Braised Turnip Greens Recipe

Updated on January 6, 2018
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Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

A Southern staple in the Appalachian south for generations, turnip greens slowly braised with garlic and red wine vinegar create a luscious, comforting dish perfect for any day.
A Southern staple in the Appalachian south for generations, turnip greens slowly braised with garlic and red wine vinegar create a luscious, comforting dish perfect for any day.

In the Appalachian south, turnip greens are the favorite leafy greens, and the dish I grew up having the most. While collards are more well known, turnip greens are equally delicious and quicker to prepare.

There are a million reasons to love dark leafy greens, and I serve them several times a week. Kale, spinach, collards and turnip greens all take their turn on our supper table. Turnip greens are just about my favorite, and this is exactly how my mother and grandmother made them.

I love the simplicity of this dish, and I love how incredibly inexpensive it is to make this nutritional powerhouse of a recipe. High in fiber and loaded with nutrients, this version is low in fat and high in flavor - everything you could ask for!

One fun tradition I also grew up with is having greens on New Year's day. The story is that greens represent the folding green of money - so the more you eat, the more money the coming year will bring you. The three foods that bring the most New Year's luck are black-eyed peas, pork and dark leafy greens like turnip greens or collards.

Whether once a year or every week, try this simple recipe. It's good for you, tastes great, costs almost nothing, and if it's lucky - even more a winner!

Have you Tried this Recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of Braised Turnip Greens

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch turnip greens, washed and trimmed
  • 1 small turnip diced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons water

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim your turnip greens. This is easiest if you simply fold each leaf in half with the rib on the outside. Grasp the rib and pull it off. Stack several cleaned leaves together, and roll them up, then slice them into ribbons. I show this in the video I posted at the end of this article.
  2. Over medium heat, place the olive oil into a large saucepot. Saute the onion and turnip, with salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes until softened and fragrant, about ten minutes.
  3. Add turnip greens and stir well. Pour in red wine vinegar and water and bring to a boil, stirring well as greens soften. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes or until greens are nicely tender.
  4. Serve hot and enjoy! You can turn the heat to low and hold these for quite a while if you're prepping other dishes. I love these greens with perfectly creamy grits and homemade cast iron skillet cornbread. Mmmmm....

Start with a Large Bunch of Turnip Greens

Wash the greens carefully - dark leafy greens tend to keep hold of sand and dirt, so even 'pre-washed' greens can use a good rinse. Separate the bunch and run the large leaves under cold water. Shake off the excess water, but don't worry about drying
Wash the greens carefully - dark leafy greens tend to keep hold of sand and dirt, so even 'pre-washed' greens can use a good rinse. Separate the bunch and run the large leaves under cold water. Shake off the excess water, but don't worry about drying

Remove the Stems and Trim

Fold the greens in half with the rib to the outside. Grasp the rib and pull back. This removes the majority of the stringy, woody part. Then stack the leaves about 5-6 deep.
Fold the greens in half with the rib to the outside. Grasp the rib and pull back. This removes the majority of the stringy, woody part. Then stack the leaves about 5-6 deep.

Roll Up the Trimmed Leaves

Place 5-6 leaves on top of each other and roll them tightly into a bunch. You can skip this step, but it  makes the finished dish much easier to eat.
Place 5-6 leaves on top of each other and roll them tightly into a bunch. You can skip this step, but it makes the finished dish much easier to eat.

Cut the Turnip Green Leaves into Ribbons

Once rolled, cut each stack of leaves into ribbons by slicing the roll into about 1/2 inch slices. You can also simply tear the leaves into small pieces, but I think this is just as fast and makes a nice, consistent finished dish.
Once rolled, cut each stack of leaves into ribbons by slicing the roll into about 1/2 inch slices. You can also simply tear the leaves into small pieces, but I think this is just as fast and makes a nice, consistent finished dish.

Trim and Dice the Turnip

Cut the turnip into very small dice. Turnips are nice and sweet, and using some fresh turnip as well as the root is beautiful. The sweet turnip is a nice balance against the slight bitterness of the greens.
Cut the turnip into very small dice. Turnips are nice and sweet, and using some fresh turnip as well as the root is beautiful. The sweet turnip is a nice balance against the slight bitterness of the greens.

Saute the Onion and Turnip

Saute the onion and turnip for a few minutes over medium heat in olive oil. Cook them just until they are softened a bit and fragrant, about ten minutes or so.
Saute the onion and turnip for a few minutes over medium heat in olive oil. Cook them just until they are softened a bit and fragrant, about ten minutes or so.

Toss in the Sliced Greens

Toss the turnip greens in with the sauteed onion and turnip. Give it a minute, stirring, until the greens wilt. You'll be surprised at how much volume you'll lose - that's ok. As the water evaporates the flavors intensify.
Toss the turnip greens in with the sauteed onion and turnip. Give it a minute, stirring, until the greens wilt. You'll be surprised at how much volume you'll lose - that's ok. As the water evaporates the flavors intensify.

Season the Greens

Just a few seasonings are all you need to really make the flavor of this dish pop. Kosher salt, fresh black pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes are it, but they are a beautiful combination.
Just a few seasonings are all you need to really make the flavor of this dish pop. Kosher salt, fresh black pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes are it, but they are a beautiful combination.

Add Vinegar and Water

Add the red wine vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. The vinegar helps mitigate any bitterness in the greens, and really makes a nice contrast.
Add the red wine vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. The vinegar helps mitigate any bitterness in the greens, and really makes a nice contrast.

Ready to Serve!

Turnip greens are more tender and sweeter than collards, and they're ready to serve in less time. So good!
Turnip greens are more tender and sweeter than collards, and they're ready to serve in less time. So good!

Check out the Quick Tutorial!

How to Dice an Onion

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Jan Charles

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