Recipe: Sauteed Baby Japanese Turnips

Cheryl Paff

Cheryl Paff › Cheryl Paff is the owner of Black-Eyed Suzie’s Upstate, a catering company and traveling food ...


Japanese turnips are becoming increasingly more common and easy to find at farmers’ markets and in your winter CSA. A slightly smaller, more tender cousin to the hearty root vegetables we’re used to seeing, Japanese turnips have a slightly nuttier and sweeter flavor.

Cheryl Paff has a wonderfully simple recipe for Japanese turnips, one she developed for a family holiday dinner that she knew would appeal to everyone at the table. She says:

These Japanese turnips were the perfect solution. They look beautiful and they taste great too. I knew I was getting somewhere the year my brother put ONE on his plate!
UPDATE: My brother had FOUR this year….he said if he knew they were this good he would’ve started eating them years ago. That’s progress.

With just a handful of readily available ingredients and a few bunches of these lovely veggies, you can have a delicious side dish to go with a simple roast chicken or a large, fancy roast. Although this recipe is geared towards Japanese turnips, you can probably substitute in purple top turnips if that’s all you can find, making sure to cut them down in to small enough pieces.


1 bunch of Japanese Turnips
2 Tbsp Water
2 Tbsp White Wine
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


Cut off the leafy greens leaving about an inch of the green stem attached to the turnips. Rinse the turnips under running water, then cut them in half or into quarters from stem to root depending on their size.

Fill a sink or big bowl with water and let the turnip greens soak for a few minutes. Swish them around allowing any dirt or sand sink to the bottom. Lift the greens out of the water and shake them off. Some water clinging to the leaves is fine. Slice the greens into thin strips.

Combine the water, wine, butter and olive oil in a sauté pan and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Add the turnips along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the turnip greens adding 1/4 cup of water along with them and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until the greens are wilted but still bright green.

This recipe originally appeared It is re-posted here with permission of the author.

Have you tried baby Japanese turnips before? How do you like to prepare them?

Photo Credit: Cheryl Paff

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