#TurnipforWhat? A Guide to Turnips

4 years ago

Michelle Obama gave one of the lowliest of veggies a place in the sun yesterday with an adorable Vine of herself holding a turnip and dancing to a healthy version of DJ Snake and rapper Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What."

The best answer to #Turnipforwaht? is … dinner. It's an underused and versatile fall root veggie. It can replace either potato or cauliflower in many dishes, and plays well with both.

A Guide to Buying and Eating Turnips
  • Turnips are a root vegetable in the brassica family, along with cabbage, kale, mustard, horseradish, bok choy, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, among others. They are closely related to rutabaga (also known as a "swede"), so much so that they are considered the same vegetable in some places, and kohlrabi.
  • They are eaten commonly everywhere from France to Japan to the Middle East to the American South.
  • Their flavor has a mild peppery bite (think radish lite) and a natural sweetness. Smaller turnips are sweeter than larger ones.
  • Turnips aren't always sold with their tops, but if you can find them, they're edible with a similar flavor profile (though, of course, greener). Smaller are sweeter here too. You can use them in place of any cooked green.
  • Look for smaller turnips (which are not only sweeter, but more tender) with smooth skins. If the greens are attached, they should look healthy and glossy and smell sweet.
  • Turnips have about a third of the calories and carbs of a potato, plus 3 grams of fiber, calcium, B6, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, potassium, iron, and 30% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
  • Common varieties:
  • Fun fact: The original jack-o-lanterns were carved out of turnips, and they looked freaky.

Read on for 3 delicious ways to cook and eat turnips tonight. →

Cook Turnips Like (or With) a Potato

Most anything you can do to a potato, you can do to a turnip. They caramelize nicely on the outside when baking or roasting, and they mash nicely. Just remember that since turnips are much less starchy, you won't get that fluffy-homey-creamy texture from a turnip dish … unless, of course, you add potatoes (or something else, like cream) to the mix. In Scotland, the mixture of turnips and potatoes is so common it has its own name: Neeps and Tatties.


Sea Salt and Olive Oil Roasted Turnips From The Kitchen Magpie

Baked Turnip Fries From Yaya Recommended

Mashed Potatoes and Turnips with Chives From Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

Go Sour With Your Turnips

Turnips' little bite plays well with sour flavors, and their texture stands up to acid, whether shaved in slaw or softened a little to become turnip pickles—which, colored beautifully pink with beet juice, are Middle Eastern staples.

Turnip Pickles From Cadry's Kitchen

Jicama and Turnip Slaw From The Roasted Root

Serve Turnips With Their "Family"

Turnips pair well with other members of brassica family, from mild cauliflower to kicky horseradish or mustard to their very own greens.

Sesame-Ginger Turnips and Turnip Greens With Brown Rice From Dishing Up The Dirt

Turnip Cauliflower Gratin From The Spice Train

Black Rice Fritters With Turnips and Horseradish Cream From Herbivoracious

Roasted Baby Turnips With Spicy Mustard Dressing From In Sonnet's Kitchen

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