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Easy Holiday Turnip Gratin

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Elegant Simplicity: Turnip Gratin Recipe

Turnips may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a sophisticated dish, but this Turnip Gratin will change that perception. It’s a perfect example of how a few simple ingredients can create culinary elegance. Which is why we love this dish on our holiday table. Turnip Gratin might just become your next culinary obsession. A quick and easy process, a sophisticated outcome, and limitless ways to make it your own – it’s a recipe that keeps on giving. So why don’t you try this easy holiday turnip gratin this season and see what you think?

The Turnip Twist: A Flavorful Surprise

If you’ve never ventured into the world of turnips, you’re in for a delightful surprise. These root vegetables are often overlooked but have a lot to offer. Turnips bring a mild, slightly sweet, and earthy flavor to the table. What’s intriguing is how they can mimic the texture and creaminess of potatoes while having their unique character.

Potatoes vs. Turnips: What’s the Difference?

Turnips and potatoes share some similarities; they both become tender and creamy when cooked. However, turnips have a distinct flavor profile with a subtle peppery note. They also offer a lower carbohydrate count, making them a great choice for those looking to reduce carbs while still enjoying a gratin.

Versatility is Key with Turnip Gratin

One of the beauties of this recipe is its adaptability. You can either play around with ingredients to suit your preferences or what’s available in your pantry. Feeling adventurous? Add slices of garlic for a mild kick, or infuse some aromatic herbs. Gratin variations could also include swapping thyme for rosemary, using a mix of different cheeses, or incorporating a layer of sautéed spinach or kale.

Cooking Times for Gratin Variations

  • Basic Turnip Gratin: About 20-30 minutes.
  • Turnip and Potato Gratin: Around 30-45 minutes, as the potatoes will need slightly more time.
  • Turnip and Leek Gratin: A fantastic combination with a cook time similar to the basic recipe.

Turnip Gratin is as versatile as it is delectable. Whether it graces your holiday table or becomes a family-favorite weeknight dish, its simple, easy elegance and adaptability make it a standout choice. Enjoy the delightful world of turnips – you won’t be disappointed!

Pairing Perfection: What to Serve with Turnip Gratin

Wondering what dishes make for perfect companions to your elegant Turnip Gratin? Here are some delicious pairings to complete your meal:

Meat or Seafood

  1. Roasted Chicken/Turkey: The succulent flavors of roasted poultry pair wonderfully with the creamy, slightly peppery turnips. In essence, it’s a classic choice that brings out the best in both dishes.
  2. Baked Salmon: For a lighter option, consider serving your Turnip Gratin with baked salmon. The contrast of the gratin’s richness with the salmon’s mild, flaky texture is a delight.
  3. Pan Roasted White Fish: Similarly to the salmon, a nice flaky firm white fish is a great contrast and compliment to the creamy gratin. Don’t forget a touch of lemon juice to brighten the fish.
  4. Pork Tenderloin: If you prefer meat with a heartier flavor, opt for pork tenderloin. The robust taste of pork pairs seamlessly with the creamy turnips.

Vegetarian Pairings

  1. Mixed Greens Salad: A fresh and crisp mixed greens salad with a light vinaigrette dressing provides a lovely contrast to the gratin’s creaminess.
  2. Braised Greens: Turnip greens sautéed with a touch of garlic and olive oil create a harmonious side dish. The natural bitterness of the greens complements the gratin’s flavors.
  3. Herbed Quinoa: For a plant-based pairing, consider a simple herbed quinoa. The nutty quinoa and fresh herbs add a refreshing balance.

Drink Pairings

  1. Red Wine: To complete your elegant meal, a glass of red wine, such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot, is a superb choice. The wine’s depth and fruity notes complement the gratin’s complexity.
  2. White Wine: A crisp, unoaked Chardonnay complements the mild flavors of white fish while offering a touch of citrus and apple notes that harmonize with the gratin’s creaminess. Or a Sauvignon Blanc, with its zesty acidity and bright, grassy character, is an excellent choice to provide a refreshing contrast.
  3. Beer: A classic wheat beer, like a Hefeweizen, is a versatile choice. It offers a slightly fruity and yeasty character that pairs well with the gratin’s earthy undertones. If serving with white fish, a light and crisp pilsner pairs well with both the turnip gratin and fish. The beer’s clean, slightly bitter profile can cut through the gratin’s richness while complementing the mild fish flavors.
  4. Cocktail: Our Muddled Apple Cider Cocktail would be a delightful and complementary drink choice to pair with the Easy Holiday Turnip Gratin. The cocktail’s apple and bourbon flavors, coupled with a touch of lemon, offer a nice balance of sweetness and warmth. This can harmonize with the savory and creamy nature of the gratin, creating a well-rounded dining experience. The cocktail’s apple notes can particularly resonate with the turnips in the dish.

Ultimately, the versatility of our Easy Holiday Turnip Gratin allows it to pair well with an array of dishes. Whether you’re planning an elegant holiday feast or a cozy weeknight dinner, exploring different combinations will bring out the best in your gratin and keep your mealtime exciting.

Golden brown and flecked with thyme, a photo of turnip gratin in baking dish straight out of the oven.

Easy Holiday Turnip Gratin

Thinly sliced turnips layered with creamy Gruyère cheese, fragrant garlic, and thyme, baked to golden perfection. A simple yet elegant side dish, perfect for weeknight dinners or holiday feasts.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main, Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: comfort, holiday, vegetable, versatile
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: juiceofsevenlemons


  • 2 lbs turnips peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 garlic clove halved (for rubbing onto the slices)
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • fine sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • butter for greasing baking dish
Makes: 9 x 13inch rectangle2inch height


  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C) convection oven, 450°F (230°C) for conventional and grease a 13×9 baking dish with butter.
  • Layer sliced turnips in a few rows in the baking dish; as you layer, rub the cut sides of the garlic clove onto the turnip slices.
  • Season turnips with salt and pepper.
  • Grate nutmeg over turnips.
  • Sprinkle fresh thyme leaves between and over the turnip slices.
  • Scatter grated Gruyere cheese over the turnips.
  • Drizzle cream over the turnips.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 10 minutes (12 for conventional oven).
  • Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown, and the turnips are fork tender when pierced.
  • Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.


  1. Choosing Turnips: Select turnips that are firm and have a smooth skin. Smaller turnips tend to be sweeter and milder, while larger ones may have a slightly stronger flavor.
  2. Slice Uniformly: To ensure even cooking, aim to slice the turnips into consistent thickness. You can use a mandoline slicer for precision.
  3. Variations: Feel free to customize your gratin with additional ingredients. You can add thinly sliced onions, leeks, or even potatoes to create different flavor profiles.
  4. Herb Substitutions: If you don’t have fresh thyme, other herbs like rosemary or sage can be used for a unique twist. You may also omit the herb entirely.
  5. Nutmeg Freshness: Use freshly grated nutmeg for the best flavor. Pre-ground nutmeg may lack the same aromatic qualities. You can skip the nutmeg if you don’t have any.
  6. Cheese Varieties: While Gruyère adds a delightful nutty flavor, you can experiment with other cheeses like Parmesan, cheddar, or Emmental.
  7. Milk Alternative: If you prefer a lighter version, you can use whole milk or a combination instead of cream. Or half and half works as well. This will result in a thinner texture and reduced calorie content.
  8. Serving Suggestions: Turnip gratin pairs well with a variety of main courses. It’s great alongside roasted poultry, pork tenderloin, grilled fish, or a hearty steak. As a vegetarian course, serve it with braised turnip greens or a fresh salad.
  9. Make It Ahead: You can prepare the gratin in advance and store it in the refrigerator before baking. This makes it a convenient choice for holiday meals.

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