Superfood: Turnip

Posted in Nutrition

The white bulbous root often features a coloured top which is a muted purple or pink, where it has been exposed to sunlight.

It has a white interior which can have a slightly bitter flavour, softened by cooking. Most of the magic though, is found in the greens. The smaller and younger the turnip, the smoother and sweeter it will be. The larger the turnip, the ‘woodier’ the texture and flavour.

Turnips can help you feeling fuller for longer, which is a great help with weight loss.


Turnip greens are high in calcium and contain substances which can help prevent different types of cancer. The greens are actually nutritionally richer than the root itself and should be eaten first, as they tend to lose their nutrients more quickly.

With high levels of fibre in a turnip root, you’ll find it’s a great detox aid. It regulates the immune system and promotes a healthy digestive tract, eliminating toxins.

Low in calories (about 28 calories per 100), turnips are a good source of fibre, minerals, iron, copper, potassium, manganese and vitamins C,A,K and B-6.

These wonder-vegetables can also help reduce blood pressure, dilating arteries and promoting a good circulation.

Recipes for Turnip

The easiest way to include turnip in your diet is by including it in a soup or salad recipe, like this one made for two.

The rice and mung beans/dhal are cooked together and just before they are done, the vegetables are added to steam on top. While they are steaming, you make the sauce, and then shred the cabbage. So quick and easy!

For the bowl:

  • 2/3 cup small round brown rice
  • 1/3 cup whole mung beans
  • 2 - 3 small turnips with greens attached
  • 2 cups sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded purple cabbage
  • For serving:
  • 2 Tblsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 Tblsp melted ghee
  • Handful of fresh coriander

Combine the rice and whole mung beans in a medium saucepan, rinse a few times and drain. Add two cups of water to the saucepan; bring to boil over a high flame. Once boiling, reduce the flame and simmer covered until the water has absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Wash the sweet potato, turnip and their greens (if using small turnips there is no need to peel), peel the sweet potato, and chop into 1 cm cubes, then set aside. Break off the thicker stems of the turnip greens, keeping the tiny leaves for garnish, and set aside.

Just 20 minutes before the grains have finished cooking, place the sweet potato and turnips on top of the rice and dhal, then cover. When the grain and vegetables have cooked, turn off the heat and place the turnip greens on top. Keep covered, and leave to sit for 4 minutes for the greens to lightly steam through.

Shred the cabbage very finely, either using a mandolin or a sharp knife, then set aside. Wash and dry the fresh coriander.

Golden tahini-ginger-turmeric sauce

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Tblsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 Tblsp freshly grated turmeric (1/2 tsp powder)
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1/8 tsp fine Himalayan salt

In a small pan, dry-toast the cumin seeds. Once cool, transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder. To the mortar or a bowl, add the grated ginger, turmeric and tahini, then gradually add the water, stirring constantly. The tahini will start to seize up, but keep stirring until smooth and creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well combined. For a more pourable sauce, add water as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more ginger or lemon. The flavours will intensify as the sauce sits.

To assemble the bowls:
Once everything is ready, into the bowls, simply spoon the rice and mung beans with the steamed vegetables and greens on top, drizzle generously with ghee, add the shredded cabbage, fresh coriander and turnip greens on the sides of the bowl and pour over the sauce. Season generously with a few good rounds of pepper and salt, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Posted in Nutrition