Day 218: Creamed Turnips ♥

~ recipe, nutrition & photo updated in 2007 ~

2005: Stop! Even if you turn up your nose at turnips, there's a great-tasting white sauce in that bowl. If you like the idea of creamed anything, you'll want to keep reading.

Me, I happen to like the turnips. But the white sauce is extraordinary, the result of adding simple flavor (bay leaf, whole clove and peppercorns) to the milk as it scalds.

The recipe's inspiration comes from Simply Recipes whose homey culinary approach I admire. There are few recipes there that I wouldn't love to reproduce in my own kitchen. Who else writes about turnips, for goodness sake! (For the record, my take on Creamed Turnips is a bit simpler and a tad lighter than Elise's; you may want to compare the two approaches to see if one better matches your own taste sensibility.)

So these are good. Really good. So good that, ahem, one might make a meal out of 'em. Did I? I'll tell if you'll try them ...

VEGAN CREAMED TURNIPS See Fatfree Vegan Kitchen's Creamed Turnips. Now there are three of turnip-lovin' folks! Or maybe Susan's almost-nine-year-old E makes four?

2007: These turnips are just as good as remembered! This time I used skim milk in the white sauce, which drops the Weight Watchers points to just 1 point per serving.

~ more turnip recipes ~
~ more recipes for creamed vegetables ~

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves 4

Water to cover, salted
1 pound turnips, peeled and quartered (the sauce volume below can handle 2 pounds)

1 cup whole milk (even though I often make white sauce with skim because it's what's on hand)
2 bay leaves (Turkish bay leaves are less bitter than California)
2 whole cloves
2 black peppercorns

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
Kosher salt to taste
Sprinkle white pepper (white pepper doesn't mess up the color but black would be fine for taste)
Sprinkle nutmeg (fresh is always good but regular is just fine)

Bring water to boil in a small pot (if possible, use something other than non-stick so you can mash the turnips in the same pan later) on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the turnips and return to a boil, then reduce heat to MEDIUM to maintain a simmer. Cook until cooked through, about 15 minutes.Drain and return to pot.

While the turnips cook, combine the milk, bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns in a microwave container. Bring it just to a boil in the microwave, starting with 30 seconds, then 15 seconds at a time until just before boiling. Let rest until ready to use. Remove the bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns.

While the milk is warming, melt the butter in a small saucepan on MEDIUM. Stir in the flour until the mixture is thick and silky and without lumps. Slowly -- that means a drop at a time at first, up to a tablespoon at a time -- add the hot milk (have you removed the bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns?), stirring all the time, incorporating the milk completely before adding more. Once all the milk is incorporated, continue to stir for a couple of minutes, finishing the cooking process. It's okay if small bubbles form but don't let the mixture boil. Once the white sauce is cooked, reduce the heat to LOW to hold. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.

When the turnips drained, add the sauce to the pan and mash with a hand masher or hand mixer (it's too big a job for an immersion blender) until somewhat smooth -- though they won't be as smooth as mashed potatoes. Spoon into a serving bowl, then top with another sprinkle of nutmeg.

2005: Made with whole milk, 1T butter, 1T flour, Per Serving: 95 Cal (46% from Fat, 12% from Protein, 42% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 10 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb8; 39 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 71 mg Sodium; 16 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 2 points

2007: Made with skim milk, 1/2T butter, 1/2T flour, Per Serving: 66 Cal (22% from Fat, 20% from Protein, 58% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 0 g Mono Fat; 10 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb8; 3 g Sugar; 126 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 65 mg Sodium; 5 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Hi Alanna,
    Aren't these creamed turnips just amazing? Who would have thunk it. I'm so glad you like them.

  2. Made it last night, veganized, and LOVED it! Thanks for a great recipe. I'll be making this again.

  3. SusanV -- Do I see rutabagas in your future? ;-) So glad you loved these, me too!

  4. mmmm thanks, you make my csa box so much more delicious!

  5. Ah Jenny, I'm drooling, thinking how good this would be with quick-from-the-ground turnips. Thanks for your note!! Let me know what else works for you, it's an inspiration!

  6. I joined a winter CSA last week and was a little overwhelmed with the first share. I was looking for something new to do with turnips when I found your recipe. Wow - the creamed turnips were delicious! Have also tried a few other recipes - all delicious and easy. I've just about gone through the entire 1-week share, just in time for the next pick up tomorrow.

    Thanks for all of the great recipes! I love the website(s).

  7. I'm considering these for a mashed potatoes substitute for my diabetic dad. How big is a serving? Also, do they reheat well? Would they be good as a sheperd's pie topping?

  8. Anonymous - Creamed Turnips would be a great substitute for a diabetic, but everyone will enjoy them! The serving size is 1/4 of the recipe - sorry, I don't often track volume for side vegetables like this. I think they would reheat well, and yes, would be a great topping for shepherds pie. Good luck, let me know how it goes!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna