This Vegan Turnip Gratin gratin may be lacking in traditional ingredients like potatoes, cream, and cheese, but one thing it is not lacking in is flavor.
Unlike potatoes, turnips are low in carbohydrates and calories, and packed with important vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
The creaminess comes from coconut milk; and nutritional yeast and vegan mozzarella offer cheesy components. This recipe also makes use of turnip greens, an otherwise discarded ingredient, reducing food waste.
What are Turnips?
Turnips are vegetables that grow underground - root vegetables. Yams, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, yuca, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, celery root, horseradish, daikon, turmeric, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, radishes, and ginger are a few other popular root vegetables.
Most of the year, you can purchase root vegetables, but their peak season is fall through spring, except beets, the best summer through fall. Root vegetables have a deeper, sweeter flavor when in the season, but they tend to be more consistent than other vegetables.
Want to take a spin at gardening? Parsnips and turnips are among the easiest root crops to grow. And these vegetables can be harvested in temperate gardens through much of the year, thriving and maturing even through the coldest winters.
How to Store
Like most root vegetables, turnips are a hardy and inexpensive ways to keep produce on hand throughout the winter. They store well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It is best to separate the greens from the root and place them in the produce drawer with the greens wrapped in a paper towel. Use the greens within the first week before they start to wilt.
How to Cook
Turnips have a very subtle flavor, making them great to pair with more strongly flavored vegetables. They are great roasted, sautéed, mashed, in soups and stews, and baked like this Vegan Turnip Gratin Recipe. Baby turnips are incredibly delicious when served raw as a crudité with dip or sliced for a salad. They don't have to be peeled, but it depends on the maturity (tougher skin) and turnip variety.
Zero Waste Tip For Turnips
When cooking with turnips, practice zero waste and never throw away the greens! Great when sautéed in olive oil and garlic or braised in vegetable stock with apple cider vinegar and salt & pepper. Turnip greens can be used like kale in many recipes and nutritional addition to soups and stews.
Check out TMF Resources for more Zero Waste Tips!
Did you know that turnip greens provide one of the highest calcium contents per gram of any fruit or vegetable?
Vegan Turnip Gratin
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 cups full fat coconut milk
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
- ¾ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot flour or cornstarch
- 3 large turnips with greens*
- 8 oz day-old bread, cut into ½-inch pieces**
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese plus more for topping vegan
- black pepper
- In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and season with one teaspoon of salt. Cook covered, stirring occasionally until softened and caramelized about 45–60 minutes. If the onions stick or begin to brown, add water one tablespoon at a time. Transfer onions to a large bowl and let cool.
- While the onions are cooking, make the cream sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add the garlic, coconut milk, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, and thyme and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the arrowroot flour, reduce heat to low and let the cream mixture simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside.
- Prep the turnips by removing the greens. Wash and chop the greens. Peel and cut the turnip roots into ½ inch pieces.
- To cook the turnips and greens, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and keep it close by.
- First, blanch the turnip roots by adding them to the pot of water and cooking for about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the turnips from the water and immediately plunge in the ice water. Drain on a paper towel lined dish.
- Next, cook the turnip greens in the boiling water but only for about 1 minute or until vibrant green and tender. Plunge into the ice water and then drain. Squeeze out excess water.
- Add the turnips and greens to the bowl with the caramelized onions. Add the bread, cream mixture, vegan cheese, and season with salt and black pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil. Transfer the turnip/onion mixture to the baking dish. Using a spoon or your hands, press the ingredients down into an even compact layer. Top with more vegan cheese.
- Bake the gratin, uncovered, until well browned, 50–60 minutes.
- Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Note: The Nutrition and Environmental Info does not have plant-based cheese calculated yet.