Try a new vegetable with Mona: Turnip, Rutabaga and Jicama

By Mona Van Wart, 

Registered Dietitian with CRH

 

A Facebook follower has asked that I do an article on turnip.

Turnips are a valuable addition to a healthy diet and provide a wide range of health benefits. Turnips are low in calories and fat and provide vitamin C, vitamin B-6 , potassium, fiber and phytochemicals which can improve well-being . ½ cup turnip provides 25 calories, <1 gram fat, 2 grams protein and 5 grams carbohydrate. It is a non-starchy vegetable.  Growing up, we used to have turnip, boiled and mashed for special holiday dinners such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. We would also have chunks of boiled turnip with boiled dinners along with cabbage, onions, and carrots and meat. I really like turnip. It does have a rather strong flavor, though.

To prepare it, peel, wash and cut in chunks. Boil until tender, about 35-45 minutes. Although I prefer it in chunks, the most conventional method of preparation is to mash it like you would potatoes or winter squash.  This weekend I tried out a new recipe for it: Roasted Turnip Sticks. They were really good.

 

Roasted Turnip Sticks

Peel, wash, and cut turnip into strips. Thinly coat with olive oil. Put on baking sheet and cook in an oven that has been pre-heated to 425 degrees F. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes. You may also add different spices or herbs to turnip prior to cooking such as ginger, black pepper, garlic, or any other spices of your choice.

 

This weekend I also experimented with rutabaga, which is another root vegetable that is a lot like turnip but is slightly milder in taste. It has very similar health benefits as turnip. ½ cup provides 33 calories, <1 gram fat, 1 gram protein, and 7 grams carbohydrate.  I tried it by boiling and by oven roasting, the same as I did for turnip. Both ways were very good. Both methods of cooking required the same amount of time as the turnip.

I also tried jicama, which is sometimes referred to as the Mexican turnip. Jicama is usually eaten raw (turnip and rutabaga sticks are also good raw and make a good snack). Jicama can be grated and used in salads and stir fry. It is difficult to cook and mash but it does make good oven roasted jicama sticks. Before you roast them, however, they need to be boiled in water for ten minutes, then thinly coat with olive oil and roast in a 425 degree oven until tender, about 45 minutes. ½ cup jicama has 25 calories, <1 gram fat, <1 gram protein, and 6 grams carbohydrates. It is a non-starchy vegetable. Like turnip and rutabaga, jicama has many health benefits.

If anyone else has a food they would like more information or recipes on, please let me know.

 

Mona Van Wart has been maintaining an online blog about her efforts to grow her own vegetables and to experiment with new ones. Follow along, and get healthy recipes, at www.calaishospital.org/HealthyEating.