Japanese Turnips Two Ways

March 22, 2018

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Japanese Turnips Two Ways

Malandro Farm is now bringing Japanese turnips to market, and the greens are as beautiful and delicious as the smooth, white turnips themselves. I’m enjoying the ones I bought two ways this week, thanks to two simple and quick recipes from Deborah Madison, one a braise, the other a soup. As for the butter, what could be fresher and tastier than butter from Old Windmill Dairy?

The Recipes

Early Japanese Turnips with Their Greens and Lemon Thyme

Recipe courtesy of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Yield: four servings


  • 1 bunch of small white Japanese turnips, at least 8 turnips
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs lemon or regular thyme
  • 3/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Splash white wine
  • Freshly milled pepper


  1. Cut the leaves from the turnips, leaving about ½ inch of the stems. Slice the turnips in halves or quarters, as you like, so that they’re all more or less the same size. Wash them in a bowl of water, taking special care where the stems join the bulbs.
  2. Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a small pan with the olive oil. Add 1/3 cup water and the turnips. Season them with the sale, bring the wter to a boil, then cover the pan and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. While the turnips are cooking, slice the greens into strips about ¼ inch wide, then wash them in fresh water. Add them to the pan once the 5 minutes have passed and cook 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons butter, the thyme, and the wine and continue cooking, covered, until the liquid has turned to a glaze and the greens and turnips are tender, 2 minutes. Of course the time will depend on the size of your turnips, so judge accordingly by taking a taste. But know that the greens do not take more than 4 or 5 minutes. Season with more salt, if needed, add just a little freshly milled pepper. Remove the thyme and serve.

Turnip Soup with Turnip Greens

Recipe courtesy of The Greens Cook Book.

Yield: four to six servings


  • 1 ½ pounds small turnips (about 1 to 2 inches across), weighed without their greens
  • Salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, in all
  • 2 to 3 leeks, white parts only (about 8 ounces), sliced
  • 6 branches thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups milk
  • White or black pepper
  • About 2 to 3 cups turnip greens
  • Fresh chopped thyme for garnish (optional)


  1. Peel the turnips (thickly, if they are large and mature) and slive them into rounds about ¼ inch thick. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil; then add 2 teaspoons salt and the turnips. Cover the pot and cook for 1 minute; then drain.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a soup pot with ½ cup water. Add the leeks, the blanched turnips, the thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stew them, covered, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, and then add the milk. Slowly heat it without bringing it to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips are completely tender.
  3. Cool the coup briefly; then puree it in a blender. If necessary, thin it with additional milk or water. Season to taste with salt, if needed, and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Sort through the turnip greens and remove any that are bruised or especially tough looking, and wash them. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, add the turnip greens, and cook them over medium heat until they are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the cooked greens to a cutting board and chop them, roughly or fine, as you prefer; then add them to the soup and serve. Or garnish with fresh chopped thyme.

This locally inspired recipe is brought to you by Pam Walker. Pam is an avid home cook, writer, and local farm and food activist who is also a board member of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute. Thank you, Pam, for helping inspire us to use locally sourced ingredients!