A perfectly creamy and delicious German kohlrabi soup recipe with potatoes and cream cheese.
GERMAN KOHLRABI SOUP RECIPE
This German kohlrabi soup is the kind of creamy soup or cream of “something” soup I make very often.
Kohlrabi is always a good choice of vegetable for a soup and potatoes are often part of the equation as they add a lot of creaminess without the need of lots of cream.
A creamy vegetable soup recipe is always a good choice for a quick and light lunch or dinner during the week, especially at times when you don’t have much left in the fridge and don’t have the time to go shopping.
There are always some half-forgotten veggies in the fridge, stuff like carrots, leeks or peppers, sometimes kohlrabi or zucchini. And if the fridge is empty there is always the freezer with the frozen broccoli or cauliflower.
Add a couple of potatoes to those vegetables, some cream/milk/cream cheese or even sour cream, a good vegetable or chicken stock and there you have it: a creamy, steaming hot soup that will make everybody happy.
WHAT IS KOHLRABI?
Kohlrabi – one of the most popular vegetables in Germany, yet very much unknown in most parts of the world.
Here, in Germany, you can buy kohlrabi anywhere and at any time of the year, but although I lived in several countries and traveled some more I have never seen any kohlrabi anywhere else. Well, in Romania, when I was growing up, but my grandmother would not use it often either.
Such a shame because kohlrabi is an extremely delicious and healthy vegetable. It grows easily as well, I was never a keen gardener, but even I managed to harvest kohlrabi from my own garden.
Well, a long time ago, I gave up gardening, the only thing I manage is a small herb garden.
Which looks absolutely stunning at the moment, overflowing with herbs despite the almost winterly temperatures out there (it snowed the day before yesterday and we have minus degrees during the night).
No comparison with last year’s endless summer (from April to October), but it is not as if I am expecting to get that again soon, it was the first time in 15 years since moving to Germany.
But what is kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi, also known as German cabbage belongs to the same species as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and so on. So, a sort of cabbage.
The name comes from the German Kohl – cabbage and Rübe/Rabi – turnip.
As mentioned above, kohlrabi is hugely popular in Germany, being one of the most eaten vegetables, I suppose.
Kohlrabi comes in white or pale green and purple. The sort most commonly found is the white/green one, the purple sort – although it looks beautiful and tastes the same – is something you would rather buy at a farmer’s market or plant yourself in the garden.
The texture of kohlrabi is very similar to that of a very crisp radish. The taste reminds of a mixture of radish and broccoli stem, but sweeter and juicier.
When buying kohlrabi look for small to medium bulbs, as their taste is more intensive. Although the larger ones are quite OK for this kohlrabi soup recipe as well.
Make sure that the leaves look nice, if they are wilted or yellow it means that the kohlrabi has been standing around for quite a while.
The skin should be firm and make sure that there is no mold on it, that can happen if the kohlrabi hasn’t been stored properly. It can also happen in your fridge if you keep it for too long or if the fridge is too humid.
HOW TO PEEL KOHLRABI
The peel is the only inedible part of a kohlrabi, as it is rather tough. You could eat that as well, if you really want to, but it doesn’t soften either when cooked, so better just remove it. Otherwise you can even eat the leaves and the tender stems.
To peel a kohlrabi remove the tender stems with the leaves. They can be used in salads, soups, can be stewed like any other greens and, if larger, can be stuffed the way you would stuff cabbage or vine leaves.
Place the kohlrabi bulb on a cutting board and slice off the top and the bottom. There is a small amount of woodier part at the bottom of the kohlrabi, really not much, cut that away as well.
Peel the rest like you would peel an apple, either using a small knife or a vegetable peeler.
Now you can halve and slice the kohlrabi using a knife or a mandolin or you can cut it into small cubes, chunks or strips. Whatever you need.
HOW TO COOK KOHLRABI
Kohlrabi is a super versatile vegetable.
We eat one or two kohlrabies every week and most of the times we eat them raw. I peel and slice a kohlrabi and eat it with bread and cheese, like you would eat a tomato, radish or bell pepper.
I often make raw salads of kohlrabi or a mixture of grated kohlrabi and carrots. Or kohlrabi and red cabbage salad, a wonderful and very festive combination. Not to mention super healthy.
When it comes to cooked kohlrabi, my first choice is always a kohlrabi soup, either a creamy vegetable soup recipe like today’s kohlrabi soup or a clear soup with kohlrabi cubes, semolina or flour dumplings/noodles and finely shredded kohlrabi leaves.
A very common way of eating kohlrabi in Germany is to have them as a side dish for meats – Kohlrabi-Gemüse.
The kohlrabi is cut into chunks or thicker strips, cooked in vegetable broth until soft but still retaining a bite (about 10-15 minutes) and stirred into a quick white or Bechamel sauce spiced with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
HOW TO MAKE KOHLRABI SOUP
Making this creamy kohlrabi soup is super easy.
Step 1: Clean and peel the kohlrabi as instructed above. Cube the kohlrabi and the stems. Either finely chop the leaves for adding to the soup later or use them for making something else.
Step 2: Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes as well.
Step 3: Chop the onion and cook it in the oil for about 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add the kohlrabi and the potato cubes, stir well and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Step 4: Add the vegetable (or chicken) stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the leaves for the last 4-5 minutes, if using.
Step 5: Give the cream cheese to the soup and blend the soup with an immersion blender. Let the German kohlrabi soup get hot again for a couple of minutes, but don’t bring it to a boil again.
Step 6: Add fine sea salt, pepper, nutmeg, sugar and lemon juice. Stir well and adjust the taste again.
The German kohlrabi soup can be served immediately or it can be reheated. Serve with crusty sourdough bread for a light and healthy lunch or dinner.
- 700 g/ 1.5 lbs kohlrabi (about 2-3 depending on size)
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs potatoes (floury or all-purpose potatoes)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 750 ml/ 25.3 fl.oz/ 3 ¼ cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 3 heaped tablespoons cream cheese (Philadelphia style)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- fine sea salt and ground black pepper
- small bunch of parsley
- a pinch of red chili flakes, optional
- a pinch of nigella seeds, optional
Remove the stems and the leaves of the kohlrabi. Keep the leaves separated as they will be only added to the soup towards the end of the cooking process.
Place the kohlrabi bulb on a cutting board and slice off the top and bottom, removing the small woody part at the bottom of the kolhrabi bulb as well. Peel the skin with a knife or vegetable peeler the way you would peel an apple. Discard the skin. Cut the kohlrabi bulb and the stems into cubes.
Peel and cube the potatoes as well. Finely chop the onion.
Heat the oil in a soup pan and cook the onion for about 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add the cubed vegetables and cook for about another 4 minutes, stirring a few times in between.
Add the vegetable or chicken stock, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer the kohlrabi soup for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chopped kohlrabi leaves during the last 5 minutes of the cooking time.
Add the cream cheese to the soup and blend the soup with an immersion blender. Reheat the soup gently without bringing it to a boil again.
Add salt, pepper, sugar, nutmeg and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. Taste again and adjust the taste with more lemon juice and more of the spices.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and maybe some red chili flakes and nigella seeds.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the soup
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 267 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 14mg Sodium: 1150mg Carbohydrates: 44g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 10g Protein: 8g