You don’t give turnips any love, do you? In fact, I’d bet you’re turning up your nose right now, just reading the word turnip. You’ve probably never eaten turnips or you hated the way your mom cooked them. If I told you turnips are in the non-starchy vegetable category, but have the texture of potatoes, would you be willing to try them? These apple cider-braised turnips would be a great place to start.
Turnips are root vegetables which means they grow under the ground and therefore absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil. They’re good for you. They are usually round, purple on one end and white on the other, and dirty. (They grow underground, remember?) Turnips are plentiful in colder months, inexpensive, and will keep for quite a while as you muster the courage to cook them. Be aware, however, that the older turnips get, the more bitter they become. The best-tasting turnips are smaller than a tennis ball and recently picked. Grab the best ones at a winter farmers’ market.
Turnips vs. Potatoes
If you’re like most people with diabetes, you cut way back on your potato consumption after your diagnosis. Potatoes are, after all, in the starchy vegetable category. Turnips look and feel like potatoes even though they don’t taste quite the same. Here’s how the two vegetables stack up nutritionally. Note that serving size is 100g and GL stands for estimated glycemic load.
All About Chestnuts
These cider-braised turnips also feature chestnuts. Santa left a pouch of chestnuts in my stocking and, boy, was I surprised when I opened it. Unlike other nuts, chestnuts are extremely soft and chewy. You should also heed the warning to “refrigerate after opening.” I didn’t (that print was WAY too small for these eyes) and they got moldy and disgusting. Fast. Buy chestnuts pre-roasted and “recipe-ready.”
Other Turnip Recipes
If you decide turnips aren’t so bad after all, try them in Root Vegetable Stew and Root Vegetables with Apricots. You can also try substituting turnips for potatoes in some of your favorite recipes (or do a 50/50 mix).
- 1 leek
- 1½ tablespoons ghee or butter
- 2 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into cubes or wedges
- 1 cup unsweetened apple cider
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons dried cherries
- chopped fresh parsley
- Discard all but the white and very light green part of the leek. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and rinse well. (Leeks can hold a lot of dirt in their layers.) Slice thinly into half moon shapes.
- In a large (3½ quart) saucepan over medium heat, melt the ghee or butter. Add leeks and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add turnips, apple cider, and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until turnips are tender.
- Stir in chestnuts and cherries. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Garnish with parsley and serve.
Need a vegan version? Replace the ghee or butter with olive oil.
This recipe makes 6 generous servings. If you want to reduce the carbs, eat a smaller portion.