Turnip Greens

When I think of greens, I am immediately transported to the south. Hot days, cypress trees towering over slow moving rivers, the smell of fried chicken and barbecue, and a little bit of banjo music come to mind. While a lot of southern food tends to be infamously unhealthy due to their involvement with a deep fryer, greens are full of good stuff, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium and potassium. 

Not only are turnip greens nutritionally dynamite, they are easy to grow, and keep coming back. In fact, you could cut leaves off while waiting for the turnip root to be sizable enough to eat, and not harm the root growth. Leaves keep coming back throughout the growing season. Keep in mind that hotter weather will yield a stronger, more bitter flavor, and overnight temperatures into the 40s bring out a sweeter flavor. Turnip greens can be canned for enjoyment throughout the winter, but cook down significantly, so you will need a lot for a batch in the canner. 

Turnip greens are incredibly fibrous, so they have to be cooked a long time to be palatable. We opted to cook them in a pressure cooker, which worked incredibly well, and only took ten minutes after it came up to pressure. The popular “instant pot” would work the same, although I don’t have one, so I don’t have wisdom on how to set it up. 

Carolina cooked greens

1 lb turnip greens
1/2 onion, diced
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tsp granulated or 2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
6 pieces bacon, finely chopped

  • Wash leaves, then de-stem. Rough chop leaves. 
  • Sweat onions in butter. Add all ingredients except bacon to pressure cooker. 
  • Cook ten minutes once unit is up to pressure. 
  • Use quick release method once cooking is complete. 
  • While greens cook, fry bacon in pan. Spoon greens and onion into pan with bacon. 
  • Stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. 
  • Serve with your favorite southern meal. 

Pasta Amatriciana With Beet Greens


Ama- what? It’s a red sauce that’s slightly spicy. And it has bacon. I’m sure there is scientific research out there that says bacon makes everything better. This dish is no exception. The beet greens aren’t just a way to throw something fresh into a pasta dish, their flavor becomes a cornerstone of this fantastic dish.

When we made it, we used 4 cheese tortellini from Costco, but you can use whatever pasta you have on hand. Top suggestions are spaghetti or penne. If you want to get adventurous, look for bucatini.

Serves 6

5 slices of bacon (no flavored bacon, a little smoke is fine), sliced into 1/4 inch wide slivers
1 lb Your choice of pasta
Half a yellow onion, diced
2 cloves minced or 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dry oregano
Several pinches salt
Several pinches pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper
2 cans crushed tomato
1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Mushrooms (optional), quartered
2 tablespoons butter
12 oz beet greens chopped in 1 inch slices
Parmesan to finishIMG_0210

Sauté bacon on medium low heat. Once thoroughly cooked, remove and set aside.IMG_0209

Start water for pasta. Keep working on the sauce while preparing pasta according to directions.

Sweat (low heat sauté) onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, a pinch of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper 15 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add crushed tomatoes. Add balsamic vinegar. Simmer for 15 minutes uncovered.

IMG_0212In a separate pan, sauté mushrooms and beet greens in butter. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Greens will wilt down quite a bit. Once sauted, add into the red sauce. Keep on low heat until ready to serve. Add half of the bacon, the rest is saved for garnish.IMG_0213

Serve sauce over pasta, finish with the rest of the bacon and parmesan.