Hate Turnips? Give White Salad Turnips a Try

Rachel Tepper Paley
June 23, 2014

Photo credit: Amana Images/StockFood

If you ever, as a child, turned up your nose at a turnip (or still harbor a grudge against the polarizing root vegetable), your aversion to anything with the word “turnip” in it is understandable. But bear with us: White salad turnips are nothing like the purple-tinged, potato-like vegetable of your youth. They’re a lot less polarizing, too.

"Technically they’re called Hakurei turnips, but … we were pretty underwhelmed by the response to that and we started calling them ‘sweet salad turnips,’” said Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht, who with her husband manages the Garden of Eve organic farm and market in Riverhead, New York. “Turnips kind of have a negative connotation,” she added wryly.

The name fits, Kaplan-Walbrecht said, because the turnips are excellent in fresh greens salads. When raw, white salad turnips have a mild flavor that gives way to a subtle, juicy sweetness. There’s a spicy kick on the finish, nearly like a radish.

But white salad turnips aren’t just for salads. 

"My husband will sauté them with a little maple syrup, which caramelizes them," she explained. "People also juice them, and you can even stir-fry them with bok choy and stuff. It’s definitely a very versatile ingredient.”

You can also braise the white bulbs in mirin and white soy sauce, or simply glaze them in butter and sugar.

See? Not all turnips must be mashed.