Can I replace jicama with kolhrabi?

I am making this awesome salad from Bon Appétit (, but I don't have access to jicama where I live (Denmark). I received a giant kohlrabi in my CSA box this week (at least I think it's a kohlrabi, photo attached) and am wondering if I could use that instead of jicama. I don't think I've ever eaten kohlrabi, so I'm not sure if the taste would match with the beets, or if it's even good raw (after first peeling it, I would use my mandolin to very thinly slice it). What do you think? Thanks for your input!



Maedl February 20, 2014
You'd think the Danes would know the difference between kohlrabi and rutabaga! I love the idea of carving them, but be careful not to carve yourself in the process. You can also cut the rutabaga into bite-size pieces, toss with butter or olive oil, season with garlic, salt, pepper, etc., and roast at about 400 or 425 degrees. It will caramelize a bit and be fairly tasty.

On the other hand, the winter palette of rutabagas, turnips, carrots and potatoes were the impetus for the creation of Starkbier in Munich, according to local legend. Italian monks had come north to found a monastery in Munich and found the Lenten meatless diet there to be distinctly wanting. Several of them started to fiddle with the beer recipe, figured out how to increase the alcoholic content and turn the suds into the equivalent of liquid bread, and voila, we have the granddaddy of all the -ator beers and the birth of Munich's fifth season of the year.
CarlaCooks February 20, 2014
Maedl, you're right! I've just googled rutabaga and the images look just like this monster pre-peeling. So funny that my Danish CSA called it a kohlrabi. Another interesting tidbit I've learned from the google gods: in the UK and Ireland, rutabagas and turnips are carved into Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Next time I get too many turnips or rutabaga in my box, I'm totally carving them into little monsters ;)
M.A.C. January 29, 2022
Here in Cyprus🇨🇾 we peel the skin ..
cut the kohlrabi in half from top to bottom,and slice medium thinly into half moons,
We then add salt and lemon🍋 juice and eat, as part of a meze…used as accompaniment to dips also.. absolutely delicious … so YES …it is eaten raw …
Maedl February 20, 2014
Thanks for the follow up. I'll bet it is a young rutabaga. Pickling sounds like a good use!
CarlaCooks February 20, 2014
Short update: that crazy vegetable I had is definitely not a kohlrabi. I'm pretty sure it's some type of turnip. This is what it looked like after peeling. The flesh really smelled like a turnip with a very light turnip flavor. I ended up pickling it; whatever vegetable it is, I'm sure it will make a fine pickle :)
bigpan February 17, 2014
I would use whatever you have available fresh and don't tell anyone. If you use jicama instead of kohlrabi, then you have a jicama salad. If you use kohlrabi, you have kohlrabi salad.
CarlaCooks February 17, 2014
We have Jerusalem artichokes in Denmark as well (they are called jordskokker). They aren't my favorite vegetable, and they tend me make both my husband and I quite gassy (to much information, I know... sorry!). I ended up making the salad with fennel instead of the jicama. It was a really nice salad and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it (both with fennel and with jicama). I still haven't figured out what that giant root it. I might cut into it tonight to see if it is indeed a watermelon turnip. Thanks again for all of your input!
Maedl February 15, 2014
I forgot to add that Jerusalem artichokes have been grown in Europe since the mid-to late-1600s. There is an open air museum near my home that has a series of gardens featuring plants from various historical periods. The gardens begin with what was native and progress through increasingly more diverse vegetables choices. Today, Jerusalem artichokes are a popular choice during the long winters.

Voted the Best Reply!

Maedl February 15, 2014
I think you all need to taste a decent Kohlrabi--good ones are juicy, crisp and a bit sweet. Maybe the ones you have tasted were old--then they get mealy and tasteless.
nancy E. February 14, 2014
With that particular salad I would substitute finely sliced fennel or celery would work too. i think what they are going for is a cool crisp. Kohlrabi is just gross.
LeBec F. February 15, 2014
i completely agree with nancy. whenever i have tasted jicama, it has literally had NO flavor whatsoever, just texture- juicy and crunchy. canned water chestnuts come the closest because they too have no flavor.fennel and celery (and also jerusalem artichokes would work well, with their 'nutty carrot' type flavor.) But Jer. Artich. may not be available over there. They are native to the NE U.S. and in France they are called Topinambours.
Maedl February 14, 2014
If the inside is deep pink, it is a watermelon radish. I've seen them on the market in southern Germany, and I would think you would have them in your region, too.
CarlaCooks February 14, 2014
I agree, the root I have doesn't really look like a kohlrabi. However, my CSA listed it as such... who knows! I like the idea of replacing the jicama with apple... I think it will mimic the sweeter flavor of jicama, plus the crunch. Thanks for your input, all! If I ever figure out what the hey-diddle this root is, I'll be sure to let you know :)
Maedl February 14, 2014
I think you could use Kohlrabi rather than jicama--the salad would be a bit different, but it would still work. Kohlrabi is good raw--maybe even better raw than cooked. The only problem is that what you have is not a Kohlrabi. The photo is a bit small and it is hard to judge its size, but I think it might be something on the order of a rutabaga or turnip relative. Or maybe even a radish.
sfmiller February 14, 2014
I'm not sure the vegetable in the picture is a kohlrabi, either. But if it is, it has a mild cabbage-y flavor that I'd liken to broccoli stems or young turnips. In general, the older and larger the kohlrabi, the stronger the taste. It's crunchy, though not quite as much so as jicama. I like it raw, myself, and I can see it working in the salad with the beets.

Jicama is sweeter than kohlrabi, and a little starchiness in hte mouthfeel. A crisp apple would make a good substitute and play well with beets.
Jennifer M. February 14, 2014
Use canned or fresh water chestnuts to substitute for jicama. Cut them in the same sizes as you would the jicama. If you cannot get water chestnuts you can use celery, but while it is a decent substitute for the crunch, you will lose some flavor with that substitute. Jicama is VERY crunchy, and slightly sweet.
CarlaCooks February 14, 2014
Thanks for the info, ATG. The recipe calls for both beets and jicama. What do you think could be a good sub for the jicama?
ATG117 February 14, 2014
The photo looks like a beet, though it's hard to tell: jicama is a sweet and starchy vegetable (?) that is not like anything else I can think of. I don't beliee kohlrabi would be a good sub, bug you might be able to take te dish in a new direction by subbing a totally separate ingredient.
CarlaCooks February 14, 2014
Sorry, photo didn't attach.
Recommended by Food52