My experience with turnips has been very limited. I’ve had them diced in vegetable soup and in tiny cubes in frozen turnip greens, but I’ve never let them be the star of their own dish. That all changed last night when I prepared Creamed Turnips, and my life was forever transformed.
Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but I do think I will be using turnips a lot more in the future. The truth is that I had been harboring a vague fear of them because of a very bad experience with the similar-looking rutabaga. That fear arose again last night as I was chopping the turnips because they have a certain sharp odor when raw. But once they were cooked, any sharpness was gone and what flavor was left was delicate and delicious.
I’ve veganized and de-fatted this recipe from one of Alanna’s at Veggie Venture; she, in turn, lightened it up from Elise’s, at Simply Recipes. So, if you’re also a little scared of turnips, notice the fine pedigree that this recipe can claim and give it a try! It’s worth it.
- 1 pound turnips, peeled and quartered (I used 4 turnips)
- 3/4 cup plain, fatfree soymilk
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- salt to taste
- Sprinkle pepper (I used black because that’s what I have; white would be prettier)
- Sprinkle nutmeg
- Begin heating a large pot of water as you peel the turnips. When the water’s boiling, add the turnips and cook until soft. This may take more or less time depending on the age of the turnips; mine took about 25 minutes.
- While the turnips are cooking, put the soymilk into a microwaveable container and add the bay leaves, cloves, and peppercorns. (I strongly recommend using a clear glass container–you’ll find out why when you try to fish those peppercorns out later!) Heat the soymilk until it is just beginning to bubble–I heated it for about 2 minutes, stirring every 15 seconds. Watch it, and don’t let it boil over. (You can do this on the stove if you prefer.) Set it aside until the turnips are done.
- When the turnips are soft, drain them and put them back into the pan or into a large serving bowl. Using a potato masher, mash them well but don’t worry about lumps at this point.
- Mix the 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. Remove the bay leaves, cloves, and peppercorns from the soymilk, and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring as you add it. Put the soymilk back into the microwave (or onto the stove) and heat it, stirring often (at least every 15 seconds), until it’s bubbling and thickened, about 2 minutes in the microwave. Add salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkling of nutmeg.
- Add the sauce to the mashed turnips. At this point, I used my super-powerful hand blender (immersion blender) to puree it to creamy smoothness. If you don’t have one, you can put the whole mixture into a food processor or blender and puree. Check the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed, and serve with a sprinkling of nutmeg on top.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
1 serving (1/4 of the recipe) contains 60 calories; 1g fat; 2g protein; 13g carbohydrate; 0mg cholesterol; 86mg sodium (if you don’t add salt); and 3 g fiber. Those following the Eat to Live plan can count one serving as half of their starchy vegetable for the day.
I could not believe how good this was! The combination of cloves and bay leaves gives the turnips a great flavor that’s not overwhelming. My husband pronounced them “very good” and my daughter…well, let’s just say that if you can let your kids believe that this is mashed potatoes, they’ll probably accept it better. I’m not saying to lie to them or anything, but it was hard to get E. to taste it at first; I swear she would have loved it if she hadn’t known it was turnips.