Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Bring out the best in winter’s harvest with this turnip, sweet potato and greens gratin. A comforting, and slightly decadent, side dish for any old weeknight or a special dinner, like Valentine’s Day.


I’m not a big fan of turnips. I’ll come around I’m sure, but in the meantime, this gratin really helps. You might wonder why I buy turnips if I don’t like them that much. We get them in our CSA share from In Good Heart Farm so I’m trying to learn to like them. I’m not looking for love, just like at this point.

The last time I made a turnip gratin—I think it was a turnip and potato gratin—it was too turnipy for my taste. With a new batch of turnips in the refrigerator, I knew I had to find something I might actually like. I googled and found a recipe for turnip and greens gratin on the Better Homes and Gardens site. Already, it sounded promising because of the greens, but then I thought, why not add sweet potatoes too?

Bingo! I loooove this turnip, sweet potato and greens gratin. I even love the taste of turnips in there. The original recipe called for frozen pearl onions, but I used regular onions instead.

As you can see in the photo below, my gratin is quite creamy. You could increase the amount of root vegetables by 1/2 pound or decrease the milk/cream quantity by 1/2 cup if you want a less creamy gratin.

Turnip, Sweet Potato and Greens Gratin | Grabbing the Gusto

Turnip, Sweet Potato and Greens Gratin | Grabbing the Gusto

Turnip, Sweet Potato and Greens Gratin

You’ll need a 6-quart Dutch oven, colander, 2-quart baking dish and small bowl.

  • Salt
  • 8 ounces greens, such as turnip, kale, collard and/or mustard greens, washed, stems and thick ribs removed, chopped into 1” ribbons – about 6 packed cups
  • 1-1/2 pounds total (not each) turnips and sweet potatoes (in whatever ration you desire), peeled and cut into about 1/2” to 1” cubes or wedges
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups whole milk, half-and-half, light and/or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1-1/2 cups soft bread crumbs (about 2 slices of bread)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Fill a Dutch oven about 2/3’s full with water. Add salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the greens to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 4 minutes. Add the turnips and sweet potatoes. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes more or until the greens are tender but still vibrant-colored, and turnips and sweet potatoes are tender. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 F. In the same Dutch oven melt the butter over medium-low heat. Cook the onion until nearly soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for a few minutes. Add milk or cream all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Add shredded cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in the cooked greens mixture, making sure greens are evenly dispersed. Transfer to the baking dish.

In a small bowl stir together the bread crumbs and the melted butter. Sprinkle over the gratin. Bake about 20 minutes or until the gratin is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.

Inspired by Turnip Greens and Pearl Onion Gratin, Better Homes and Gardens

Turnip, Sweet Potato and Greens Gratin | Grabbing the Gusto

Turnip, Sweet Potato and Greens Gratin | Grabbing the Gusto

Three years ago on Grabbing the Gusto: Baked Cod, Sausage and White Beans

Four years ago on Grabbing the Gusto: Spicy Cheeseburger Dip

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