Turnips are root vegetables grown in cold climates with edible roots and greens. Farmers pick them early, when they’re sweet, or just before fall frost, when they’re bigger. Both types are good sources of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins such as C and K.

Adam Kelinson, creator of Organic Performance and author of The Athlete’s Plate: Real Food for High Performance, says the dietary nitrates in turnips yield exercise benefits.

“A 2013 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study found foods with dietary nitrates have vascular benefits such as the reduction of blood pressure,” Kelinson says. “Journal of Applied Physiology studies published in 2009 and ’11 found that nitrates reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise and enhance tolerance for high-intensity exericse.”

Here’s all you need to know to cook a turnip:

“No need to peel the skin; the smaller the better; and greens should be full, tender and small.”

Try Kelinson’s recipe below for a quick antioxidant boost.

Did You Know? The Hakurei turnip is the quickest to grow — and the only variety you can eat raw.


  • 2 bunches Harukei turnips, halved or quartered, with greens reserved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts


  1. Wash, trim, rinse, and dry greens.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in pan.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, and scallions and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add turnips and saute for 5 minutes until they caramelize.
  5. Add the water and greens, and saute for 1 minute.
  6. Splash with vinegar, add pepper, place on plate, and top with pine nuts.
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