I talk to my kids every day about eating a rainbow of produce in order to get all the nutrients they need. But you know what color is left out of the rainbow? White.
That is, at least according to my 7-year-old twins when I presented cauliflower to them at the dinner table. What a shame. Have we lost all the love for the contributions of white veggies like onions and cauliflower and all their good-for-you nutrients?
So what better time than winter to celebrate an oft-overlooked white veggie — the turnip! The turnip is misunderstood and passed over all too quickly. Raw, its flavor is sharp, even unpleasant. But as it cooks the turnip softens into a milder, earthy, slightly sweet flavor.
Nutritionally speaking, the turnip is a rock star. A large turnip has only 50 calories, but is jam packed with vitamin C, as well as smaller amounts of all sort of other nutrients. And turnips are a two-for-one veggie, meaning you buy the root and you get the turnip greens for free.
Don’t throw those greens away. They are nutritional powerhouses, too! Wash them, chop them, then saute, steam or braise them as you would any other green. And dunking them in a pot of boiling water for a minute helps remove the bitter taste.
Despite all this great news, outside of pockets of regional turnip lovers, most Americans don’t turn to the turnip very often. A helpful strategy for including turnips at the novice’s table is to pair it with a fellow root veggie. A good way to do this is to combine them in a hash, puree or soup, such as in this roasted garlic, turnip and sweet potato soup.
Tucking into a bowl of veggie-based soup is not only a great health move, it’s also a perfect way to begin a comforting wintery meal. Enjoy the turnip soup as is, or use it as inspiration to match your favorite flavor profile, by adding curry powder, smoked paprika or even orange zest and cumin.
ROASTED GARLIC, TURNIP AND SWEET POTATO SOUP
Start to finish: 45 minutes
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large turnip, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, whole and peeled
2 shallots, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
Chopped chives or scallions, for garnish
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.