Saturday, March 30, 2013

Turnip Greens

It's no secret that I absolutely LOVE collard greens. I've posted about them multiple times on here, and have the art of cooking them down to a science. However, for the most part, I've ignore another fantastic Southern green - the humble turnip green. 

Most people eat the turnip ROOT. Here in the South, we eat the leafy greens. They're similar to mustard greens in flavor, but less bitter. Ideally, smaller leaves are preferred, since they are less bitter than the large leaves. Now, we DO eat the roots as well, just peeled and chopped and tossed in with the leaves. :)

Typically, turnip greens cook a little faster than collard greens. Also, where I prefer a large cut for collard greens, I actually prefer my turnip greens shredded. Though you can cook collard greens for HOURS on the stovetop, my method only requires about 20 minutes! 

Also, ignore any recipes that call for you to add sugar to your greens. Every Southerner knows you do NOT add sugar to your greens or your cornbread - everything else is fair game! 

Turnip Greens

1 large bunch turnip greens
1 turnip root
1 splash apple cider vinegar
6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
Salt to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Wash the turnip leaves in several changes of cold water. Drain the leaves and shred coarsely. 

Peel the turnip root and diced into small cubes. 

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add the turnip greens, turnip root and cider vinegar. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until the greens are bite-tender but not mushy. Drain, reserving about 1-2 cups of cooking liquid. 

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, render the bacon until crisp and browned. Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft. Add the drained greens and root to the pot, tossing to combine. Return the reserved cooking liquid (pot likker) to the greens. 

Season with salt if desired (I use about 1-2 tsp), or crushed red pepper flakes. 


  1. I love, love, LOVE turnip greens! As a good southern girl, I know how to cook collards, but I've never actually made turnips greens myself. Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. Aren't they the best? I think EVERY good Southerner should love collards and turnips (I don't get the whole recent obsession with kale, though). I hope you enjoy the recipe - note, I put two turnips in, even though the recipe calls for only one. That's because I REALLY like the turnip roots :)