{In Season} Hakurei Turnips

It’s May.

Around here, that means it’s time to enjoy warmer spring days, plant the garden and divide perennials, watch baby leaves unfold from the trees, splash in puddles and observe the reawakening of dormant house cats everywhere. For me, May is also a time to enjoy eating hakurei turnips.

I first tried hakurei turnips a few years ago when I found them in my CSA share. I was still new to local eating and the varied vegetable scene (aside from supermarket veggies like tomatoes, peppers and other “regular” vegetables). “Oh my,” I thought, “here’s another vegetable that I don’t recognize, can’t pronounce, and have no idea how to prepare.” When I found out that I could eat not only the little white, round turnips but the greens too, my enthusiasm perked up. I love eating vegetables that have multiple edible parts – it must be the recycler in me that loves it so much. Hakurei turnips are low-waste vegetables. You cut off very little of each end for scraps, you can use the leaves which sit on very short stems, and you don’t have to peel each turnip. Yes, you heard correctly, you don’t have to peel them, which means they should be in your “I need a quick weeknight meal” rotation. Want know how I prepare them? It’s easy, tasty, healthy and fast.

By the way, I’ve heard them pronounced all different ways, such as: “Hah-kur-ee,” and “Hah-kur-eye.”

Hakurei Turnip Salad

My favorite way to enjoy hakurei turnips is in a salad. The light peppery sweetness of the turnips shines through. On their own, the leaves aren’t tough but they aren’t exactly tender either. However, with a little warm dressing, they wilt ever so slightly and become tender salad greens. This recipe is a favorite because it’s so flexible. You can add other hearty salad greens, such as arugula and mustard greens, and use sunflower seeds in place of nuts.

Prepare this salad in a bowl and dress it just before serving.


1 bunch, hakurei turnips with greens (5 or 6 turnips)

1 bunch, mustard greens or arugula (optional)

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts or sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Prepare the Salad
Rinse and chop into salad-sized pieces the greens from one bunch of turnips and your optional mustard greens or arugula. Put the stems in your compost bucket or freeze them with your other veggie scraps to make stock later on. Put the greens in your salad bowl.

Wash as many turnips as you think you’d like to eat. I usually use 3 or 4. Cut the ends off the top and bottom. Cut each turnip in half and slice thinly. Add the turnips to the greens.

The Dressing
In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, honey, and mustard.

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add pecans or walnuts or sunflower seeds, then the vinegar mixture. Heat thoroughly and reduce the dressing until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat, pour over the salad, and toss to coat all the greens. Top with croutons, if desired. Serve at once.


31 Comments Add yours

  1. Elizabeth Kilpatrick says:

    I even eat the seconds on these raw while I am bunching them!!

    1. Christina says:

      and I eat them raw while selling CSA shares at the stand! Ha Ha!
      (Whoops, was I not supposed to say that out loud?!)

      Hi Elizabeth!

  2. tigress says:

    I cannot wait to eat these again – so happy they’re back! they are awesome fermented the turkish way too! 🙂

    1. Christina says:

      …and could we find this little suggestion of yours on your blog perhaps?! Are we roaring again Tigress?! I’m thinking of doing my recipe recap on Sunday on these turnips and mustard greens. So bring on the link lady!

  3. GroundCherry says:

    The second was is the original Japanese pronunciation, except your syllables are slightly different, with the breaks at: hah-koo-rye (which is actually hah-koo-re-ee slightly smushed together). You must be further south than I am though; we’re not seeing any at the farmer’s market yet.

    I love them raw too! My favorite way to eat them is to slice ’em and dip into various hummus or white bean dips. (This is one of my classics: Artichoke White Bean Spread)

    1. MamaJillian says:

      Thanks for the pronunciation clarification GroundCherry! You don’t know how much it means to me… let’s just say it means a lot. It’s one of my favorite veggies and I’ve always wondered about the *correct* way to say it.
      We’re in Saratoga Springs, NY. Pretty far north! May is the earliest we see them here.

  4. Courtney says:

    I’m so glad to learn about this type of turnip as I haven’t had them before! I passed them up last week thinking they’d have to be peeled and cooked. Your recipe looks easy and delicious so they will be in my basket this Saturday! Thanks Jillian!

    1. jillian says:

      Courtney, I’m glad you’re going to give them a try! Let me know what you think of them.

      1. Courtney says:

        The recipe is a keeper! My family loved it. I used sunflower seeds because that’s what I had the most of and I also cut the turnips into matchsticks which helped them stick to the greens and mix well. Thanks again!

        1. MamaJillian says:

          Matchsticks! I like it!

  5. Dianna says:

    I bought them today and am trying your salad tonight. Thanks

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  10. BETH G says:

    I am wondering if anyone has ever tried making turnip chips by slicing hakurei turnips and drying them. I’m thinking of doing it. Does it work? Any temp and time recommendations?

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