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Why I Never Turn Down the Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are a big part of my life. Being brought up in the South, turnips are always a staple with family get togethers. Here are two of my favorite turnip green recipes.

Did you know that cooking greens is one of the originally survival foods? This food source has been prepared by humans for over 2,000 years!

Turnip greens are a big part of my life. Being brought up in the South, my grandfather cooked turnip greens for every family get-together. As far back as I can remember, I looked forward to eating that big pot of greens that he brought. There was something about the tanginess of the lemon juice, the smoky flavor from the bacon and the bitterness of the turnip that when combined together created a culinary explosion.

My love for turnip greens has not changed in the 35 years that I have been eating them. What can I say? I’m a southern girl who loves her Pawpaw’s turnip greens. I have ventured out and experimented with other turnip green recipes, and have found ways to add variety with my favorite vegetable.

To my surprise, the green leaves are a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium, and the root is a good source of vitamin C. Turnip greens also contain a good supply of fiber (5 grams) and protein (5 grams).

Pawpaw’s Turnip Greens

  • 1 lb. of turnip greens
  • 5-6 turnip roots, quartered
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • a few slices of bacon,cooked with drippings reserved (cut into bite size pieces)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper


1. Cook bacon and keep drippings.

2. Wash  turnips several time to get the “grit” off. Tear leaves from stems in bite size pieces.

3. Clean turnips, peel and cut in quarters.  Place in large pot and fill halfway with water. Greens will greatly reduce while  cooking so don’t use too much water. Add lemon juice.

4. Chop onions and place in pot.

5. Place bacon and drippings in the pot with the turnips and greens.

6. Cook until tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Cornmeal Dumplings

  • 1 cup all-purpose cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup liquid from cooked turnips


1. Mix all ingredients together.

2. Dipping by teaspoonfuls, gently roll batter in the palms of your hands into approximately 1-inch balls; drop into boiling turnip liquid.

3.  Make sure each dumpling is completely covered in liquid by shaking the pot gently; do not stir. Boil for about 10 minutes.

Tess’ Marinated Greens

Combine together:

  • 1/8 c. virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (use less if you can’t stand the heat)
  • 1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. scallions
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbls. diced onions
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbls. feta cheese


1. Put it in a jar and shake it well.  Pour it over a bunch of washed turnips or collard greens.

2. Toss it with our hands and then marinate it for two hours at room temperature.

3. Turn the food over a few times while it’s marinating so all of the flavors hit all the greens.

4. Just before serving, add a tablespoon of feta cheese.

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on July 7th, 2011

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