Philacatessen | Roasted Turnips

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Turnips have a bad rap. If you are anything like me, you may have traumatic memories of turnips as a watery, smelly, soggy mash that lacked flavor. (Remember, my grandmother was Irish.)

Because of these poor introductions, I have studiously avoided turnips for most of my adult life. But in an ongoing effort to eat seasonally and as locally as possible, I have revisited this formerly reviled root. And I discovered that treated properly, it’s pretty darn good.

To start with, their nutritional value is notable — a member of the cruciferous family (like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and the like, turnips are high in fiber and low in calories. They also contain more than half the recommended daily dose of vitamin C.

I roasted my turnips (see recipe below), but they can also be eaten raw — chopped in a salad or sliced and served as a crudité with dip. They are also delicious mashed, mixed with potatoes (or not) and seasoned with whatever your palate and your cupboard suggest.

These roasted turnips were quite tasty — slightly crispy, with just a hint of that sharp taste to keep things interesting. I served them with a roasted chicken and a simple green salad. The leftover turnips were delightful tossed in the salad the following day.

roasted turnips
Photo by Keri White

Roasted Turnips

Serves 2-4

I bought small, white turnips at my farmers market, and the farmer advised me that peeling was not necessary, which was quite appealing. If you are using the larger turnips with the thick and/or waxy skin, peeling is necessary. The parchment is optional, but a great way to minimize cleanup.

  • 2 or 3 small white turnips, each about the size of your fist, cut in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Generous sprinkling of salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the turnip pieces on the baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until the edges are browning and slightly crisp and the turnips are soft through.

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