Turnips are white and round roots with a purple upper part where the taproot has been exposed to sunlight. They are considered to be part of the cabbage family. They contain a lot of vitamin C that helps to boost our immune system.
There are many different ways to prepare turnips, so you can be very creative with them. You can cut them into your salads, boil them, bake them together with other vegetables, or pan-fry them. And do not throw away the leaves of turnips because they are also edible. You can cut the leaves into small pieces and put them in your salad or you can also boil them.
If you do not find good-quality turnips or you do not like their taste you have many options to use as a substitute.
The best turnip alternatives are Swede, rutabagas, parsnip, celeriac, carrot, jicama, salsify, radish, potato, and sweet potato. In the following section, you can read all about how can you substitute turnips in your favorite recipes. And save your recipe.
There are two types of turnips including baby turnips and winter turnips. Baby turnips are in season at the beginning of the summer and they have a sweet delicate taste.
The peak season of winter turnips is from October to February. But you can easily find them in stores all year around. Their taste is different from baby turnips as they tend to be more pungent and peppery.
Turnips are available in vegetable markets, natural food stores, and even in supermarkets all year around. You have to look for them near the potatoes and other root vegetables.
If you want to buy the best quality of turnips, pick the ones that feel heavy for their size and are without blemishes. At home remove the leaves because they can stuck moisture from the root. You can store turnips for many months in a cool, dry, dark place.
Now, let’s discuss some of the best turnip substitutes that can save your recipe if you don’t have turnip on hand. Go through this list and choose what works best for you.
Swede is also a member of the cabbage family so it works well to substitute turnips. It is also called yellow turnip, Swedish turnip, and Russian turnip.
This product is a round vegetable with an earthy and mildly sweet taste. Swede normally has a nice yellow color with green or purple skin. Just like winter turnips, they are in season from October to February.
If you use Swede as a turnip substitute choose the smaller ones because they are sweeter. You can put Swede into your vegetable soup. It also works very well with roast chicken and beef casserole.
Rutabagas are so similar to turnips that if you use them as a substitute you won’t even feel any difference. They have the same look and flavor except that rutabagas are slightly sweeter.
You can use rutabagas for roasting, stews, and soups. Cook them the same way as turnips. It takes the same time to be ready. Rutabagas are easily available in most grocery stores.
Parsnip and turnip are not the same but quite similar so you can exchange them in many recipes. Most people like to use parsnip in soups but it gives a unique taste to many different kinds of warm dishes. It has an earthy nutty taste which is very comforting on a cold winter day.
It is also a bit sweeter than turnips. However, it still works well in many stews, roasts, and soups. You can replace the turnips using equal amounts of parsnips. The cooking time will be the same too.
Celeriac or celery root is another great option to use as a turnip substitute. It is a brownish white-colored root with an earthy flavor. It is very easy to use celeriac.
You can boil, braise, or roast it, and you can even add it to juices and smoothies. If you use it to replace turnips you might need to cook it a little bit longer as it is normally harder. Remove its skin first because it is quite thick.
Carrots are full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and they make a great alternative to turnips. They have a savory, sweet taste with a crunchy texture. So they make a great substitute for you if you do not like foods that taste a bit bitter.
I think I do not need to explain how to use carrots in the kitchen. You can bake, cook, or consume them raw. The best part? If you use carrots as a turnip substitute you do not have to change anything in your original recipe. Use an equal amount and cook for the same amount of time.
Jicama is just another root veggie that can be used to substitute turnips. What I enjoy the most about this product are the starchy texture and the mild sweet taste.
There are many different ways to use jicama. For example, you can prepare a baked jicama fries or a jicama salad. It is also a great fit in most Mexican dishes. This product also has the same cooking time as a turnip. You won’t have to make so many adjustments when you use it as a substitute.
If you reside in Europe or the USA you might be able to find salsify easier than turnips. Luckily, it works well in many recipes in place of turnips so feel free to use it as a substitute. They are brown roots with white flesh.
Salsify is sometimes referred to as oyster plats because it has a similar flavor to oysters. As a turnip substitute, you can use it mostly in soups and stews. It is also commonly deep-fried and served with white sauce. Make sure to boil your salsify and remove its peel before you use it as it can be too hard to eat.
Another great substitute for turnip is radish. It is a very easy-to-grow root vegetable that looks quite similar to the turnip. This veggie provides an excellent flavor to many roasted and stir-fried dishes.
It is a bit less sweet than a turnip bit it won’t make much of a difference. You can adjust the flavor with honey. If you do not mind having something slightly bitter and less sweet, just follow the instructions of your original recipe.
If you are looking for a turnip substitute and you have nothing on hand from the list above, then potatoes can save you. It is not an as good alternative as the other substitutes we listed but it is for sure better than nothing.
I think I don’t have to explain to you how to use potatoes. You can either bake, cook or fry them. I recommend adding some more seasoning when used as a turnip substitute.
10. Sweet potato
Sweet potato is a winter vegetable but you can find it in supermarkets all year around. It is a great substitute for turnip mostly in baked and roasted dishes.
Try to find darker sweet potatoes with thicker skin because this variety tastes more similar to turnips. And keep in mind that sweet potato is softer than turnip so you don’t need to cook it for so long. Sweet potatoes are in season in the winter although you might find them in stores all year.
Do I have to peel turnips?
Baby turnips can be eaten without peeling them. However, the skin of winter turnips is quite hard so it is better to peel them first.
Can I use parsley instead of turnips?
Yes, you can. Use the same amount of parsley to substitute turnips.
How do you get the bitterness out of turnips?
If you find your turnips too bitter I recommend boiling them and stirring in some baking soda after to remove the bitterness.