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The Best Way to Cook Turnip Greens

by M.H. Dyer, studioD

Turnip greens deserve a place in your vegetable repertoire, as the inexpensive greens are rich in important nutrients such as calcium, folate, and vitamins A, C and K. Use a simple method to cook turnip greens, then dress up the greens with sweet or savory additions of your choice. With the right flavor combination, even vegetable-wary kids enjoy this healthy vegetable. Fresh turnip greens have bright green leaves and no yellow or wilted leaves.


Turnip greens are easy to prepare for cooking by simply rinsing them thoroughly under cool water to remove sand or grit hiding in the folds of the leaves. Dry the greens by patting them between folded paper towels. When the leaves are clean, use your paring knife or scissors to trim the tough stems.


Sauteing is a wonderful way to cook turnip greens, and because they retain their crispiness and bright green color, sauteed greens are more palatable to many people than greens cooked by any other method. To saute turnip greens, simply heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet, then saute the turnip greens only until the leaves begin to soften. The greens are ready to serve. If you prefer softer turnip greens, add a few drops of broth or water, then cook until the greens are tender.


While sauteed greens are good just the way they are, you can add a variety of extras and seasonings to enhance the flavor. Often, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is enough to bring out the flavors in the greens. Alternatively, add a minced garlic clove and a chopped onion or shallot to the hot oil in the skillet. Dijon mustard added to sauteed greens provides a tangy flavor, while red pepper flakes add a bit of fire. Other seasonings include rosemary, chives, thyme, oregano or marjoram. For an easy way to add a variety of herbs and seasonings at one time, sprinkle on a package of dry dressing and dip mix as you sautee the greens. Add crunchiness by scattering a handful of chopped walnuts over the top of the greens. Young diners often enjoy the sweetness provided by a few raisins or dried cranberries.

Using Greens

Sauteed turnips greens are a stand-out as a side dish for any entrée, or as a standalone light meal, but they are also good incorporated into a variety of foods. For example, add turnip greens to scrambled eggs or an omelet, or incorporate the sauteed greens into soup or stew.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

  • Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images