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What We’re Cooking With Now: Turnips
Dec 02

What We’re Cooking With Now: Turnips

By Chris Cox, executive chef, Café Phipps

Looking for adventure in the kitchen? Our monthly What We're Cooking with Now post features a fresh produce ingredient, explains how to find the market's finest, and includes a recipe to try at home.


Why: Not only are turnips very inexpensive, widely available, and have a very long shelf life, they contain high levels of important nutrients for the body. Both the root and the stems and leaves are edible and highly nutritious. Low in calories and high in fiber, the roots also are a good source of vitamin C, folate, phosphorous, and calcium. The leaves have even higher concentrations of nutrients, with  over 100% of the daily RDI of vitamin K, and are also high in vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and calcium. They also help promote iron absorption and help regulate cholesterol.

Shopping Tip: Look for turnips with the stems and leaves still attached as both the bulbs and the stems are edible. The longer the turnip matures the more powerful the flavor will be, but the texture will become more firm and somewhat woody. Choosing smaller turnips will ensure a softer texture and milder, sweeter flavor. They should feel heavy and dense, without blemishes. If the leaves are attached, they should not be wilted and have a bright color.

Preparation: Wash the bulbs and slice them thinly, then bake to turn into crunchy root vegetable chips. They are also great boiled and added into mashed potatoes, adding texture, flavor, and nutrients. They can also be roasted with other root vegetables as a great side dish, and can be shaved raw into salads or slaws. Sautéing the greens is a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet and have a similar flavor to mustard greens. They can be substituted for potatoes in just about every preparation, and contain far fewer carbs and calories.

Recipe: Honey sesame glazed root vegetables with chestnuts


3 young, small turnips with greens attached

1 large yam, peeled and diced

2 carrots, sliced into discs

1 cup of chestnuts

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

5 whole garlic cloves

1 tablespoon of honey

3 tablespoons of sesame seeds

Salt and pepper to taste


Roast the chestnuts in a 400 degree oven until they crack. Let cool, remove the meat from inside, put in a bowl. Cut the greens off the turnips and wash well. Chop the greens and cut the bulbs into small chunks, put the greens in the bowl with the chestnut meat. Toss the turnip roots, carrots, garlic, and yams with half the oil, place in a cast iron skillet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, place the skillet on the stove. Add the rest of the oil, and add the turnip greens and chestnut meat, and saute until the turnip stems start to soften, by now the rest of the root vegetables should be done. Reduce heat, add the honey, and stir to coat, allowing the honey to caramelize. Add the sesame seeds, and season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately.