May 21, 2021

Get out of your Veggie Rut with Roasted Turnips in Mustard Vinaigrette. {Recipe}

Today I am grateful.

Grateful for living in the country on our vegetable farm. It provides a much-needed counterbalance to the daily stress and anxiety of watching our world unravel by the seams.

So many things are out of our control, so I focus on the things I can do to live a meaningful life. These include keeping in touch with those I love, planning for an uncertain future, reading, playing games with my wife Val, and above all, cooking with as much creativity as I can muster.

If I am an obsessive cook, Val is an obsessive farmer.

She loves growing vegetables that are unfamiliar to us. These include some that don’t necessarily excite me, like turnips.

Turnips have never been on my radar. When there are so many vegetables that I love, why grow turnips? When I expressed this to Val, she simply said, “Then learn to like them.” She was obviously not deterred. So, grow them she did, while I did my part and explored recipes for ideas on how to use them.

I found myself gravitating to recipes that featured them roasted. I figured most vegetables that are roasted are usually sweeter. Really, I didn’t know what to expect, so I tried a simple side dish that roasted them, then tossed them in a vinaigrette while warm; I imagined similar to a French potato salad. It was certainly worth a try.

I made a vinaigrette using scallions, homemade tarragon vinegar, whole-grain mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh parsley. I reasoned if I like everything else in the recipe, I will have a fighting chance of enjoying them. I butterflied a whole chicken for the grill, and we were in business.

I roasted and tossed the turnips with the vinaigrette, and the sharpness of the mustard with the vinegar and olive oil smelled wonderful. I went out to finish up the chicken when Val appeared shortly after, with a piece of turnip between her fingers.

“It’s time,” she said, and popped it in my mouth.

Frankly, I was stunned! This was a turnip? This is what I had been avoiding? It was delicious! Wow. Val stood there with a smirk on her face.

“I assume we should grow these again?”

I am now a convert. I was so impressed with them I decided to use a similar strategy to roast them with chicken. This time I pan -seared chicken thighs, then pan-roasted turnips with fresh tarragon, course mustard, garlic, lemon zest, white wine, and chicken stock. I then finished the whole thing covered in the oven for 25 minutes. I have found that turnips love roasting, tarragon, and mustard for sure.

Roasted Turnips with Mustard Vinaigrette

>> 1 tablespoon tarragon or white wine vinegar

>> 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard

>> 1 scallion, sliced thin

>> ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

>> 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

>> Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

>> 24 small or 10 larger turnips, cut in half or wedges depending on size


  1. In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, scallion, parsley, and ¼ cup of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the turnips in half through the stems if small, quarter or cut in sixths if larger. In a large bowl, toss the turnips with the remaining cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the turnips on the baking sheet and roast for about 18-20 minutes.
  3. After cooling 5 minutes or so, transfer to a decorative bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6

Roasted Chicken with Turnips, Tarragon, and Lemon

>> 3-4 pounds skin-on, bone-in farm-raised chicken thighs

>> 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

>> Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

>> 6 medium to large turnips

>> 6-8 sprigs fresh tarragon

>> 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

>> 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

>> 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

>> ½ cup dry white wine or white vermouth

>> ½ cup chicken stock

>> ¼ cup heavy cream

>> ¼ cup parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a heavy, oven-proof Dutch oven on a stove top over high heat. Pat the chicken thighs with paper towels, then rub with the olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add to pot and sear 6-8 minutes per side, or until well browned. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Turn heat down to medium. Pan roast the turnips, adding a bit more olive oil if needed, until lightly golden. Add the tarragon, mustard, garlic, vinegar, wine, and stock. Bring to a simmer. Return chicken thighs to pot.
  3. Cover, transfer to oven, and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Instant read thermometer should read 160 degrees F. Remove from oven and place chicken thighs on a plate; cover them with tented foil.
  4. Place pot back on stove over medium-high heat. Reduce liquid by a little less than half. Stir in heavy cream. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
  5. With a slotted spoon, plate turnips for each serving, Top with a chicken thigh; then spoon sauce over both. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Serves 4

* This is an excerpt from my cookbook Twisted Basics: Laugh, Cook, Eat. To order please go to our website or follow my food blog


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