soul food turnip greens

soul food turnip greens

Taste history with soul food turnip greens! Fresh turnips and roots cooked in bacon drippings giving them deep flavor taste and soul! EZ PZ!

What is Soul Food

Now I’ve lived in the South most all my adult life, 50+ years. So I consider myself somewhat of an ‘expert’ on Southern food. Just remember not all Southern food is soul food, but when you talk soul food, you’re talking about the South and Southern fare. 

Soul Food Menu

Soul food is made up of cheap and common ingredients. It’s an exquisite cuisine that’s made with ingredients that many folks might discard. 

Staples of soul food, all things that I absolutely love, take a look. 

  • Cornmeal
  • Greens
  • Beans 
  • Pork

Then there are other ingredients that you totally find all the time on soul food menus. Orka, rice, fried fish, catfish, flounder, spottails, gravy, Cajun food, stews and soups. Grits! Oh, yes, soul food menus are a feast for the belly! 

Soul Food Seasoning

Soul food seasoning are spices and scraps and pieces of meat. Things like ham hocks, ham bones, pigs ears, fat back, lard, bacon and more. It’s spices and spice mixtures, rubs and the manner in which some foods are cooked, like smoking. Then there’s fried chicken! Oh, gosh, anyone who doesn’t love soul food just needs to try really GOOD soul food. 

Southern Soul Food

Southern soul food is distinct. It’s a cuisine in and of itself. It takes skill to learn how to develop Southern cooking skills as well as soul food cooking. And, those who are icons of soul food cooking come from a rich deep colorful legacy. 

Soul food is good ol’ down-home cooking. It’s big pots and skillets on the stove. And, it’s recipes and foods that are passed down through generations of families who all mostly have their roots in the South

Real Soul Food

I graced the tables of many a Southern grandma cook and many an African-American cook. That’s where real soul food comes from. African-Americans. It is their ethnic cuisine. And, it’s roots are in the South. The term ‘soul food’ popped up in the 1960s. A very tumultuous time in American history for civil rights. It’s the era that I was a part of as a young girl, teenager and young adult. 

Soul Food Turnip Greens Recipe

So, a basic tenet of soul food is greens. Collards. Turnips. Mustard greens. These are planted in the late Fall and they are harvested all throughout the winter and spring. Greens are full of nutrition and good things for you. And, each type of green has its own unique flavor and texture. And, when you mix the greens, it’s a medley of happiness. 

Southern Turnip Greens Recipe

A good Southern turnip greens recipe follows the guidelines of soul food. You want to season those greens with some kind of fat. Simply using ‘oil’ doesn’t give the depth of flavor to the turnip greens. It’s got to be fat. 

Southern Collard Greens  with Bacon

And, collard greens are not different in the seasoning part of cooking. You have to use a deep rich fat source. I’ve used pork neck bones, bacon, fat back, and ham hocks. Ham hocks unlike neck bones aren’t smoked. The smoking of the ham hocks creates a divine flavor for both beans and greens. As a little girl, I remember going with Mom to the butcher and he would give us these parts of the pig. Now you pay for them. 

How to Cook Greens

Greens aren’t difficult to cook. Greens require seasoning. And, this recipe gives you those steps. Some might now like the texture of turnip greens complaining that they’re slimy like okra. If that’s the case, mix them with collard greends. 

Turnip Greens Recipe

You’ll want to try this turnip greens recipe because turnip greens are packed with vitamins (A and C) and you’ll get your fair share of fiber as well as other vitamins, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium and potassium. 

How to Cook Turnip Greens

It’s doesn’t take long for turnip greens to cook. They take somewhat less time than collards because the turnip green leaves tend to be more tender and delicate than the collard leaves, which can be as large as elephant ears. And, the liquid in those turnip greens??? Well that’s called “pot likker”! Yep, that’s divine soppin’ juice for your cornbread! 

Turnip Greens and Ham Hocks

With a slightly peppery taste, turnip greens with pork, be it ham hocks, ham shank, bacon, fat back, whatever you choose, will be fabulous. And, as  you can see I opened a can of garbanzo beans, drained them. Then I sauteed in a little olive oil with a Cajun seasoning mixture. Throw those in your turnip greens and it’s a gourmet meal in a bowl! 

Soul Food Recipes

I cook a lot of Southern and soul food. So if you’re looking for other tasty dishes, here you go!

Coal Miner Pinto Navy Beans

Pork Taco Red Beans

Southern Grits Andouille Sausage & Shrimp

Easy Thin Crispy Cornbread

Smoky Ham Hock Pinto Beans

Bacon Dripping Collard Greens


soul food turnip greens

soul food turnip greens

soul food turnip greens

Yield: About 2 servings


  • 4 slices bacon, thick cut, cut into 3-4 pieces each
  • 3-4 turnip roots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onions, small dice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tbl. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 10-12 cups turnip greens, packed


In a large stock pot over medium high heat, fry the bacon rendering the bacon fat.

Add the onions and diced turnips and sauté about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, blend.

Mix the nutritional yeast, Creole seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl and add to the liquid. Then add the baking soda. Blend.

Add the turnip green leaves and toss and blend with tongs.

Bring to a boil (pot covered) for about 8 minutes. Let the greens wilt. Then turn heat to medium low and cook (covered) about 15 minutes or until tender.


If you'd prefer to use another type of seasoning mixture, like Cajun, Greek, All-Purpose, Soul Food Seasoning mixture, just check the salt content. You don't want your greens too salty.

Adding sauteed garbanzo beans makes the turnip greens a meal. To saute, drain the liquid, add to a small skillet (medium heat) with a splash of olive oil and your favorite seasoning blend. Using the same blend as in the turnips works! Toss and cook about about 7-8 minutes. Add to the greens!

Your sharing is GOLDEN! Thank you!

Your sharing and comments help me stay in business! Share a photo if you make the recipe #allyskitchen Thank you! xo Ally

soul food turnip greens












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  1. Lisa Anderson says:

    Making these today!! Can’t wait they are so healthy and soo good!! XO

    1. Lisa! You’re a turnip lover! WhoooHooooo, so good for us. Those leafy dark greens rock!! xoxx ally

  2. Hi! This looks amazing! Under creole seasoning it just says 2. What is the unit?

    1. Hey, JT! Thanks for that edit heads up! That would be teaspoons! Enjoy. And, you can use any type of green w/this recipe, collards, kale, chard! xoxx ~ally

  3. I can’t wait to try your soul food turnip greens, Ally. It sounds so good, I love leafy greens and this is such a great post, just like all your helpful posts, always something new to add to my cooking repertoire! Thank you Ally!

    1. Hadia! Thank you so much for those complimentary words. I ALWAYS learn much reading your posts, too. Some scroll through to recipe, but when there’s great info like you share, then it’s like you’re talking to me. Yes, this is an easy recipe, and you can use collard greens or mustard greens, too. I sometimes combine all three b/c they’re each unique in their flavors. You can’t mess this recipe up. I like that. And, it’s got a really beautiful history xoxo Thank you!

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