Tokyo Turnips with Turnip Top Salsa Verde | CUESA

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market »

OPEN! Sat 8am–2pm | Tue & Thu 10am–2pm

Mission Community Market »

OPEN! Thu 3pm-7pm

Tokyo Turnips with Turnip Top Salsa Verde


Michaela Rahorst, Del Popolo

This recipe, featuring Fifth Crow Farms, was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on June 15, 2019.

Makes 6 servings


4 bunches tokyo turnips (bottoms and tops!)
1 bunch italian parsley
1 avocado
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup black sesame seeds
1 Meyer lemon, for juice
Salt and black pepper to taste


To clean the turnips, snip the greens just above the turnip; it’s best to leave a little nub of green on the turnip. Once clean, the tiny stems are totally edible and tender, not to mention cute! Trim the root end.

Jostle the turnip bottoms in cold water; if the water is dirty, change it out and wash again. Lay the turnips on a towel to dry off extra moisture. Spot check for any blemishes that need to be trimmed.

Depending on the size, cut the turnips in halves or quarters. The goal is that all the turnips are nearly the same size so they will cook at the same rate.

As for the sesame seeds, black and gold sesame is more preferable than the ordinary white variety. In a saute pan over medium heat, toast the sesame until fragrant. Careful, as sometimes the seeds like to jump out of the pan! Buzz the seeds quickly in a spice grinder, which will crack the seeds open and coats the turnips nicely. You could also use a mortar and pestle to crush.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. In a saute pan, add a little olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan; when the pan is hot, add the turnips, and adjust so the cut sides are down; this will encourage even cooking and a nice roasty color. Season with salt. After about 2 minutes, shake the pan to flip the turnips over and then put in the oven for 4 minutes.

Pull the turnips from the oven; transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels to remove the extra oil; pull out the paper towels so just the turnips remain; taste for seasoning; adjust with salt and lemon juice.

Turnip Top Salsa Verde

Makes 2 cups


4 bunches tokyo turnips (bottoms and tops!)
1 bunch italian parsley
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Meyer lemon, for juice
Salt and black pepper to taste


Wash the turnip greens the same way: in a couple of changes of cold water, moving around to loosen any dirt. Spin dry in a salad spinner. Trim and wash a bunch of parsley the same way (a few stems are ok).

Run your knife through the turnip greens so they are more manageable; in a saute pan over medium heat, add one tbsp olive oil. Add turnip tops and parsley and saute quickly until just wilted; transfer to a tray with a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. When cooled, finely chop greens. (Alternatively, this can be done in a cuisinart.) In a bowl, add chopped greens, about ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste.

Cut the stem off the avocado, cut in half and carefully remove the seed. Dice the avocado in the skin, then scoop into a bowl; season with salt and lemon juice; add smashed avocado to salsa verde; adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper and lemon juice.

Scoop a generous spoon of the avocado mixture on a plate; nestle the turnips next to it. Sprinkle with toasted sesame and garnish with some extra parsley if you wish.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »