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How to Cook Unusual Vegetables: Kohlrabi, Celeriac, and More

These easy tips and recipes will make cooking with unusual vegetables a snap.

Updated June 13, 2017

Cookbook

Prime Publishing LLC

Published by Prime Publishing LLC

How to Cook Unusual Vegetables Kohlrabi Celeriac and More

When you think of fresh vegetables, you likely envision classic favorites like sweet corn on the cob, plump red tomatoes, and cucumbers. But what about more unusual vegetables, like kohlrabi, broccolini, or celeriac? If you’d like to add some variety to your dinner menu while adding some nutritional value to the meal, then incorporating vegetables that are off the beaten path just might be the way to do it.

This guide on How to Cook Unusual Vegetables: Kohlrabi, Celeriac, and More includes tips on how to prepare the more unique produce that just might be found at your local farmers market or favorite produce store. These unusual vegetables will be the stunning addition to any weeknight dinner menu while also providing a change of pace that everyone in your family is sure to love. The next time you visit your favorite farmers market, keep an eye open for these unique seasonal vegetables so you can get cooking.

How to Cook with Kohlrabi

If you’re looking for a vegetable that has a taste somewhere between a potato and a radish, then a kohlrabi is for you. The vegetable has plenty of nutrients, with Penn State Extension noting the humble vegetable has potassium and fiber, as well as vitamins B6 and C. Peel the skin of the vegetable, then slice and dice the kohlrabi for use in salads, stir-fry, and even coleslaw. Don’t pick up the first kohlrabi you see at the farmers market. According to Aggie Horticulture of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, kohlrabi should appear fresh and should measure less than three inches in diameter. If the kohlrabi exceeds that size, then you might be left with a vegetable that tastes woody. 

Broccolini Recipes, Tips, and More

You were probably told to eat your broccoli when you were a child. But what about eating your broccolini? This unusual vegetable, which has vitamin C and is actually a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli according to N.C. Cooperative Extension, has its own unique taste and flavor. It’s also easy to prepare and eat. Just wash like you would a head of broccoli, then eat the broccolini raw or sauté with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a tender taste. For example, in the recipe for Zucchini and Broccolini Tagliatelle (pictured below), broccolini plays a starring role in a hearty pasta dish.

Zucchini and Broccolini Tagliatelle

Romanesco Broccoli: A Show-Stopping Addition to Every Dinner

Here’s a vegetable that’s almost too stunning to eat. Romanesco broccoli will be a show-stopping addition to any of your weekly meals, as it has a vibrant shade of green and comes complete with a pointy texture that is nothing short of attention-grabbing. The vegetable has vitamins A and C, and fiber, too. It can be eaten raw, dipped in your favorite salad dressing, or roasted. Just keep in mind this vegetable makes its grand return in fall and winter, as noted by The Beaumont Blog of Beaumont Health.

Jerusalem Artichokes: The Unusual Vegetable You Need to Try

An unusual vegetable that is nothing short of a conundrum, the Jerusalem artichoke is actually neither an artichoke nor originally from Jerusalem. Nonetheless, this vegetable is a source of potassium, iron, and copper, according to Michigan State University Extension. As the edible part of this vegetable is the root, you'll want to clean and peel the Jerusalem artichoke before eating it. The vegetable, which can be found throughout most of the U.S., can be cooked in a manner similar to potatoes. The vegetable is generally harvested in late fall, making it the perfect addition to your spread for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Add Patty Pan Squash to Salads and More

If your garden-variety squash leaves you feeling uninspired, then adding patty pan squash to the mix might be just what you need to shake things up a bit. The squash has a distinct shape that includes scalloped edges, and can easily fit in the palm of your hand. Don’t let the diminutive size fool you; according to The University of Maine, patty pan squash and other types of summer squash have vitamin C and potassium. No matter how you dice, slice, or cut the patty pan squash, you can be assured of a hearty flavor. Use the squash in soups, stir-fry, salads, and other favorite salads, and in this recipe for Spring Vegetable Soup (pictured below).

Spring Vegetable Soup

Get Cooking with Celeriac Recipes

When cooked, the root of the celeriac is a tasty addition to your weekly meals. Although it tastes like celery, celeriac is generally prepared in a manner similar to potatoes. According to University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the vegetable can be mashed and smashed, has fiber, and can be stored for several months. You’ll love using celeriac in your favorite roast vegetable recipes. If you're looking for an unusual vegetable that is also versatile, then celeriac is it.

More Recipes for Unusual Vegetables

Now that you have a bag filled with kohlrabi, broccolini, or other vegetables that are new to you, it’s time to get cooking! These recipes will help you incorporate the more unusual vegetables that you can find at your local farmers market in your family’s dinner plans in new and unique ways. You'll cook like a pro when you use these weird vegetables.

Very Green Salad with Cucumber, Kohlrabi, Sweet Onion and Herb Vinaigrette: This recipe has 16 ingredients, but don't be deterred. You can easily make this salad in a matter of minutes!

Spaghetti with Romanesco Broccoli and Black Olives: You'll love serving this easy pasta dish for a quick lunch or dinner. The vegetarian-friendly recipe won't take you long to make.

Pork Butt with Hazelnuts, Golden Raisins, and Jerusalem Artichokes: With a cook time of several hours, this recipe is perfect for a weekend dinner.

Smashed Celeriac: Easy to make, this side dish recipe will be the perfect accompaniment to just about any entree on your menu.

What is your favorite unusual vegetable?

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Hi everyone! My name is Megan Horst-Hatch, and I am the site editor of Cookstr.com. Let's get the conversation started! I tried kohlrabi for the first time a few years ago, and it's quickly become one of my favorite vegetables. I love that you can even put it on a sandwich!

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