October 28, 2009

Seasonal Highlight: Harukei Turnips

If parsnips were this season’s new-food disaster, turnips were the success! I can’t get enough of this root veggie and have eaten them for dinner every night this week, so I feel like it’s my responsibility to share the harukei turnip with you!

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While the most common variety of turnips are usually purple and white and can grow quite large, harukei turnips are fairly small (smaller than a baseball) and all white in color. You want to look for turnips with greens that are still fresh and perky (if still attached) and no soft spots on the bulb itself.

Turnips are delicious when steamed, mashed or roasted (or so I read from Gena today, at least), but I think they taste so great raw that I’ve left them undoctored in the following three meals, greens and all!

Since it’s Raw Wednesday and such, it’s only fitting to begin with an all-raw example.

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I sliced two turnips on my mandolin and laid them on top of a simple salad of kale and turnip greens massaged with olive oil and lemon juice.

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I also thawed one of my raw sunflower seed burgers and rolled it up in a sheet of nori spread with some chickpea miso.

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I crumbled a couple of One Lucky Duck’s Cheesey Quackers on top and gave the whole thing a spritz of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.

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To anyone who has tried Cheesey Quackers: do they not taste just like Cheez-its? That is, if Cheez-its were raw and vegan. I never buy Cheez-its anymore, but my love for them began before I can even remember! If you were ever a fan of Cheese Nips, you definitely don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re also a freak.

Back to the ‘nips at hand, however, my second turnipful meal of the week was a glorious noodle bowl.

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Again, I chopped up both the turnips and their greens and piled them on top of my noodles. I boiled a serving of soba and spiralized a zucchini, then tossed everything together in a simple, homemade dressing of miso, tahini and brown rice vinegar.

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I also browned a couple slices of tempeh in a drizzle of nama shoyu. I often overlook tempeh at the store for some reason, but it has such a hearty, nutty taste that I’m enjoying the extra sustenance as the weather gets cooler. So glad I remembered to buy some this week!

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And let’s not forget a bit of arame to top it all off. I’m obsessed with seaweed these days, partly due to my recent macrobiotic investigations. Arame just requires a few minutes of soaking before you can toss it into whatever you’re eating, so it’s a very convenient, super-healthy addition to any meal!

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All those toppings did a pretty good job of obscuring the noodles themselves, though, so I tried to get a picture of the good stuff after I’d started eating. So many layers of awesome!

Last, but not least, the simplest turnip dinner yet:

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Three whole foods only: brussels sprouts, Japanese sweet potato and harukei turnips.

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The turnips and greens got the raw treatment once again, while the Japanese sweet potato (my favorite kind!) was baked for 40 minutes or so at 400*, until fork-tender.

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The brussels sprouts, halved and tossed with coconut oil, salt and pepper, roasted right along with the sweet potato, though I pulled the sweet potato out before the sprouts were done to my liking.

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As you can see, my liking is quite crispy indeed!

…And maybe I overdid it a little. A very little. :)

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As for the dressing/drizzle, I used the same combination of ingredients that got tossed in with the noodles in the second turnip meal above. Here is the formula I like:

  • 1.5 tbsp raw tahini
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp warm water

Whizz everything in a blender or simply whisk together with a fork until smooth. Makes about 1/2 cup.

If you were new to turnips before reading this, I hope you’re inspired to try them before they’re out of season! I find them to be mild, juicy, crunchy and a wonderful complement to heavier root veggies, like sweet potatoes.

Be sure to let me know if they turnip in your next autumnal meal. ZING! [Insert bad-pun groans that I will ignore here.]

19 comments:

emily said...

That all looks delicious, brussels sprouts are my favorite food! The husband has been calling me Turnip all week though so I have to excited about that!

Lele said...

Japanese sweet potatoes are amazing! And brussels sprouts! And everything else, obvi.
But I do have to express my especial love for Japanese sweet potatoes. They're SO COOL! And confusing- your eyes say "potato", your brain says "yammy yam!"

Devan Geselle. N said...

that japanese sweet potato looks awesome! same with the brussle sprouts! I have a bunch in my fridge that I must use up!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

What an interesting salad! All your food looks so beautifully prepared and presented.

Mama Pea said...

Your plates have me DROOLING. Can you get those crackers into a shape of a little goldfish with a smile, please?

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

Wow what a great post! Turnips. Used to get them in my CSA box all the time in the fall in San Diego. I never ever tried them raw. Now I totally wish I would have! Mandolin and me are 1 slice away from me losing my thumb so I am scared of my M but may have to break it back out soon. LOL

I am glad to know that not only were you a candy sorter & organizer and all that candy went stale before you could even eat it or Xmas came (me too!!!) but you also like Cheeze Its. I preferred Nibs to Its but either were fine. Havent had either in over a decade, bet I would love the O L Duck crackers. SIgh. Another mail order item that I wish I could have now!

Diana said...

My mom actually uses turnips on soup. It's turnip and pumpkin, instead of potatoes. :)

Everything looks amazing eheh

VeggieGirl said...

So glad you liked it! I'll have to try it myself :)

MizFit said...

I hear you saying in need to introduce my child to turnips before...she becomes like her mama and turnips (rimshot?) her nose at them :)

Shannon said...

hmm, so does that variety taste like the purple-ish ones? cause i tried that last year and it wasn't my cup of tea...

katherine said...

I love that you've had turnips every day this week!! And now I'm totally in the mood for some roasted brussels sprouts - I like mine crispy too!

K from ksgoodeats said...

I've never had a turnip before but your dishes look delicious! I also haven't had brussels before. I need to branch out, don't you think?!

I LOVED Cheez-Its back in the day. Cheese Nips were okay but Cheez-Its knew what was up :)

Gena said...

Yum! Don't get sick of turnips yet -- they make a wee appearance in dinner tonight.

The Candid RD said...

Turnips might be the one vegetable I have NEVER tried. Or at least, I don't remember trying them. I probably have had one before but the impression wasn't lasting. However you've sold me on the idea that I should try them again! And, your roasted brussel sprouts look amazing!

Christine said...

Very cool salad and beautiful pictures!

Olga @ Healthing It said...

I actually think turnips are absolutely disgusting. They taste like sweat to me!

Erica said...

Would you believe I have not tried turnips? Need to get on this. Those brussels look so freaking good. Hope you have a fabulous weekend doll baby

Paige (running around normal) said...

Wow that salad looks amazing! I wish I could make that. Such awesome ingredients:)

Jessica said...

Wow, what a beautiful post! I love your raw salad, you've provided a great inspiration! (I just recently started 'raw Wednesday' lunches...baby steps!)

A friend just made for me the Oden from "Angelica Kitchen" cookbook - it was glorious - exotic root veggies and radish, yummm!