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« Lentilicious Sunshine Spread | Main | Quick refrigerator pickles with turnips, daikon, and beets »

Turnip and daikon greens with onion and tahini

If you're lucky enough to find turnips and daikons with crowns of lusty green leaves still attached, cook them together for a bracing, healthy side dish or sandwich filling. Add other robust greens if you have them, including beet greens, kale, and Swiss chard. Jazz them up by also making easy pink refrigerator pickles.

It's hard to believe that these delicious, super-nutritious greens are often cut off the turnips or daikons and used as animal food or compost by farmers or just thrown away by home cooks, who might buy more familiar greens on the same trip. Don't toss daikon radish or turnip greens out. Remember one of the core Cook for Good ideas: you bought it, so use it!

vegan turnip greens and daikon radish greens garnished with turnip daikon and beet pickles

Active time: 30 minutes. Total time: 50 minutes. Yield: about 8 servings. Low-fat, gluten free, vegan.


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow or sweet onion
  • 1 bunch turnips with greens, about four medium turnips
  • 1 small daikon radish with greens
  • 1 beet (greens optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

turnips and daikon radish with leaves attached make healthy thrifty side dishes or sandwich fillings


  1. Mince garlic and set aside so the air can activate its cancer-fighting enzymes.
  2. Pour olive oil in a large pot and spread with your fingers to cover the bottom, then heat on medium low. Chop onion and add to the pot, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  3. Cut greens from the bulbs, saving all but two turnips for another recipe.
  4. Rinse greens well in at least two changes of water, making sure to get any dirt that nestles in the curve of the stems.

    dirt hides in turnip stems close to the bulb
  5. Chop stems into quarter-inch pieces and cook with onion. Chop leaves into ribbons, roughly one-quarter inch wide and three inches long.

    raw daikon leaves look fierce, but they cook into tender greens
  6. Peel turnip bulbs and cut into cubes about one-quarter inch across. Add to onion mixture.
  7. When onion is soft, stir in garlic and chipotle. Add chopped leaves, vinegar, tahini, and salt. Stir, reduce heat to simmer, and cook covered until vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. Serve hot, perhaps with hot sauce, chopped green onions, or turnip-daikon pickles (as shown above). Keeps refrigerated for four days and frozen for a year.


  • This is a very forgiving recipe. Use the greens you have in the proportions that you have them. Use all the turnips if you'd like, although that will make this dish into turnips with greens instead of greens with turnips.
  • If you are cooking for one, use just one daikon and a few green onions to cut the number of servings and cooking time (green onions soften in about two minutes while yellow onions take about five).
  • The restaurant Toast introduced me to the idea of using cooked greens in a sandwich. They make a panini with cooked Tuscan kale, ricotta salata, and sweet and hot pickled peppers that haunts my dreams. (You can order it without the ricotta).

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