How to Cook Turnips & Parsnips


Both root vegetables, turnips and parsnips have pale, white flesh and can be eaten raw or cooked. A turnip has round, bulb-like shape with a white and purple skin. Parsnips resemble a thick carrot in shape and have a nubby, cream and brown skin. Peeling the skin off exposes the firm and clean flesh of a parsnip, while a turnip needs no peeling. Low in calories with a long shelf-life, turnips and parsnips contribute fiber to a healthy diet. Cook up a batch of each and serve as a nutritious snack or a tasty side dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Measuring cups
  • Large sauce pan with lid
  • Colander
  • 1/4 sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
  • Measuring spoons
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Parmesan (optional)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Garlic (optional

Steamed Parsnips

  • Wash 1 lb. of parsnips in cold water. Place the parsnips on a cutting board.

  • Trim off the base of the root and the tip with a sharp knife. Peel off the outer layer of skin with vegetable peeler.

  • Slice the parsnips into chunks about 1/4 inch wide. Place in a large sauce pan and add about 1/2 inch of water.

  • Cover and steam the parsnips on medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Check the water level occasionally and add more if it seems too dry. The parsnips should be tender and somewhat soft.

  • Strain the parsnips in a colander. Put the cooked roots into a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup of cream or milk and 1 tsp. of ground nutmeg.

  • Process the vegetables on high until it forms a smooth puree. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.

Sauteed Turnips

  • Wash 1 lb. of turnip bulbs.

  • Place the turnips on a cutting board and trim off the tops and tips of each bulb with a sharp knife.

  • Cut each turnip in half. Make vertical and horizontal cuts to dice the turnip halves into small cubes.

  • Pour 1 tbsp. of olive oil into a large sauce pan. Add the turnips with 1/4 cup of water. Cover the sauce pan with a lid.

  • Cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until you can pierce the turnips with a fork.


  • Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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