Pan-Fried Turnip Tops {With Garlic & Lemon}

My dad gave me some turnip tops from his allotment last week. It’s quite common to eat turnip tops in Portugal (or nabiças as they’re called over there) but they’re not as well known in the UK. Turnip tops can be used in the same way as young spring greens. With a light bitter taste, they make good as a side dish to rich meat and fish, or wilted into soups and stews.

Turnip tops.jpg

I googled a few recipes for inspiration (there’s a famous Italian pasta dish with turnip tops and anchovies called orecchiette con le cime di rapa - will maybe try this another time) but in the end decided that wilting them in a little olive oil with garlic and a squeeze of lemon was the way to go.

Pan fried turnip tops with garlic and lemon.jpg

This is barely a recipe, but wanted to document it for future reference. The turnip tops are the hero of this super quick and simple side dish which is perfect to accompany salty meats.

Pan-Fried Turnip Tops {With Garlic & Lemon}

  • Makes: 2 servings roughly

  • Hands on time: 5 minutes

  • Cooking time: 5 minutes


  • 2-3 good handfuls of turnip tops

  • 1 tbsp olive

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

  • Sea salt to taste

  • Lemon wedges to serve


  1. Slice the ends off your turnip tops leaving as much of the crunchy stems on as possible. Give them a really good wash, shake in a colander and then tip onto a dry clean tea towel to get rid of as much of the excess water as possible.

  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic for around 1 minute before adding the turnip tops. Stir fry for around 2-3 minutes over a medium heat until the turnip tops have just wilted. Squeeze over some lemon juice, season to taste with sea salt and serve immediate.