Can’t have, can’t find, or don’t like a turnip? Rutabagas, sweet potatoes and parsnips are some of the best substitutes for this veggie in your recipes. Read on to know them all!
I love all the different kinds of fruits and veggies there are out there but I’ve gotta admit; some of them just don’t do it for me.
When a recipe I want to try out calls for an ingredient I’m not the biggest fan of, I simply find an alternative that’ll do.
While I love turnips, I have experimented with a couple other veggies in its place for many recipes and my meals turned out amazing, so, I decided I’d share some of those options with you.
Whether there isn’t any available or you don’t even like turnip, here are some of the best substitutes for turnip that you can use.
9 best substitutes for turnip
- Rutabaga: the perfect alternative for turnip
My very first pick and biggest go-to substitute for turnip, rutabaga is one of the closest alternatives to turnips out there.
Since they’re from the same plant family, they both share many similarities although, rutabagas are a bit sweeter and have more dimension in flavour compared to turnips.
when it comes to their differences in texture, I’d say the rutabaga has a slightly coarser texture. I love using them as a replacement in baked and roasted turnip recipes because I think that’s where they really shine through but they’re also lovely mashed and mixed in stews.
- Sweet potatoes: a nutritious option for turnip
Some other root vegetables are the closest to turnips you can get and sweet potatoes are just that.
Their sweet taste and creamy texture make them a unique alternative and believe me when I saw swapping turnips for potatoes in many recipes is a pretty great idea.
It’s also great that this starchy vegetable is versatile, so you can use them in all sorts of meals. I like them best in roasted dishes and soups as well as stews.
Although the texture of a sweet potato isn’t exactly the same as that of a turnip, I particularly like them as a substitute because of all those amazing sweet potato health benefits you stand to gain by using them in your recipe.
Just take into account their stringiness and sweet taste!
- Parsnips: a mildly sweet and nutritious substitute
Parsnips are another root vegetable on this list that make a great turnip substitute.
Just like turnips, they have a crispy but starchy texture when raw but turn soft and hearty when they’re well cooked. Parsnips also taste a lot like turnips and the only difference I can decipher between the two is parsnips have a slightly sweeter flavor and earthy taste, which makes them a fine alternative for soups and stews.
The nutritional data of parsnips show this carrot-shaped veggie isn’t just tasty, but also super nutritious with its high fiber and vitamin C content.
You could have them in raw turnip recipes but I prefer them in cooked ones as they taste so much better when they’re soft.
- Carrots: a crunchy and sweet substitute
If you’d like a crunchy and sweeter alternative to parsnips, carrots are the way to go.
I have them as a turnip substitute in salads more often but they’re so versatile, carrots will still work great in soups and all kinds of stews.
High in potassium, fibre and the good ol’ vitamin C, carrots may be small but they’re nutritional giants in the world of rooted veggies.
- Kohlrabi: a unique and flavorful option
Also known as the cabbage turnip or german turnip, kohlrabi is a lesser-known veggie that still makes a great replacement for turnips.
Unlike turnips, it’s not a root vegetable but rather a part of the cabbage family.
It’s spicy taste and peppery flavor lends themselves well in a variety of recipes that use turnips like a whole range of stews, salads and even soups.
Roasted kohlrabi cubes (in place of turnip ones) with diced turnips, seasoned with garlic, herbs and topped off with some cheese is one of my favorite root vegetable side dishes.
I like to go heavy with the spice by throwing in some pepper, salt, and horseradish. If you’d like something different, try out any of these spicy horseradish alternatives or kohlrabi substitutes.
Celeriac is also known as celery root and is an exquisite turnip substitute. Texture-wise, they’re firm and crunchy (think of a potato but just a bit firmer) just like turnips but in taste is where they slightly differ.
Sure, celeriac has that earthy flavor we find in other root veggies, but it also has hints of celery in addition to that which makes its taste even more refreshing.
You can use them to make a spicy root vegetable soup or lightly sautee them and add some creamed spinach to make a beautiful, tasty and hearty meal.
Here are six other greens you can use instead of spinach for that.
Jicama is like the low-carb version of potatoes. It’s juicy, has a water content and is a good source of fiber. Jicama’s crunchy texture also means it goes well in a variety of raw turnip recipes (they’re great in slaws!) and cooked ones.
Their taste bears a starchy sweetness to it with nutty hints reminiscent of the other root vegetables.
I tried them as an alternative to turnips for fries with a nice dip accompanied by some chilled coconut water and I haven’t looked back ever since.
The coconut water added a refreshing touch to my meal, but you can have either of these tasty coconut water substitutes instead.
- Parsley root
Parsley roots are kind of underappreciated in the culinary world which is a shame because they make an amazing turnip substitute in many dishes. They’re shaped like parsnips but often thinner and taste like them too.
You can also find hints of the herb whenever you cook or eat this root vegetable raw.
I like to boil them with some heavy cream and churn the mixture to make a puree or roast with other root veggies, olive oil, and finely chopped herbs like some basil leaves but you can have them in so many ways.
You can also try that out with either of these replacements for basil leaves if it sounds like a traybake you’d like to have.
- Daikon radish
And last but not the least, we have the spicy, juicy and somewhat sweet daikon radish.
It’s a long root vegetable with a crunchy texture and is used for a whole range of meals as a turnip substitute.
Daikon radishes can be pickled, spiced, roasted as fries or even sliced and tossed in a warm vinaigrette for a nice salad, you choose!
Check out these daikon radish substitutes if you’d like to know replacements for this unique vegetable.
FAQs for turnip substitutes
The turnip is most like a rutabaga as it’s actually a cross between turnips and cabbage. They’re so much alike, they often get confused for one another.
I have to admit myself, I have picked up a turnip thinking it was a rutabaga once!
Turnips are also called white turnips although, they come in a wide variety of colours with the most commonly known having white and purple skin.
Beets have got quite a lot in common to turnips but they won’t make the best substitutes for one another.
Besides the huge disparity in hues, beets have a sweet but earthy flavour while turnips are more on the spicy side.
Rutabagas, celery root, parsley root and parsnips are root veggies that bear loads of resemblance to turnip.
There’s nearly no turnip recipe you can’t substitute either of these delicious vegetables above for.
A turnip has a taste that’s somewhere in between a cabbage and a radish with mild hints that suggest it’s also very similar to potatoes.
BOTTOM LINE: There you have it folks! Nine bold alternatives for turnips you can have a go at whenever you need to switch your recipe up a bit. I use sweet potatoes, parsley roots and celeriac for a replacement in cooked turnip recipes while carrots, parsnips, as well as rutabagas usually do just the trick in my cooked turnip dishes.
Daikon radish, kohlrabi, and jicama would work well in both but it really all depends on your recipe. They’re all healthy and delicious options that will add flavor to whatever turnip recipe you have in mind!