Eat for Eight Bucks: Spring Turnip Salad

[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

Shopping List

1 bunch turnips: $2.00
1 lime: $0.25
Beans: $1.00
3 eggs: $0.75
4 strips bacon: $2.00

Pantry items: Apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, honey, yogurt, parsley and/or cilantro, cornbread ingredients.

Total cost (for 3 portions): $6.00

After a winter of contemplating overpriced supermarket turnips that looked like softballs with troubled pasts, last week at the farmers' market I saw a bunch of lovely young turnips with tender greens still attached. I knew they deserved a fate more interesting than roasting with other see-you-through-the-winter staples.

Inspired by a recent post on Food in Jars about a raw kale salad, I made a big chopped salad full of tasty bits on a bed of vinegar-wilted greens. Turnip tops, even young ones, turned out to be a challengingly bitter choice for raw eating. I liked them, but if you prefer a sweet and tender salad green, you should probably buy lettuce instead and cook your turnip tops as part of another meal. (For that matter, if you know you hate turnips, this salad is not going to change your mind. I happen to like them.)

The rest of the salad was inspired by the cornbread salad in The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, which I made a few years ago but did not love. It must be said that preparing this many elements takes some time and effort. The payoff is a meal that is a little fresher and more varied than many inexpensive dinners, where you're often trying to keep things as simple as possible, so I'd call the work worth it.

Spring Turnip Salad

About the author: Robin Bellinger is a freelance editor and shameless cookie addict. She lives in San Francisco and blogs about what she feeds her husband and her daughter at home*economics.

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Eat for Eight Bucks: Spring Turnip Salad

About This Recipe

This recipe appears in: This Week In Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh, young bunch of turnips, stems discarded, greens well washed and sliced into thin ribbons (1/3 inch or less), roots trimmed, peeled, and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, and chives
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 3 hard cooked eggs, peeled and sliced
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
  • 3 pieces of cornbread (your favorite recipe), cut into small cubes

Procedures

  1. 1

    At least a few hours in advance, toss the raw turnip greens with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and a big pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate.

  2. 2

    Put the turnip roots in a medium saucepan with an inch of water, a pinch of salt, and a splash of olive oil. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil hard, covered, until turning tender, about 5 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue to boil until tender enough to eat, a minute or two more. Drain if necessary and allow to cool.

  3. 3

    Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon honey in 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and the lime juice. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in 1/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk and the chopped herbs. Taste and add salt, vinegar, or oil if necessary.

  4. 4

    Dress the beans with 2 tablespoons of the yogurt dressing. Spread some greens on each plate and top with egg, beans, bacon, steamed turnips, and cornbread. Serve extra yogurt dressing on the side.

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