Turnips, history and masterpiece recipe

I’ve generally considered turnips as okay. Nothing very special and certainly not a root vegetable that I’d pick over the staple potato. Today I had to use some up as they were the last of the organic veg left from last week and new was due! So turnips are the vegetable of the week. And after a little investigating I came up with a masterpiece recipe. Lush!

History of Turnips

The masterpiece will come later. So before that here’s some history of the humble turnip.

Graham Taylor turnip head

Graham Taylor turnip head
from whoateallthepies.tv

The ex-Villa and England boss, Graham Taylor was pilloried in the press for ineptitude as the national team manager. I’m sure it was the Sun that labelled him a turnip, superimposing his face onto a turnip.

Pretty shoddy treatment commensurate with such a rag, but over the top nonetheless. Whatever, you think of Taylor, the turnip is worthy of a better history.

Charles ‘turnip’ Townshend

Popularly, but perhaps falsely, credited with introducing turnips to England Lord Townshend is a hero of the time. Before 1730 livestock was slaughtered before winter as hay was too expensive. However, he discovered that turnips could keep the animals alive through winter.  They became very popular and many were grown.

This clearly meant livestock of the time had a better life. or longer at least. People ate them too.


Turnips are a major ingredient in the national dish of Scotland. Grim. They are known as neeps in Scotland, while the Americans call them Rutabaga.

Nutritional Value

According to the Nutritional database turnips are good to eat. I’m not surprised to be honest. Here’s the highlights…

This food is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Phosphorus and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Potassium.

Also, despite being mainly carbohydrate (88% carb, 3% fats and 9% proteins) they are really low on the glycemic index. One hundred grams of cooked turnips provides a glycemic load of just 1/100. Turnips won’t make you obese!

Cooking Turnips

I tend to steam my veg, nearly exclusively so. But I’m open-minded and had a look at other methods on the fab Vegan Coach site. So you can also bake, saute and boil them. I bet you could make chips too…

I was most interested in the provided flavour matches list. I noticed a few that were very interesting

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Lemon
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Savory

Most of these I had or could be compromised. So I had the basis of the Turnip Masterpiece!

Turnip Masterpiece

This could be a side dish but I had it with quinoa.

  • three turnips
  • three small potatoes
  • four small carrots
  • one onion
  • one stick of celery
  • one inch thick slice of pineapple
  • one apple
  • coconut oil
  • garam masala
  • tamari
  • salt, if required

Peel and dice anything that needs it, I left the peel on the apple. Steam the roots, slow fry the onion and celery with some garam masala in some coconut oil. I use virgin raw but KTC coconut oil would do.

Add the fruit and get it browning off, before adding the steamed turnips, pots and carrots.

Serve with cooked quinoa. Rice would work too. Easy peasy and lovely.  normally, I’d add chilli in some form but I’m completely out.

Turnips masterpiece


Lovely. Filling and a nice savoury, sweet falvour. I didn’t even miss the chilli, there’s a very slight hotness with the garam masala but nothing to write home about.

The turnips work well as they have a nice peppery flavour. I’ll do thid again. A successful vegetable of the week for the humble turnip, then!

How do you cook this humble roots? I’m interested in some innovation…

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