The turnip is a root vegetable that can be eaten alone or added as an ingredient in dishes such as casseroles or hearty soups. It can be cooked by roasting, boiling, microwaving, or sauteing. Turnips are available with or without their edible leaves attached, although they are often sold without them. They are a good source for vitamin C, potassium and calcium.
When preparing to cook a turnip there are several steps that must be taken in advance. Start by cutting and removing the top portion of the vegetable. If there are attached leaves, or greens, set them aside to cook later or add them to the dish if the recipe calls for them. The turnip will then need cleaning and its skin must be peeled. Depending on the method of cooking, cut the turnip into cubes or slices.
A simple way to cook a turnip is to boil it in water that has been slightly salted. After boiling the turnip there are several options on how to serve it or incorporate it into a recipe. One option is to boil several turnips and then mash them. Turnips can serve as an alternative to mashed potatoes when cooked this way. It is also possible to use mashed turnips to create a turnip casserole.
Using the oven is another way to cook a turnip with minimal effort. This can be done by placing a cubed turnip that has been tossed with olive oil inside a small pan and roasting it in the oven. A version of French fries can be made by cutting one or more turnips into strips. Like the roasted cubes they are then coated with oil and baked in the oven.
Sauteing and frying are methods of preparing turnips that take advantage of the stove top. Cooking turnips using either method will produce a tempting side dish for any meal. A version of potatoes O’Brien can be made by using a frying pan to cook a turnip that's been diced along with butter and green pepper. Sauteing turnips cubes with fresh herbs in olive oil is another way to prepare them using the stove top.
Root vegetables are a common ingredient in many stews and soups. Adding raw turnips to the soup's hot liquid will also cook them with minimal effort. Typically the turnips should be diced when added to the soup or, in the case of baby turnips, they can be left whole. The hot liquid will cook the turnips as the stew simmers.
Using a microwave to cook a turnip is similar to boiling. Turnip cubes are put into a bowl with a lid and a small amount of water. The cubes are cooked only until softened. As with boiling they can then be used to create other dishes or seasoned and served as-is.