Delicious pan fried turnips with onions and spinach make a scrumptious low carb side dish special enough for the holiday table but easy enough for weekdays.
I’m a huge fan of turnips as a low carb side. My family can’t get enough of these pan fried turnips. If you had told me years ago that my kids would eat turnips, I wouldn’t have believed you!
But they do and for good reason.
These pan fried turnips are just simply delicious with a rich buttery finish and a little smokiness from the scallions. A hint of fresh thyme gives them an earthy slightly lemony flavor.
Pan fried turnips sound great but what do turnips taste like?
Turnips are earthy with a slight sharpness not unlike radishes, however they are less watery than radishes. Turnips are similar to rutabagas in flavor although not as sweet. At times, raw turnips have a mildly bitter undertone or may taste a bit peppery and sharp. However, they mellow in flavor as they cook.
With this pan fried turnip recipe, your turnips will be sweet and caramelized with a rich buttery finish. You won’t be able to get enough of them!
Turnips, a great low carb potato substitute!
Turnips are low in carbs, making them a perfect low carb potato substitute for those watching starches and sugars. They are delicious roasted in the oven, boiled and mashed, or pan fried. And, perfect in low carb soups and stews. When turnips are roasted in the oven or fried in a pan, they become mellow and sweet.
Generally, Low Carbers use cauliflower as a potato substitute. And while roasted cauliflower with bacon and caramelized onions is one of my favorite easy side dishes, the earthiness of root vegetables compliments Fall so well. You can even mash them like my friend Carol from A Chef’s Kitchen does with her parmesan crusted crushed turnips. It’s nice to have delicious low carb potato substitute options available for keto diets.
Rutabagas vs Turnips: Can you substitute one for the other?
Turnips and rutabagas are very similar to each other. Both are members of the cabbage family. In fact, rutabagas are technically a hybrid between cabbages and turnips.
Rutabagas are bigger than turnips and have yellow flesh under a yellow, slightly purple thick skin. Turnips have thinner, white and purple skin and white flesh.
While they are similar in taste, rutabagas are less sharp than turnips and have a lower water content. In most recipes, including this one, you can substitute rutabagas for turnips. If you do, you may need to adjustment cooking time.
Be aware though, if you do substitute rutabagas for turnips, rutabagas are higher in carbs than turnips. If you can’t find turnips in your local store, substitute with radishes.
Do I have to peel turnips?
Small turnips typically don’t need to be peeled. If the skins are thin enough, just wash them and leave them on. If the turnips are larger or the skin looks leathery, peel them. I just use a regular vegetable peeler.
I peeled the turnips I used for this pan fried turnips recipe as they were larger. Since much of the bitterness of turnips resides in its skin, peeling the turnips will result in a mellower flavor.
How to pan fry turnips.
To pan fry turnips, cut them into fourths or possibly sixths if they are larger. Then, cook them in large pan in olive oil until one side browns. Give them a flip, then add the onions and continue cooking the turnips until fork tender. Lastly, add the spinach and butter and keep cooking until your spinach just wilts.
Then you’re ready to serve this delicious low carb side dish to complete any dinner. I like to serve these turnips with herb crusted eye round roast beef or lamb chops.
What other vegetables can I pan fry or saute in a pan?
A quick vegetable saute is a great accompaniment to any meat side. Most pan fried vegetable sides come together in a few minutes. These are a few of my favorites.
- Cabbage Noodles
- Easy Mexican Green Beans
- Sweet and Sour German Green Beans
- Easy Green Beans Almondine
- Green Bean Mushroom Saute
- Easy Sauteed Mushrooms in Wine
- Cauliflower Rice Pilaf
Pan Fired Turnips Recipe with Onions and Spinach
- 1 pound turnips
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter (or more olive oil)
- 1 sprig lemon thyme (or regular)
- 2 tbsp scallions
- 1 cup fresh spinach loosely packed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Peel turnips and cut into quarters or into sixths, if large.
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot add the olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the turnips when the oil shimmers.
- Cook the turnips until browned on one side. Turn them over and add scallions and thyme to the pan. The turnips are ready when a fork piercing the thickest part slides easily through.
- Add the spinach and butter to the pan, sautéing until the spinach wilts. Remove the thyme sprig.
- Season with salt and pepper, taste to adjust seasoning, and serve.
- Serves 4 at 4.5 g net carbs per serving.