with kohlrabi and would make awesome substitutes for the vegetable.
A new day for me means a new opportunity to test out a new recipe and, possibly, have a go at a new ingredient.
I love the thrill that comes with trying out new stuff in the kitchen for the first time, but it can be a joy kill when a recipe calls for an ingredient I can’t have or get at my local store.
This is where substitutes come in handy.
In this article, I’m going to be focusing on all the best substitutes for kohlrabi you can use in your recipes!
What is kohlrabi?
Right before we dive into the best substitutes for this veggie, how about we have a little chat on what it actually is?
A member of the cruciferous family, Kohlrabi is a green or purple vegetable that has got this cute bulb shape. It’s somewhat sweet with a slightly peppery flavor and its mild flavor has been likened to that of broccoli and even turnips.
The bulbous part of the veggie has a crunchy and juicy texture while it’s leaves are somewhat velvety when raw.
Overall, it’s an amazing vegetable and there are loads of health benefits of kohlrabi.
As a versatile vegetable, you can use it for a variety of recipes but I think they’re just yum as ingredients in my salads, slaws and creamy kohlrabi soups!
Best kohlrabi substitutes
Any good kohlrabi sub should have a taste that’s similar to the veggie and texture too.
Here are the top veggies that tick those boxes:
I’d boldly say Jicama is one of the closest alternative to kohlrabi out there.
While kohlrabi is often referred to as the german turnip, jicama is the Mexican turnip. It has a thick, almost tough skin and its white fleshy insides have a firm and crunchy texture, just like kohlrabi does.
I love what a versatile vegetable it is being that you can use it for a wide range of kohlrabi recipes and it can be eaten either raw or cooked.
This works the other way – kohlrabi is a great option to replace jicama!
Serve jicama as a delicious side dish for an enchilada casserole!
- Broccoli stems
For a kohlrabi alternative that’s more widely available, have a go at some broccoli stems.
They’re a the green stalks that connect broccoli florets to the plant and are also part of the cabbage family of veggies.
Sure, this cruciferous vegetable might not exactly have the bulbous shape kohlrabi possesses, but they’ve got a crunchy bite to them and slightly sweet flavor that’s even been likened to kohlrabi by experts.
I once tried oven-roasted broccoli stems (instead of kohlrabi) with asparagus sprinkled with some parmesan cheese and besides the obvious color difference, I’d have barely been able to tell them apart. You can also try this out with a different substitute for asparagus.
Slice or shred some broccoli stems and throw them into your stir fries and salads as a replacement for kohlrabi!
Turnips are spicy, somewhat bitter yet sweet root vegetables with a crisp but juicy texture I would say is most comparable to potatoes.
They’re like kohlrabi but with a stronger flavor.
Although they might not taste or look exactly alike, turnips work well shredded in salads, mashed in soups and diced in cooked meals that require kohlrabi.
- Daikon radish
Looking to switch things up a bit by using a kohlrabi substitute that’s got a spicy kick?
Some daikon radish is just what you’ll need.
It has a carrot-like texture but is white in color and lightly sweet but peppery flavor, making it a great option instead of kohlrabi.
Use it as a kohlrabi substitute pickled, in soups or even a fresh salad.
If you like this veggie, you’d want to check out these substitutes for daikon radishes that would work well for many of your recipes.
As one of the most widely consumed root vegetables, potatoes are a solid pick as a kohlrabi substitute.
Although potatoes are starchy and kohlrabi is not, it does well as a replacement for it in many cooked dishes as raw potatoes won’t exactly hold up well, taste-wise, in a raw kohlrabi dish.
Potatoes have got a firm texture, mildly sweet taste when cooked and the nutritional profile of potatoes shows us it’s filled with all sorts of nutrients you could potentially fortify yourself with by consuming them.
Also known as celery roots, celeriac is the knob-like veggie that grows below a variant of celery.
Its taste is quite nutty, and somewhat earthy even with hints of celery, giving it a unique freshness. Cereliac makes a great kohlrabi substitute for its firm and crisp texture while its taste would add a fun twist to your dish.
I’d slice or grate it in salads and have it roasted, then blended with garlic, a strong spice like horseradish, and vegetable broth for a creamy and savory soup.
If horseradish isn’t your thing, here are other spicy alternatives for horseradish you can use instead.
Kohlrabi substitute FAQs
Taste and texture wise, the vegetables kohlrabi is most similar to are broccoli stems and jicamas.
Being that they’re from the same family, kohlrabi and broccoli actually share many similarities. They’re both bulbous and have edible leaves.
Kohlrabi and broccoli are both cruciferous and have a green hue. Kohlrabi also shares many similarities with the nature and properties of broccoli stems.
Kohlarbi has a subtly sweet and lightly peppery taste akin to a milder turnip, and that’s why they make great replacements for one another.
BOTTOM LINE: Kohlrabi is a wonderful ingredient but sometimes, it’s not the easiest to find in the grocery. Luckily, there are some pretty great kohlrabi substitutes you can use to make up for it in recipes.
I love using jicama and broccoli stems in recipes that involve raw kohlrabi as their taste and crispy texture mirror that of kohlrabi really well. I think turnips and daikon radishes work better for roasted kohlrabi recipes while celeriac and potatoes—for cooked ones.
Regardless, they all make excellent substitutes for kohlrabi and, depending on the veg you choose, would go well for your recipe.