5 Easy, No-Recipe Ways to Use Turnips

Find possibility in the season’s least-inspiring root vegetable

Hannah Hayes
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Photo: Alison Miksch

“Eat local!” It’s a cheer that’s easy to shout from the phantasmal heirloom tomato patch, but, come December, that cheer becomes a mumble. It’s true: Root vegetables and greens aren’t exactly sexy. No one would call turnips the Gigi Hadid of the produce world, but with a little inspiration and effort, they can’t transcend their humble appearance.

Here are five easy ways to use turnips that don’t even require a recipe, but just might make you feel a bit more affection for these bulbous gifts of winter.

Pro tip: pick smaller turnips for all these methods and just in general. They’ll have a better taste and texture than the giant ones.

  1. Sorghum-Glazed Turnips: Slice a couple pounds of small turnips in half, cook until tender in a skillet. After the water has evaporated, add a few tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of sorghum until they look shiny and glazed.
  2. Turnip Coleslaw: Slice turnips into matchsticks and throw them into your favorite coleslaw combination with some carrots and purple cabbage.
  3. Mashed Potatoes and Turnips: Mash up a mixture of half boiled potatoes and half boiled turnips. Mash it up with little bit or horseradish, buttermilk, and butter. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Turnip Galette: Make an easy-wow side dish by layering super-thin turnip slices in a generously buttered 9-inch pie plate. Bake for an hour at 375º.
  5. Really Roasted Turnips: Cut turnips into small wedges and boil until tender. Then put them on a baking sheet (don’t crowd them too much) with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 400º. Take them out after they’ve developed some caramelization (maybe 15-ish minutes). Like all root vegetables, if you parboil them before roasting, the heat of the oven will spend time developing flavor rather than just trying to turn fibrous, dense chunks into tender, soft pieces.