Turnips and red kidney beans

Oct 1, 2008 at 3:08 a.m. ET

Turnips can be eaten raw, boiled, fried or cooked with other vegetables. Here is a terrific recipe for turnips and kidney beans, which makes a delicious, unique side dish.


History of turnips

The turnip originated in Hellenistic and Roman times, becoming a well-established crop during this period in history. Wild forms of turnips can be found throughout Asia and Europe. Turnips are root vegetables, like carrots, and they grow most easily in temperate climates. Because of the ease in growing turnips, they are popular throughout the world and are prepared in a great variety of ways. 

They are a good crop to grow because of the many nutrients that they contain for the soil. As a staple food, they grow in great abundance and can be used to feed both humans and livestock, increasing their versatility.

Turnips nutrition

Turnips are only high in Vitamin C but turnip greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, folate and calcium. The greens are also high in lutein. Turnips are edible cooked or uncooked and they are often found in salads. In order to eat turnips, you must first trim off any hairy roots and then peel them. Then, you can chop them or slice them depending on what you plan to do with them.

Turnips preparation

Younger turnips can be sliced and eaten raw, for example in a salad or as a dipping vegetable. You can also shred them as part of coleslaw, and they make great parts of vegetable medleys. Older turnips often have a milder flavor, and if you overcook turnips, they lose their flavor and become unpleasant. If you plan to boil your turnips, only cook them until they become tender, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes. You can also microwave, steam and roast your turnips, using your imagination to give character to this versatile, tasty plant. Here is a recipe for kidney beans and turnips that makes a delicious side dish.

Turnips and red kidney beans


  • 1 1/2 cups red kidney beans (soaked)
  • 4 large turnips
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)


1. Place kidney beans in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil vigorously for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, partial covered for 90 minutes.

2. Peel turnips and slice into wedges. Chop onion in half and then slice. Combine spices with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the turnip wedges in the oil until golden brown, then remove. Fry the onions for 2-3 minutes, reduce heat and add garlic and spice paste. Stir for a few seconds and then turn off heat.

4. After the beans have cooked halfway through (45 minutes), add turnip and onion mixture to the pot and stir. Allow beans to finish cooking.

5. Serve hot with rice.

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