Turnip Noodles with Kale Pesto & Chicken

gluten-free-turnip-noodles

This week, we bought turnips at the local Farmer’s Market.  Agricola, a local restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey that also has a farm stand at the market for selling produce, had lovely large turnips, so we bought a few.  The young lady working at the farm stand asked what I like to do with these turnips, so I told her, “They make the best noodles!”.  I LOVE to put them in soups, but turnip noodles are also delicious as a mock pasta.  You do need to cook them in a pan before eating them, but it does not take long at all.  We like these turnip noodles with everything from traditional marinara sauce to carrot marinara or even with pesto. 

This turnip noodle recipe has a kale pesto that is simply made with some Lacinato kale, baby spinach, olive oil, onions, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Sometimes I add garlic for the hubby, who loves garlic, but we left it out this time.  Turnips are low in calories, have pretty much no fat in them at all, and are low carb compared to other starchy vegetables (and especially when compared to traditional grain pastas); plus, they are rich in potassium and vitamin C!

So how do you know what turnips to buy?  Look for ‘baseball sized’ turnips that have minimal to no brown spots on them.  They should be white with purple tops near where the root was attached.   In my experience, smaller turnips are sweeter and the larger ones have more of a ‘bite’ to them.  If you go medium, they are right in the middle and the flavor is still neutral enough to make recipes like this one. 

If you are trying to reduce your carb intake, lose weight, or find another way to get more veggies in your diet (or your child’s diet), try these turnip noodles.  Super easy and healthy!  In this picture, you can see that they start out as a somewhat stiff noodle, but once you cook them a little, they get softer and more pasta-like.  Have fun, vegetable noodle lovers!

 

 

 

 

 

Turnip Noodles with Kale Pesto & Chicken
Serves 4
gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
For the Turnips
  1. 3 baseball sized turnips (this is medium in the world of turnips)
  2. 3 Tbsp of olive oil
  3. 1/2 cup of chopped sweet onion (1/4 inch in size) - onion powder is fine too
  4. 1 Tbsp of oregano
  5. 1 Tbsp of basil
  6. optional: 1 clove of minced garlic or 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
For the Kale Pesto
  1. 1 bunch of Lacinato kale (a.k.a. dino kale)
  2. 2 cups of baby spinach
  3. 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  4. 1 tsp of onion powder
  5. pinch of salt and pepper
For the Turnips
  1. You will need a table top or counter top spiralizing tool for this recipe; hand cranks won't work.
  2. Chop off the two ends of your turnips and then peel them.
  3. Spiralize them into noodles and set aside.
  4. Chop up your onion.
  5. Prep a frying pan with a little olive oil. Turn on medium heat and toss in your onions. Once they start to turn translucent or wilt, add in your spiralized turnips. Drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with your spices.
  6. Cook the noodles until they change in texture to a softer and more pliable noodle. They may darken in color too. Set aside in the bowl you used for spiralizing earlier.
For the Kale Pesto
  1. Wash your kale and pat dry with a towel or paper towel. Remove the coarse parts of the stems using your knife, usually the lower half is adequate. Cut into a large rough cut pieces, as big as 2 inches in length.
  2. Using the same frying pan, add a little fresh oil and put on medium heat again.
  3. Add in your kale, onion powder, and salt/pepper; cook this until the leaves have started to soften and are slightly smaller (they will shrink a bit).
  4. Now add in your spinach for the last minute. The spinach wilts very quickly!
  5. Carefully pour the contents from the frying pan into your food processor or high speed blender such as a Vitamix. Be sure to leave the little hole open in your machine so that steam can be released while blending. Always be careful of splashing!
  6. Blend for about 20-30 seconds or until your greens have turned into a pureed pesto. Scoop out and spoon 2-5 Tablespoons worth onto your turnip noodles.
  7. Eat!!
Notes
  1. I topped this turnip noodle recipe with 1/2 a breast of lemon herb chicken, sliced into pieces. If you want to add chicken, turkey meatballs, or a fish such as salmon or cod...it would likely be fabulous! Keep your flavors similar so that they mesh well when combined.
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