Like their leafy green cousins, turnip greens contain an abundance of nutrients important to good health. Scientifically known as Brassica rapa, turnip greens are a cruciferous plant in the same family as other nutrient-dense vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage. Cruciferous plant consumption is associated with lower risk of chronic illness such as heart disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disease.
The entire turnip plant is rich in vitamins and minerals, but the greatest proportion of nutrients are found within the leaf blades. These nutrients include the antioxidant Vitamins A, C, E and K; B vitamins; calcium and folate. Turnip greens are also rich in a unique glucosinolate, or detoxifying agent, called gluconapin.
What really makes turnip greens a powerhouse for supporting good health are the antioxidants, which help the body fight inflammation and play a major role in cancer prevention, healthy aging, and a heart health. Quick steam turnip greens for maximum nutrition and flavor.
One cup of turnip greens packs a whopping 600% of your daily requirement for Vitamin K, which helps keep bones strong and plays an important role preventing osteoporosis. K has also been shown to inhibit vascular calcification and may help reduce coronary events.
The carotenes, including beta-carotene, found in turnip greens help support eye health and protect against eye disease such as macular degeneration.
When selecting turnip greens, buy as fresh as possible and opt for organic if available. Look for deeply colored leaves that don’t show signs of wilting or damage, such as spotting. The greens are often sold while still attached to the large white root. You can roast the roots and use the greens for stir-fry or add to soups or stews.
Greens and Beans with a Kick
Loaded with a natural peppery flavor, Turnip Green Soup is a Southern favorite and a hearty addition to your Fall menu. Perfect for lunch or a light supper, paired with a salad and jalapeño cornbread, or enjoy a smaller serving as a starter to a multi-course dinner.
1 lb chopped fresh turnip greens
16 ounces organic chicken broth (or more, as needed)
10 ounces stewed tomatoes
4 ounces roasted green chilis
16 ounce can navy beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
15 ounce can pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 lb smoked sausage, diced*
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup sliced carrots
2 tablespoons organic olive oil
Pinch creole seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
*Vegetarian Option: You can use large chunks of Portabello mushroom, look for a vegan sausage at a health food store, or create your own vegan sausage.
- Chop, slice, dice, or drain everything first.
- To a large pot, add the first seven ingredients over medium-low heat.
- In the meantime, saute the sausage, garlic, and onion in the oil until sausage is lightly browned and onion is desired tenderness. Add it to the turnip pot on stove. Add carrots and desired seasonings to taste.
- Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, adding more chicken broth if needed or desired.