Humble root vegetables like turnips and swedes deserve to feature regularly on your plates – not just for Burns Night “neeps & tatties”!

These underrated seasonal vegetables can get a bad reputation, but they are surprisingly versatile. When raw, they have an irresistible crunch and a naturally sweet, mildly spicy flavour. When cooked, the texture softens and the flavours become earthy, nutty and sweet.

Turnips are at their best in the colder months, when the hard frosts bring out their natural sweetness by converting the starch into sugars.

Read on for ideas of how to cook and eat turnips.


♥ boil whole, peeled turnips until tender and mash with a drizzle of cream, salt and pepper for a fine side dish to accompany roast meats, or as a rustic sauce to stir through wholewheat pasta

♥ keep the tops: the leafy greens can be wilted, steamed, stir-fried or tossed into salads

♥ enhance the distinctive earthy sweetness by roasting or pan-frying with a sweet/savoury glaze of miso and maple syrup or honey as Rose Prince does in her recipe for Miso glazed roots

♥ make a gratin: slice into thin discs with a sharp knife or mandolin, layer in a buttered earthenware dish with crushed garlic, crisped bacon lardons and generous seasoning for each layer before pouring over cream and baking until golden

♥ small, young turnips are delicious raw and taste similar peppery radishes. Shred finely for delicate salads and slaws, or chop into chunky batons to enjoy as a crudité with dips such as our hot cheddar sauce or salsa verde, or simply open of good quality mayonnaise or smoked houmous for dunking