Creamed Kohlrabi – A Mid-Century Recipe Test

Posted on Sep 11 2013 - 6:24am by RetroRuth

This week we are getting fancy with unusual vegetables! I present to you:


Creamed Kohlrabi!

This recipe is from Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Cookbook from 1961 which, because it is so chichi, was illustrated by none other than Andy Warhol.

I looked up a few variations of creamed kohlrabi, which seems to be the only thing anyone used to do with it besides eating it raw, before I decided on using the Vanderbilt method. They all called for white sauce, but the one from Complete Cookbook called for well-seasoned cream sauce. See? Much fancier.

2.0 from 1 reviews
Creamed Kohlrabi
  • 6-8 small kohlrabi
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 cup of whole milk, light cream or whole evaporated milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Additional spices of your choice, including celery salt, garlic salt, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce
  1. Pare and dice kohlrabi or cut into thin strips.
  2. Cook covered in small amount of salted boiling water for 20-30 mins or until tender (*Note: Mine only took 10 mins!). Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, make well-seasoned cream sauce and dress drained, cooked kohlrabi.



Now, if for some reason, you are not familiar with kohlrabi (like I was before I met Tom!), I decided to include a picture of the fresh kohlrabi before I started slicing and dicing. To me they look sort of like sputniks, which makes them even more appropriate for mid-century food!


Tom originally introduced me to this veggie a few years ago. He grew up eating fresh sliced, salted kohlrabi from his parents’ garden, and he was very excited to share the experience with me.

I expected it to be unpleasant, like eating celery, which I hate, but I actually kind of like kohlrabi. A small one has a texture sort of like an apple (they get a woody texture as they get bigger) and tastes spicy and faintly like a rutabaga.


Every year Tom buys a bag of these suckers at the farmer’s market because they don’t sell them individually, and we end up throwing a few out at the end of the week because a person can only eat so much raw kohlrabi. So when he plopped down a bag of these in front of me on Saturday morning, I decided to peel up about half of them and give them the ole mid-century treatment.

Which, if you know anything about mid-century cooking, means you boil it, throw a bunch of white sauce on it and call it a day.

Tom TastesIMG_3216

“This is interesting”


“It tastes like you boiled all the flavor out of a kohlrabi.”

The Verdict: Tastes Like Boiled Kohlrabi

From The Tasting Notes:

This basically tastes like someone boiled all the flavor out of kohlrabi and then tried to put fake flavor back in it with cream sauce. Maybe it would have tasted better if I would have steamed the kohlrabi, but honestly if you like the taste of kohlrabi and you are going to go out of your way to find it and buy it, you might as well just eat it raw with salt!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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9 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Yinzerella September 11, 2013 at 8:30 am - Reply

    So jealous that you have a copy!
    Could you share some of the illustrations?

  2. Amber September 11, 2013 at 8:37 am - Reply

    If you would really like to do something with Kohlarbi – try roasting it at 400 degrees in olive and spices of your choice. keeps the flavor and you can use all the extra.

    • dkzody September 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

      Maybe I will try the roasting suggestion. We get kohlrabi every year in our CSA box. It grows well here in the San Joaquin Valley. I have yet to find any decent use for the stuff. My neighbor, who takes almost all of my veggie castoffs, doesn’t want it either so I have been tossing the things into the trash. Makes me feel terrible, but I can’t see wasting more food to try to make the stuff edible. This is the first time I’ve heard of roasting it.

  3. Patrick M. September 11, 2013 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Kohlrabi is my FAVORITE! I think it tastes like broccoli stems. I usually steam it then toss with butter and salt and pepper.

  4. Mike September 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    I like using kohlrabi as a substitute for potatoes in home fries with corned beef hash.

    (Yes, that’s probably a bit too mid-century for my good health, but. . .)

    I’ve also heard that roasting slices of them like french fries works well, too.

  5. Jenee Libby September 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    LOLOL! Don’t feel bad, kohlrabi stinks. It was purely put on this earth to be a purée under some form of met 😉 I made a gratin with bread crumbs, butter, cream, bacon and cheese. It still tasted like nothing LOL! No flavor whatsoever 😉 Here’s my recipe:

  6. Jenee Libby September 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm - Reply


  7. Cristina September 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Ruth I may sound silly but I never heard of this before!!! I’m From ny and this is the first time I’m hearing about this lol

  8. Tracy B September 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    I grew up eating it in Iowa!! Love it raw with salt. I have started growing a variety called Kossak that gets huge, like small cabbage huge, without ever getting woody!

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