9 Substitute For Turnips

Soups, stews, and casseroles wouldn't be the same without vegetables. Color, texture, and taste add substantially to these dishes. What if someone doesn't like turnips in your dishes? What can you substitute? What is just as colorful and good for you? We're glad you asked.

This is a raw turnip with the chopping board on table.

Everyone knows that veggies are good for you. They have all kinds of healing properties, and some of them taste good, too. Not everyone likes vegetables, though, so someone invented stews, soups, and casseroles in which to sneak them past us.

Turnips are one of the vegetables folks try to sneak by us. They’re crunchy, have few calories, and are just the tiniest bit bitter. They are a colorful addition to soups, casseroles, and salads. However, not everyone goes for turnips. What are some substitutes for turnips?

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Related: What Meat Goes with Turnips | Types of Turnips | Types of Food | Vegetables and Herbs for Symbiotic Farming | How to Store Turnip | How to Clean Turnip Greens | Rutabaga vs. Turnip


Freshly harvested parsnips on a table.

Parsnips are a long white vegetable strongly resembling carrots. It can be grated for salads, cut and cooked in soups, and it can be baked and roasted in other dishes. It’s quite versatile and tastes amazing. Parsnips can taste sweet and nutty.

Parsnips have some interesting health benefits. They’re a high fiber vegetable, which is good for cholesterol. Potassium, Vitamin C and B6 are in parsnips, along with the veggies’ anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.

Celery Root

Fresh celery roots on a table.

If you’re going to use a root vegetable, you can use another. Yes? Celeriac is the name for celery root, a root vegetable like turnips and carrots. It’s a round ball, rough and knobby with a white inside or meat. The green tops are edible, too, but celery root is grown for its versatility and taste.

Celeriac can replace turnips in any recipe or salad. It can be roasted, toasted, grilled, steamed, sauteed, fried, and cut to eat in salads. Its health benefits include the minerals phosphorus, manganese, and potassium. It packs fiber, Vitamins B6, K, and C in its small body.


A pile of salsify root crops.

Not many people have seen a root vegetable that looks like a tree branch. Salsify is a member of the dandelion family and tastes a bit like an oyster. Salsify resembles a parsnip, except for the woody-like outside. It can be mashed, boiled, or used in soups and casseroles. Boil the vegetable and then peel off its outsides to get to the white flesh inside.

Salsify has some impressive health benefits. It can foster the growth of hair, stimulate the immune system, improve digestion, boost bone density, lower blood pressure, improve blood circulation, and boost metabolism. Salsify is packed with magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Parsley Root

These are raw and chopped parsley roots.

Yes, this is the same herb you use to garnish a dish. The root, however, is a different story. Resembling carrot and parsnip, the root combines the flavors and aromas of these and celeriac, but the taste is a little stronger, the aroma more aromatic.

Parsley root can be used in salads, deep fried into chips, added to cole slaw, used in soups and casseroles, as well as cooked as French fries. Low in calories and carbs, parsley root also contributes Vitamin C, B9, potassium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, and iron to the health of the diner.


These are fresh chopped turnip swedes.

A member of the cabbage family, swede confuses cooks due to its resemblance to the turnip. It has a purple top, but its insides are orange. Smaller swede are sweeter and more tender than larger ones. The veggie can be eaten mashed, pureed, baked, boiled, steamed, or roasted.

The health benefits of swede include Vitamin C and A, fiber, potassium, and calcium. It’s low in calories, too.


Fresh jicama sliced into fries.

Another root vegetable, this one features a round ball whose starchy interior resembles a turnip. The insides are juicy and crunchy, the flavor sweet. You’ll most often find jicama cut into fries or cubed for use in casseroles and stews.

Jicima is 85 percent water, so remaining hydrated will be more fun. Your blood sugar won’t suffer due to jicima’s low sugar load. It’s jammed with antioxidants, Vitamin C and B6. Heart health and gut health is covered. It’s a great tasting way to get fiber (it tastes great dipped in nut butter.)


These are roasted potato wedges with herbs and spices.

The above are some of the more exotic root vegetables that most of us have never heard of, much less seen in the grocery store. Here are some classic standbys with which we’re more familiar.

We don’t have to tell you much about how a potato looks and tastes, because you have them almost every day in one form or another. It’s a round brown tuber with a white inside and a starchy, juicy taste.

Protein, fiber, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, magnesium, manganese, Vitamins C, B6, and B9 are offered to diners frying, baking, boiling, roasting, grilling, or mashing potatoes. Add them to soups and stews, casseroles, use as breakfast food, snacks, and, of course, Sunday dinners.


A close look at sliced fresh carrots.

Everyone knows the bright orange root vegetables. They grace soups, salads, casseroles, and carrot sticks are the crunchy go-to for dieters. They can be dipped in any number of appetizing dips for further enjoyment. The bright orange color comes from carrots’ beta carotene content.

Fun fact: did you know that carrots come in purple, white, yellow, and red?

The beta carotene in carrots morphs into Vitamin A inside the body. They’re 88 percent water, which is good for hydration. Carrots offer diners fiber, protein, Vitamins A, B, and K, and potassium. Carrots’ antioxidants help protect against various types of cancer.

Carrots are good for the health of eyes. Another plant compound in carrots helps to protect the heart. While the turnip is also a healthy root vegetable, adding carrots to your meals is a great substitute for turnips.

Sweet Potatoes

This is a close look at various sweet potato slices.

Most folks know sweet potatoes as that orange stuff mixed with raisins, pecans, brown sugar, and other goodies on the Thanksgiving dinner table. Others eat sweet potatoes on every holiday, sometimes at Sunday dinner, and any other occasion on which they can sneak them in. They can be eaten as fries, mashed, stuffed like a loaded baked potato, as well as roasted.

The health benefits of sweet potatoes are many. The 400 percent of Vitamin A in the root vegetables benefits the eyes, the immune system, the heart, kidneys, and reproductive systems. They’re jammed with the B Vitamins, Vitamins C and D, iron, thiamin, calcium, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, potassium, and phosphorus. The carotenoids that give the veggie its bright orange color are also antioxidants that protect the body from damage.


Can You Use Radish Instead Of Turnip?

Appearance isn’t the only difference between radishes and turnips. Radishes are considerably smaller, red with a white flesh, and somewhat zippy or spicy in taste. Turnips are larger, offering several colors (the most common is a purple top,) also with a white flesh. Some types of turnip taste sweet while others are a bit bitter.

Both are crunchy when eaten raw. Cooked radishes change in texture and taste. The spicy taste morphs into sweetness. The texture, obviously, is softer. Raw turnips taste somewhat like cabbage with a spicy taste. Cooked turnips vary depending on the cooking method: roasted turnips are quite good, for instance.

Depending on whether you’re eating them raw or cooking them, yes, radish can be used instead of turnips.

Can You Substitute Rutabaga For Turnips?

Yes. Rutabaga is brown with an orange flesh, while the turnip has a purple top and white flesh. Rutabaga tastes sweet, whereas turnip has a bit of a bite. The best time to buy turnips is when they’re smallish, about tennis ball-sized. The best time to buy rutabaga is when they’re large. They maintain their sweetness as they grow; the turnip doesn’t. The greens are edible as well.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Carrots?

For soups and casseroles, use celery, celery root, or parsnips. For a snack, use jicima or celery.

Can I Use Cauliflower In Place Of Turnip?

Absolutely. Cauliflower offers diners more of everything than turnips, such as water content (0.22 percent,) fiber (11 percent,) and 36 percent more magnesium among other nutrients. The sharp taste will be missing, but the texture should remain compatible.

What Can I Use To Replace Celery?

When you’re cooking a dish calling for turnips, and no one likes turnips, you have to juggle some substitutes. Celery root is one of them. However, if you have no celery in the fridge, reach for some bok choy. Known as Chinese cabbage, it looks like a cross between lettuce on the top and celery at the bottom. It’s part of the turnip family.

Water chestnuts are also a Chinese thing. Crunchy and with almost no flavor, water chestnuts can substitute for celery, substituting for turnip in a pinch.

Cucumbers only go well in cold foods like cold cucumber soup or salads. However, if you don’t have celery, and you’re making a cold dish, then drop some cucumber in for a colorful, crunchy addition.


Miss Vickie Pressure Cooker Times: 10 Best Turnip Substitutes You Can Try

Substitute Cooking: 10 Best parsnip Substitutes

WebMD: Sweet Potato Benefits

Healthline: Carrots

Healthline: Potato Benefits

WebMD: Jicama Health Benefits

Food 52: Parsley Root

BBC Good Food: Salsify

CANR: Parsnips

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