These low carb turnip fries are a delicious way to get a healthy serving of vegetables. Pair them with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce as a nutritious side dish or snack!
One of my favorite ways to eat vegetables is to cut them into sticks and call them fries, and these turnip fries are at the top of the list!
Sweet potato fries, zucchini fries – just grab a veggie, cut them into sticks, and call them fries. Any food you can eat with your hands is always more fun.
What are turnips
Turnips are a root vegetable commonly associated with potatoes or beets, but they are actually most closely related to radishes and arugula, members of the mustard family in the genus Brassica.
The turnip or white turnip is commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, fleshy taproot.
Both the bulbous white and purple taproot and the leafy greens on turnips are edible.
The turnips we consume are small and tender, while they are grown much larger and tougher as feed for livestock.
Turnip leaves are sometimes eaten as “turnip greens” (“turnip tops” in the UK), and they are closely related to mustard greens.
Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern U.S. cooking, primarily during late fall and winter.
The smaller leaves will be less bitter, but the bitter taste of larger leaves can be reduced by pouring off the water from the initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water.
While the outer layer of turnips is edible, I prefer to peel that top layer off and get to the layer underneath, which is very bright white in color.
A regular vegetable peeler will work just fine for this. It will peel in small pieces, but does peel easily.
Just a quick peel will remove the skin and get us ready for turnip fries!
When turnips are in season
Turnips are typically in season October through March, and they thrive in cooler climates and temperatures.
They mature very rapidly – within a month, you can enjoy their bright greens, and within a second month, you can eat the swollen roots.
If you’re growing your own, you’ll find that turnips germinate in only a few days. Put out seeds in late summer for an early fall crop.
You’ll find them in season at the store in the fall through the spring. Once the weather warms up, that’s it until next year!
Turnips, rutabegas, potatoes, oh my
Turnips are often used as a low carb substitute for potatoes (turnip fries, anyone?!)
But one of the more closely related vegetables to a turnip is the rutabaga. They are larger than turnips, and also have a rougher and tougher skin.
There are different types of rutabagas that can come in a variety of colors, from white, purple, yellow to tan. Once you cut in, you’ll find that the inner flesh is either yellow or white.
When cooked, rutabaga flesh turns yellow-orange.
Unlike rutabaga, turnips do not have side roots and have a soft outer skin. They are harvested when small.
Rutabagas are sweeter than turnips, and also contain more starch, while turnips are more bitter. Raw turnips are often used in salads similar to a radish.
So: if it’s larger and more yellow and brown in color, it’s probably a rutabega, and if it’s smaller and more white in color, it’s probably a turnip.
Turnips are more commonly served cooked than raw, but can sometimes be found raw in salads or thinly sliced.
To cook, rinse, cut away any greens or roots that are still attached, and you’re ready to go.
Roasting turnips mellows and concentrates their sweetness, or they can be mashed, baked, added to soups or stews, or even cut into sticks and baked into – turnip fries!
The greens can be prepared the way you would mustard or beet greens — washed, dried, and sautéed in butter or oil.
Turnips are a low carb, nutritious vegetable, and can be eaten in lots of different ways.
Cutting turnip fries
When cutting your turnip fries, you want to try and get them all fairly uniform in size. If they’re different widths, they will cook at different rates.
I like to cut mine in half, then put the cut side down and cut them into slices.
I then turn the slices on their side in stacks of 2 or 3 and cut them into sticks that are all about the same width.
You don’t want to cut them too thin, as they will shrink a bit when cooked. They’ll need to be a decent size to hold up to the high heat.
On the flip side, you don’t want to cut them too thick, as they may end up a bit mushy.
Cooking turnip fries
When cooking turnip fries, you want to make sure they’re in a single layer. No stacking!
You can see in my pan above there are some that are touching others, and a couple that are stacked on top. We’re not going for perfection here, they just need some space to breathe.
The ones that are next to each other will shrink down when cooked, and will no longer be invading the personal space of the turnip fries next to them.
The ones that are on top of others or leaning on others will get moved when I toss them halfway through cooking.
Once they’re cooked they’ll have plenty of space.
Crispy turnip fry goodness. Yum.
Serving turnip fries
These turnip fries are a great way to get a healthy dose of vegetables in with your meal. Serve them alongside a burger salad for a delicious meal!
They can also be served as a snack, or simply paired with a protein – we had them the other night with some pork tenderloin and steamed broccoli, and it was so easy and delicious.
My son ate them all, and any veggies that kids eat is a win, amiright?
- 1 pound turnips
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Peel + prep: Preheat the oven to 425°. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer skin of the turnips to reveal the bright white flesh underneath. Trim the ends off the turnips using a sharp knife.
- Slice + dice: Cut the turnips into strips, trying to keep them as uniform in size as possible. If you have thickies and thinnies, they will cook at different rates, so pick a width and stick with it!
- Spice is nice: Place the fries on a sheet pan and toss with the avocado oil to coat. In a separate small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt. Sprinkle over the fries and toss again to coat.
- Cook 'em up: Place the pan in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through. A thicker cut will need to cook longer than a thinner cut!
- Bring it home: Turn on the broiler and prop open the oven door just a crack to keep an eye on them so they don't burn. Broil for 2-3 minutes to get them brown and crispy.
- Sauce is king: Serve with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce.
Turnip fries are an easy and quick way to get in a daily dose of healthy veggies! Keep in mind that turnips are not potatoes - they will have a different taste and texture than traditional potatoes.
Cooking time may vary depending on how thick you cut your turnip fries. Thicker fries will need a few more minutes, while thinner ones will need less. When you go to toss halfway through, adjust accordingly!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 567mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g