Turnips Vs Radishes

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Criminally underrated and overlooked, turnips and radishes often take the backseat in recipes. There is also a lot of confusion between these two because of their similarities in appearance. 

While they are from the same family, these cruciferous belong to two different species and have a ton of other differences in appearance, taste, texture, nutritional value, and culinary uses. 

In this article, we are going to walk you through the aforementioned differences, similarities and benefits of including radishes and turnips in your diet. And as a bonus, we have included some delightful recipes just for you!



Believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, radish or Raphanus sativus is a herbaceous plant of the Brassicaceae family, commonly known as the mustards, crucifers, or the cabbage family. 

The plant’s large and fleshy taproot is what we consume as a vegetable, cooked or raw. Although, the entire plant is edible and the tops can be used as a leafy vegetable. 

In addition to being food crops, radishes are cultivated as companion plants for many other crops, as their pungent odour wards off insect pests as aphids, cucumber beetles, tomato hornworms, squash bugs, and ants. 

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Subclass: Dilleniidae
  • Order: Capparales
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Genus: Raphanus
  • Species: Raphanus sativus L.


Radishes are grown all over the world because of their adaptability, some of the countries which produce them are the USA, UK, India, China, Japan, Brazil, and Spain. 

They come in many varieties depending on where they are cultivated, and have two main types: spring/summer radishes and winter radishes. Here are some popular radish varieties:

  • Cherry Belle: Cherry Belle radishes are bright, cherry red, round and 1” in diameter. They are typically served raw in salads and sandwiches, or as a garnish in savoury dishes because of their mild, crisp flavour and texture.
  • Daikon: Also known as white radish, winter radish, or Oriental radish, this variety is native to East Asia. It is widely cultivated in that region and South Asia, and is eaten raw or cooked in Asian cuisine. 
  • French Breakfast: These two-toned radishes are easily recognizable with their fuschia hues which taper into a white tip. Served raw, they are mild, earthy and peppery. When they are cooked, they develop a mellower, sweeter taste.
  • Black Spanish Radish: Also known as black radish or Erfurter radish, these come in two varieties: one round (7-10cm in diameter) and the other elongated (17-20cm in length). Their edible flesh is encased in a coarse, black or brownish black exterior. These radishes can be spicy, bitter, and pungent when eaten raw, and sweeter when cooked.

Culinary Uses

Radishes are incredibly versatile vegetables, this allows them to take on a range of flavours and textures in a wide variety of dishes. Although, they taste best when eaten raw. 

  • Raw: Radishes’ crisp, snappy texture makes them ideal to be eaten raw. Enjoy their mellow sweet, spicy, peppery flavours in a salad with a simple dressing.
  • Cooked: Roast them, braise them, boil, saute, grill, add them to stews, broths or even toss them in butter, salt and paper for a lipsmacking meal.
  • Pickling: Some radish varieties come out beautifully when pickled. Pickling preserves their crunchy texture and adds complexity to their taste.
  • Garnishing: Varieties like Cherry Belle and Watermelon Radish add a nice pop of colour and visual appeal to dishes. 

Nutritional Value

Did you know that radishes are low in calories but high in nutrients? Here is the nutritional value of just 100 grams of raw radishes.

NutrientAmount per 100 gram% Daily Value
Energy20 kcal
Carbohydrates3.40 g
Sugars1.86 g
Dietary fibers1.6 g
Fat0.10 g
Protien0.68 g
Thiamin (Vitamin B)0.012 mg1%
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.039 mg3%
Niacin (Vitamin B3)0.254 mg2%
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)0.165 mg3%
Vitamin B60.071 mg5%
Vitamin C14.8 mg25%
Calcium25 mg3%
Iron 0.34 mg3%
Magnesium10 mg3%
Phosphorus20 mg3%
Potassium233 mg5%
Zinc0.28 mg3%
Nutritional Value Of Radishes

Also read: Unraveling The Mystery: Zucchini Vs Courgette – Spotting The Differences



Edible turnips were first cultivated as a food crop in northern Europe and spread to Japan through China by 700 AD. Presently, turnips are widely cultivated across western Asia and Europe.

Much like radishes, Brassica rapa var. Rapa or turnip plants belong to the Brassicaceae family and are planted as food crops for their fleshy edible root. Compared to radishes, turnips are more versatile for cooking. 

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida 
  • Subclass: Dilleniidae
  • Order: Brassicales
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Genus: Brassica
  • Species: Brassica rapa


Like radishes, there are many varieties of turnips, each varying in size, shape, colour, taste, texture, and culinary uses. Here are some of its popular varieties.

  • Purple-Top White Globe: The most common variety, this vegetable has a peppery flavour which is ideal for stews and braises. As their name suggests, they have a white body which is 4-6” in diameter and a purple top.
  • Japanese Turnips: Also known as Tokyo Cross or Hakurei turnip, this variety has a white body and is best enjoyed raw to preserve their delicate, natural sweetness.
  • Baby Gold Turnips: These turnips are harvest young and are pale yellow with a lovely golden skin. They are wonderfully sweet and slow roasting them or adding them to meaty dishes adds complexity to their flavour. 
  • Scarlet Queen Turnips: This variety has bright red skin and is the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. Enjoy them sliced in a salad or lightly cooked. 

Culinary Uses 

Like radishes, turnips are versatile vegetables which can be consumed in a variety of ways. 

Bear in mind that young turnips are sweeter and milder, making them perfect for salads and light cooking, whereas mature turnips have a stronger flavour, perfect for slow cooking methods like roasting or mashing.

  • Raw: Depending on the variety and maturity, some turnips can be added to salads thinly sliced or grated. 
  • Cooked: Turnips are delicious when roasted, braised, boiled, sauteed, stir-fried, and even mashed like potatoes! Enjoy them as a side or add them to stews, soups and casseroles. 
  • Pickled: Some varieties can be pickled in salt, vinegar, and spices to make for a yummy, crunchy condiment. 

Nutritional Value

Turnips are a great inclusion to your diet as they are rich in several B vitamins, and minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. What’s more? They are incredibly low in calories! Here is the nutritional content in just 100 grams of raw turnip. 

NutrientAmount per 100 gram% Daily Value
Energy28 kcal
Carbohydrates6.43 g
Sugars3.8 g
Dietary fibers1.8 g
Fat0.1 g
Protien0.9 g
Thiamin (Vitamin B)0.067 g6%
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)0.039 g3%
Niacin (Vitamin B3)0.537 g3%
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)0.187 g4%
Vitamin B60.143 mg11%
Folate21 mcg5%
Vitamin C21 mg35%
Calcium30 mg3%
Iron 0.3 g2%
Magnesium11 mg3%
Phosphorus27 mg4%
Potassium233 mg5%
Zinc0.17 mg2%
Nutritional Value Of Turnips

Differences And Comparisons Between Turnips And Radishes


  • Radishes: Radishes are usually smaller than turnips, being an average of 2-3 cm in diameter. They could also be round, oval, or elongated in shape, and white, pink, red, purple, or black in colour. They’re mostly white on the inside.
  • Turnips: Turnips range between 5-7.5 cm in diameter, round in shape and are typically white, purple, or a combination of the two in colour. They also have a coarser outer skin and white on the inside. 

Flavour Profile

  • Radishes: Radishes have a distinct peppery flavour and refreshing crunch when eaten raw by themselves with some olive oil and seasoning, or tossed in a salad.
  • Turnips: Young turnips have mild, sweet flavour which makes them great for salads. Larger turnips have a stronger flavour (decribed as a cross between potatoes and carrots)  which makes them great for cooking. 

Health Benefits

Since both vegetables are from the same family, they share a lot of similarities in terms of potential health benefits.

Both radishes and turnips are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, lavonoids, anthocyanins, and carotenoids. These compounds help fight cell damage which might result in cardiovascular diseases and cancer. 

Yes, cancer. The glucosinolates and isothiocyanates present in cruciferous vegetables may help fight cancer by inducing apoptosis. Furthermore, studies show that radishes and turnips have anti-diabetic properties and help lower blood sugar levels. 

Nutritional Value

The following table comapres the nutritional content present in 100 grams of raw radishes and turnips. 

Carbohydrates3.4 g6.4 g
Fiber1.6 g1.8 g
Fat0 g0 g
Protein0.7 g0.9 g
Vitamin C16% of the DV (Daily Value)23% of the DV
Folate6% of the DV4% of the DV
Potassium5% of the DV4% of the DV
Calcium2% of the DV2.3% of the DV
Phosphorus1.9% of the DV2% of the DV
Comparison of Nutritional Value Of Radishes And Turnips

It is important to note that radish and turnip greens (the top part of the plants) are even more nutritious than the root vegetables. Cook them or consume them like regular greens to gain the most of these plants. 

Also read: Plantains vs Bananas: Who Wins The Ultimate Nutritional Test?

Yummy Recipes For The Soul


  • Radish Salad: Combine thinly sliced radishes with cucumber, red onion, and fresh herbs like cilantro and mint. Toss the salad with a simple vinaigrette made of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Radish and Avocado Toast: Spread mashed avocado on whole-grain toast and top it with thinly sliced radishes. Sprinkle some sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes for an easy and nutritious breakfast or snack.
  • Radish Kimchi: Use radishes to make a quick and easy version of kimchi. Slice radishes, toss them with Korean chili flakes, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce, and let them ferment for a couple of days for a flavorful and spicy condiment.
  • Radish and Cucumber Tzatziki: Grate radishes and cucumber and mix them with Greek yogurt, minced garlic, lemon juice, and fresh dill. Serve this refreshing tzatziki as a dip or a sauce for grilled meats or falafel.
  • Radish and Goat Cheese Crostini: Spread goat cheese on toasted baguette slices and top them with thinly sliced radishes. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with black pepper for an elegant appetizer.


  • Roasted Turnips: Toss turnip wedges with olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs. Roast them in the oven until they become tender and caramelized. Roasted turnips make a tasty and healthy side dish.
  • Mashed Turnips: Boil peeled and diced turnips until tender. Drain and mash them with butter, salt, pepper, and a touch of cream or milk. Mashed turnips are a great alternative to mashed potatoes.
  • Turnip and Potato Soup: Combine diced turnips and potatoes in a pot with vegetable or chicken broth. Add onions, garlic, and herbs of your choice. Simmer until everything is tender and then blend for a creamy soup.
  • Turnip Fries: Cut turnips into thin strips, coat them with olive oil and your preferred seasonings, and bake until crispy. Turnip fries are a healthier alternative to traditional potato fries.
  • Turnip Greens with Garlic: Cook turnip greens with garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until wilted. This simple side dish is full of flavor and pairs well with grilled meats.


Radishes and turnips are two cruciferous vegetables which have a lot of health benefits in common. Studies show that both are rich in antioxidants which are required to fight chronic diseases and even cancer. 

As for their taste and culinary value, these vegetables can be incorporated into your diet in a wide range of ways from salads to slow roasts. Regardless of which you prefer more, these humble vegetables offer wonderful health benefits.

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