Bashed neeps is an old beloved term used by the Scottish for mashed turnips, which typically accompanied their haggis. And that’s how the Scot’s referred to a vegetable they liked! Others, like early New Englanders, ate turnips in stews if only to prevent scurvy. Times have changed and turnips are now available at most every market. They are eaten raw in salads and slaws, simply steamed and seasoned, or combined with other vegetables to make gratins and purees.
Yet, turnips are still often overlooked as an enjoyable vegetable. Sure, throw it into a pot of stock to add depth to the flavor, but ask even adults if they like turnips and you probably will get a look of “yuck”. Last Sunday, at the Dupont market, I bought a few turnips as well as turnip greens (which are among the most delicious deep leafy green you will ever find)*. The young woman who rung up my purchase asked how I intended to use them. She explained that she had tried them recently-just steamed and seasoned-and didn’t care much for them.
Now if the vegetable vendor is at a loss, perhaps you are too and I’d like to tell you how to get more turnip into your diet, or the diets of your loved ones both young and old. Now, I’m not going to get all Jessica Seinfeld on y’all and tell you how fabulous turnips are when secreted away in brownies or cookies and how your wunderkind will eat them without a clue. I’m going to tell you how to combine turnips with other more familiar tubers to get a sense of how to use and cook with turnips. Even Goeth said “Turnips are good, but they are best mixed with chestnuts”.
Nutritionally, turnips offer potassium, iron, vitamin C and are a mere 36 calories per cup.
Here’s a highly nutritious recipe which combines turnips with another nutritional powerhouse-yams. Seasoned, roasted and mashed; turnips and yams are easy, loaded with vitamins and phyto-nutrients, and delicious. Calcium from low-fat sour cream adds even more dietary value to this dish. Last, just a little butter is added for extra flavor!
Puree of Roasted Turnips and Yams
- 3 turnips (2 lbs.) peeled and cubed into 1 1/2″ pieces
- 1 large yam (1 lb.) peeled and cubed into 1 1/2″ pieces
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt (1/2 Tablespoon table salt)
- 1/4 Tablespoon ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place turnips and yams onto a foil- lined, large baking sheet. Pour extra virgin olive oil over vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Place pan on middle rack of oven and roast until fork tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir and shake pan occasionally for even roasting.
Remove vegetables from pan and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add butter and allow to melt. Add sour cream and mash or puree (I use a hand held immersion blender) until all lumps are gone. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
*Here’s the turnip greens sauteed, and stuffed into a turkey meatloaf. This was extra lean turkey and came out dense and dry-I’m working on a better recipe to post so that all the turnip can be used creatively. If you’ve got any suggestions for a lean yet moist meatloaf-let me know. Thanks!