[6] Braised Turnips

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

A delicious (albeit very small) side dish to our salmon dish was a dish out of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. This was our first time eating turnips (at least as adults), so I decided to make something simple that would just highlight their flavor. Furthermore, these were fairly small turnips, which Bittman says are the tastiest. (My friend Pants confirmed this before I’d had a chance to eat them, and who am I going to believe, some nationally known and renowned cookbook author or my buddy?)


2 tbsp butter or extra-virgin olive oil (while we had some amazing butter from the farmers’ market, I opted for the oil)
1 lb turnips, rutabaga, trimmed radishes or diakon radishes, cut into chunks (we used turnips, as should be obvious)

1/2+ c white wine, veggie stock or water (we used inexpensive white wine)

Salt & fresh ground pepper

Freshly squeezed lemon juice (I totally forgot this, and it would have helped)

Chopped parsley leaves for garnish (didn’t have these)


Combine the oil, turnips and 1/2 c wine in a saucepan, sprinkle with salt & pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, then lower heat to keep the mixture at a simmer, adding more liquid as needed (15 – 20 minutes). Check occasionally (once or twice), and cook until the turnips are tender.

Uncover, and bring back to a boil. Boil off most of the liquid, so that the turnips are glazed in the delicious oil/wine mixture (5 – 10 minutes). Adjust seasoning as needed, add lemon juice & parsley if desired and serve.

Cooking and Consumption notes


We got a tiny portion of turnips for our first CSA share, so I quartered the recipe and cooked it in our tiny sauce pan. This worked superbly, and the cooking times only needed to be adjusted downward minimally (something I often forget will need to happen when reducing recipe size). If you do this, though, it will need a lot more attention than if you make the full pound recipe.


Not bad for our first turnips. We most certainly weren’t blown away by them or the recipe, but we felt we got a good idea of what turnips taste like. I will say that this recipe is really one where the cooking adage “don’t cook with something you won’t drink” will really hold true if you use 100% wine for your cooking liquid. Following a tip my friend Angelique had given me in the past, we keep one or two four packs of inexpensive tiny bottles of wine in the pantry for cooking. For red wines in things like stews and chili, this has been a perfect solution to not having a lot of wine around for cooking (I have also taken to freezing wine I’m not going to quite finish before it goes off, but I don’t drink whites nearly as often as I drink reds). However, in this recipe, the wine was a major player, and I think having the lower quality stuff truly impacted the flavor. I wonder if we’d have liked the glaze better if we’d done a stock or water glaze.

Either way, I won’t be surprised if this becomes a “standard” recipe while we get CSA turnips. My other cookbooks aren’t coughing up the turnip recipes yet, and it’s still turnip season.

2 thoughts on “[6] Braised Turnips

  1. Good point about the white wine. Despite preferring red over white, I also feel that cheap white wine is way worse than cheap red wine. I wonder what style of white wine would be good for this recipe…any ideas?

    • I so vastly prefer red over white wines that I occasionally think it’s a failing! Especially for someone who enjoys various beverages of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties so much. We have a couple of whites on the rack that I’m dying to try, but Bill made me promise that if we got both of them (they were vastly marked down), we’d have to wait share them with someone(s) special. As you can imagine, I agreed to that stipulation (and it’s a good one – what if I still hate ’em?). Maybe I’ll throw a bottle in the fridge for when my folks come to visit.

      As for wine styles for this recipe, I think I’d lean to drier varieties rather than sweeter varieties. Maybe a buttery Chardonnay? I would definitely avoid most Rieslings. Possibly a high-alcohol content Pinot Gris/Grigio?

      Yeah, clearly I don’t know.

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