Turnip greens?

I hope talking about vegetables in the ‘fruit in the kitchen’ category is acceptable??

I have cooked turnip greens, collard greens, kale, in the past and don’t really remember exactly what I did, but remember thinking I could probably do better. I did like them, but since I am not a Southerner, I think I probably don’t do it justice.

Can I get a little input as to how to cook my turnip greens? A few recipes or tips would be appreciated! I have late fall turnips to pull, so will have a lot of greens to use in short order.
Thanks! :grinning:


Bacon Fat, Onions… and any of those greens… Southern Good for Sure.

Above an official recipe from a rather famous southern restaurant in TN.


I’m not that good at cooking greens, but I enjoy most of them sauteed with garlic. If you’ve got bacon, by all means use it. They can make a good addition to soups. I stir spinach into my chili. You can get fancy on sauteed greens with a crumble of bleu cheese or some such. Or steam them and serve with a drizzle of vinegar and evoo. A robust green like kale or collards could go into a meat pie.


I go for beet greens, bacon, garlic, little balsamic vinegar.

But I’m not a southerner, I’m a yankee through and through.



For one, you can “cold pack” turnip and mustard greens…makes them even better…especially in a blizzard!

I cook 'em…(salt and vegetable oil–bacon/lard not good for you)…
and I eat em.
Vinegar and/or mustard can ‘flavor’ them in the plate as you say grace over them.


I grew up eating them boiled, with - as TNHunter says - bacon grease, onion, and maybe a few pieces of scrap ham or bacon.
But recently, I’ve come to prefer collards over turnip greens - and while I originally ate them simmered with bacon grease and ham bullion seasoning, I’ve come to prefer them sauteed - in bacon grease, of course!, with chopped onion and sweet peppers mixed in, and sprinkled with ham &/or chicken bullion seasoning just before adding a small amount of water to simmer for a short time before serving.

I eat them with home-pickled hot peppers and the vinegar from those… but my maternal grandfather sprinkled his liberally with white granulated sugar.


My lucky discovery this spring (when it was obvious that l planted mine too late and it got hot too fast - plenty of turnip greens, not likely to actually get turnips) was that they make a really quick hot meal with a bit of sausage and tomato sauce. I tried it with Italian sausage (meat) and those vegetarian “sausage” crumbles you get in the frozen section, and it’s good either way. If going with meat, I’d brown it a bit first and then add greens and sauce. If vegetarian, heat up a bit of oil and the sauce, add sausage to mix it up until it starts softening then add greens. I imagine you can do sauce from scratch, but that was my idea for a quick meal, so pasta sauce from a jar it is. And that’s a couple glugs of sauce, not a full jar - the idea is greens seasoned with sauce and sausage, not greens swimming in tomato sauce. Add ons - garlic, and some pepper flakes for a bit of a kick are nice too. Maybe extra fennel seed if the sausage is skimpy on seasoning.

Purists, please don’t tar and feather me for the blasphemous idea of Italian styling turnip greens with tomatoes :wink:


Meat pie… Haven’t thought of that. And seeing how I have robust greens growing like they think they’re a banana tree or something… It’s a thought!


Try mixing them with kale and collards (or by themselves) and saute with garlic, olive oil, and a splash of soy sauce. Or toss them with pasta. Look up recipes for broccoli raab. That’s basically Italian turnip greens, so regular turnip greens can be used in many of the same ways.

If you want to really go for it, look up recipes involving bok choy or Chinese broccoli. Most of the Asian cabbages and greens are also derived from turnips, so they have a similar flavor profile.


Turnips may be my favorite, but I like to mix them with collards and mustard greens. Sometimes a little cabbage for sweetness and texture.

I like to use a couple of good smoked ham hocks, lots of onion, garlic, and a yellow or red bell pepper chopped. Salt, pepper, garlic, cayenne. I cover and boil until the ham hocks are tender and off the bone. Usually I give the ham hocks a head start, and separately saute the onions, garlic and such before boiling.

I like to eat them on a bowl of rice with a little cayenne hot sauce.

Oh, I forgot the most important part. I like to add turnip root chunks the last half hour, so they soften and get translucent, but don’t fall apart.


Quite a recipe you have there!
But, I’ll take mine just a spoon of sea salt and a dab of vegetable shortening.
And, mixing in other species, I prefer to straight turnips. Kale, mustard, dandelions, even beet greens added to turnip greens improves the result for me.

I bring them to a broil for a few minutes…stirring every 5 min or so.
After cooking, serve hot at mealtime.

I use mustard or vinegar to add to the experience before eating.

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The above is like my dad from Louisianna would make them - plus some vinegar, and some other seasoning.

Sometimes, for smaller and quicker side, I’ll do one style of greens - just the greens, salt, olive oil, a pinch of red chili flakes, splash of vinegar, and maybe some smoked paprika. No water. Cover, cook low, stir occasionally, especially during initial wilt until they release their moisture. I’ve mostly done collards, mustard, or the mixed “southern greens” ready to cook from Trader Joe’s. Cook until tender.

I can’t do dandelion - too bitter for me.


You might surprise yourself…50-s and 30-s … and dandelions aren’t that bitter?
In the heat of summer I’d agree.

Maybe I’ve only tried them in the heat of summer. I know, genetically, different people have differences in their bitter receptors. I think I have extra, super, max bitter detection.


Good points.

Myself, in November…I can pick and eat them…and tolerate the bitterness.
In summer not so much.

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Wow thanks :clap: everyone! I knew there’d be folks who really like greens AND know how to cook them! Lots of great tips and recipes here…
@TNHunter , the Loveless Cafe recipe looks straightforward and delish. I wouldn’t have thought of adding diced ham as well as bacon. Might have to omit the honey, but I’m definitely trying this, thanks!
@marknmt, I think that’s the only way I’ve made them in the past, is sauteed in some form of oil/fat with garlic. I love blue cheese, so that’s a great idea right there! My boys would be very disappointed if I included them in a meat pie however :neutral_face:
@Chills I spent the fist half of my life as a Northerner too, so I have to ask for help with things like cooking greens (NEVER even seen a side of cooked greens like this growing up in MN) and making tea (they like sweeeeet tea down here)! I didn’t grow any beets this year, so I am outa luck there.
@BlueBerry, many recipes call for a splash or two of some type of vinegar once they are plated… I haven’t understood the appeal, so I guess I better try it for myself and see what the fuss is all about. :wink: I still have an abundance of dandelion, so I’ll check for bitterness and maybe throw some of those in as well.
@Lucky_P, I have only had collards once but I thought they were fantastic. I was given a huge bunch from a friend (I’ve never grown them) and asked how to cook them. It’s been like 10 years ago, so I don’t recall exactly what he told me to do. Your method sounds fantastic! I have a ton of sweet peppers I just picked & need to find uses for as well. The pickled hot peppers sound good too… not so sure about the sugar though!
@lavender, congrats on your bumper crop of greens this spring! I think your Italian spin on cooked greens sounds like a good one! I won’t criticize!
@jcguarneri, well I would mix them with other greens if I was ambitious enough to go to the store an buy those :sweat_smile: . I hadn’t considered broccoli raab being the ‘Italian turnip green’, so I will peruse some of those recipes, thanks for the tip!
@murky, your dad’s recipe sounds fantastic! Thanks for describing how to cook them with and without water. I wasn’t sure if one way was preferred over the other. Both your methods sound really good, I appreciate having both to try!!


Good luck with your newfound turnip greens adventures! I was thinking about this some more, and realized that I treat almost all greens with one of several Italian or East Asian “templates”. For Italian, my go-to’s are satueeing with garlic and olive oil served as a side dish or tossed with pasta, or put some on a pizza. For East Asian, I go with stir-fried with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce (either by themselves or as part of a larger dish), steamed and drizzled with soy and oyster sauces, or added to the top of a noodle soup. Of course, these are not the only way greens are treated in these cuisines, but if you’re not sure what to do with a green, one of those will almost certainly work.

@Lucky_P @BlueBerry @TNHunter and @murky, I like how much diversity you all (y’all?) have shown in the Southern cuisine greens template.


A quick search, this recipe looks pretty good, although I prefer ham hocks to the bacon and chicken broth. Funny that she includes turnips but not turnip greens.

I’d sub turnip greens for the kale, but kale is fine too. I pick the greens that look good, or are available and mix:

I’d happily eat these collards too: Southern-Style Collard Greens Recipe | The Hungry Hutch

Collards have a uniquely satisfying texture that stands up to a long braise/boil.


With bacon or ham hocks.

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Thanks @murky, those recipes look good too! Now I have a lot to choose from :grin:
@jcguarneri, your 2 methods, Italian/Asian sound basic enough for me to figure out. As long as I don’t over-cook them to mush, I should be able to come up with something tasty!

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