Turnip Burgers

By • June 16, 2015 16 Comments

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Author Notes: After seeing a recipe for beet and farro burgers that called for puréeing the roots raw in a food processor, I tried the same method with my C.S.A. turnips. It worked beautifully. Everything—root and greens—goes into the food processor together with herbs and rice, which allows the patties to come together in a snap. Fresh breadcrumbs hold the patties together, and a mix of seeds gives the burgers a crunchy texture.

A few tips:

Turnips: I have been using hakurei turnips from my C.S.A. and the farmers market. As an experiment, I made a batch using purple top turnips from the grocery store—and woah! Big difference. The taste was so turnipy that I had to add a carrot and zucchini for sweetness. So, just taste your mixture before cooking—if it tastes super turnipy, which it shouldn't if you are using C.S.A. or farmers market turnips, maybe add a carrot or zucchini to cut the bite.

Seeds: I have been obsessed with this simple seed mix since reading about it the Prune cookbook: equal parts sesame seeds, poppy seeds, millet, and flax. It is so good sprinkled over buttered toast or thrown into any homemade bread or added to things like this veggie burger for texture—the millet especially adds such a nice crunch. Feel free to use any mix of seeds, however.

Use this recipe as a guide. I use it to clean out the fridge of tired herbs, carrots, zucchini, etc. I have only used sushi rice, but I imagine other grains would work well, too.

Finally, I have been serving them with hummus and these zucchini pickles. I think a homemade tahini sauce would be nice here, too.
Alexandra Stafford


Makes 5 patties

  • 3 to 4 small turnips with greens (12 to 14 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • Herbs, whatever you have
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/3 cup seeds, such as a mix of millet, sesame, poppy, and flax
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Grapeseed or canola oil for frying
  • Buns or naan, hummus or tahini sauce, and/or pickles for serving
  1. Remove greens from turnips and set aside. Cut remaining stem end off root and discard. If turnips or greens are dirty, wash or soak briefly to remove dirt, then pat dry.
  2. If you haven't made your fresh breadcrumbs yet, pulse some bread in the food processor before it gets dirtied by everything else. Set crumbs aside.
  3. Roughly chop turnip roots, then pulse in food processor until finely ground. Add scallion, garlic, herbs, 1 teaspoon of salt, and turnip greens and pulse until combined, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed.
  4. Add the rice and pulse briefly to combine—you want the rice to have some texture. Transfer contents to a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs and seeds and mix to combine. Taste. Add more salt if necessary. Add more breadcrumbs if mixture seems too wet. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, portion out 5 patties. Chill until ready to cook.
  5. Place two large sauté pans over high heat. Add a thin layer of oil to each pan. Season patties with salt and pepper on each side. Make sure oil is hot before adding patties. Patties should sizzle when they hit the oil. Immediately turn heat down to medium or medium low and cook for 5 minutes a side. Try hard not to disturb the patties as they cook — if you let them brown over medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, they will not stick, and they will brown beautifully. Depending on your pan, cook two to three patties at a time.
  6. Serve with buns or naan, hummus or tahini sauce, and/or pickles if you have them.

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