Turnip Green Tart Recipe

I'm back from Portland. This recipe was inspired by a bag of chervil, turnip greens, and beautiful heirloom red celery given to me by June Taylor just before leaving. The tart is made with a buttery cornmeal crust, and a mustard-kissed, garlicky, turnip green filling.

Turnip Green Tart

Well, it's Sunday. I returned from Portland, Oregon on Wednesday, and here I am looking at my suitcase and my carry-on bag. They are exactly where I dropped them, ten steps from the front door, still fully packed. Can we unpack together? I thought it would provide me some incentive, and at the same time I can give you a glimpse of some of the treats that hitched a ride back to San Francisco in my luggage.

Turnip Green Tart Recipe

I found all sorts of neat things while exploring Portland. For starters, I bought an unreasonable amount of salt at The Meadow - some old favorites, and a few new ones - Halen Mon Gold, Murray Darling, Lemon Flake, and then there are the pretty, edible dried peony flowers.

I don't always have the best luck at thrift stores, but rummaging around one shop on Mississippi I picked up an old plate patterned with pink dahlias and green leaves. It set me back $3. I found an unusually long, thin vintage cake tin at the same place ($1), and one silver fork and matching spoon with flower details.

A couple trips to Powell's Books added weight to my suitcase, but I couldn't pass up Jane Grigson's Fruit Book, River Cottage Every Day, Rice, Spice and all Things Nice, and a few vintage art exhibit catalogs. I also picked up a copy of Edible Portland, and a copy of MIX Magazine (hi Martha!) - Books Inc. has been stocking MIX here in San Francisco, and I've been loving it, but it was nice to be able to pick up a copy on its home turf.

My breakfasts are going to be tasty as ever. Bundled in socks, two jars of preserves made it here intact. Marmalade from my friend Nancye at Moxie Rx (her meyer lemon meltaway cookies were gone long before touchdown), and a rare jar of Little Red Bike Cafe Oregon Strawberry Pinot Noir Jam from Ali and Evan. Note to self, order a loaf of Tartine sesame bread to go with.

Here's a stack of menus from meals/treats at: Clyde Common, Indish, Random Order Coffee House, Moxie Rx, and Navarre. Then there's three Polaroids, an ivory-toned beaded bracelet from Porch Light, and a blue & white striped bag I bought for my sister's birthday, from from kara-line at tumbleweed.

There were a whole host of places I wanted to get to and didn't - Ned Ludd, Pine State Biscuits, Coffee & Heart. All places I look forward to visiting the next time around.

Updated 2/7/2011: I popped back up to Portland recently, and have a few more places to recommend if you're visiting: I hopped a bus from downtown, to the Upright Brewery Tasting Room. Kim Boyce turned me on to Ziba's Pitas. These are unlike any pitas you've had. I only wish I could convince Ziba to roll her cart south to California. Coffee's was great at itty-bitty Spella Caffe', and I picked up a few gifts at Grüner one night as well - perfect salad and unbelievable buckwheat spätzle with black trumpet mushrooms.

Give me a bit of time to scan my photos. I was able to get out of the city this time around, and I'm looking forward to sharing some of the sights with you and a recipe or two inspired by my visit.

Turnip Green Tart Recipe

In the meantime, I wanted to share this tart. I made it just before leaving, inspired by a bag of chervil, turnip greens, and beautiful heirloom red celery handed to me by June Taylor after a lunch near the Still-Room. The tart is made with a buttery cornmeal crust, and a mustard-kissed, garlicky, turnip green filling. For a lot of the tarts I make, I use broth or pureed soup in place of much of the heavy cream traditionally called for - it turns out great. It's the kind of thing that goes nicely with a simple side salad, and a seasonal treat. We had it with the Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble. The leftovers make a tasty, portable airport lunch or snack. (And for those of you who are curious, with the rest of the ingredients I made a celery leaf pesto, part of the chervil went on savory crepes, and celery stalks went into a chopped salad I've been working on)...

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Turnip Green Tart

It's convenient for me to make enough dough for two tart shells in one shot, so that's what I call for here. You can always freeze the extra dough or shell for use later in the week/month. They seem to keep fine in the freezer, well wrapped, for a few weeks, but not much longer than that. Green garlic is also great in the filling in place of the garlic clove - a couple tablespoons (chopped).

Cornmeal Tart Shell:

2 1/4 cups / 9 oz / 255 g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g spelt flour
scant 1 cup / 4.5 oz medium coarse corn meal
3/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
1 1/4 cups / 10 ounces / 280 g unsalted butter, cut in cubes
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup / 60 ml - 3/4 cup / 180 ml cold water

Turnip Green Filling:

1/4 lb. / 4 oz turnip greens, or spinach greens, de-stemmed
1 small clove of garlic
2 large eggs + 1 yolk
3/4 cup veg. broth
1/4 cup / 60 ml heavy cream
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt (more if broth unsalted)
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons herbs de Provence (opt.)
gruyere cheese & a bit of crushed red pepper flakes, for topping

special equipment: tart pans - 9-inch (23 cm) round, 8 x 11 inch (20 x 28) rectangle, or equivalent

Start by making the tart dough. Combine flours, cornmeal, and salt in food processor. Pulse in butter, 20+ pulses, or until the mixture resembles sandy pebbles on a beach. Add the egg yolk and 1/4 cup water. Pulse, trickle in more water if needed, just until dough comes together. Turn out onto a floured countertop and gather into a ball. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shape each into a ball, press into 1/2-inch thick disks, and wrap in plastic, or place in baggies. Chill for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.

When you're ready to line the tart pans with dough, place one of the dough disks on a lightly floured surface and roll out until the dough is large enough to line your tart pan. I usually eyeball it - you can see in the photo the dough is about 1/6 - 1/8 inch thick. Dust underneath with flour to discourage sticking throughout the rolling process. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Don't worry too much if you get a tear or hole, you can patch those up later with scraps. Work quickly to ease the dough into place, taking care not to stretch the dough. Press it along the bottom of the pan, out to the walls, and against the sides. Trim any excess dough - I use the palm of my hand against the edge of the tart pan to cut off any extra dough, alternately you can roll a rolling pin across the rim of the pan for a clean edge. Chill in the refrigerator for thirty minutes or so while you roll out your extra tart shell. Double wrap that one in plastic and freeze it for future use.

You're going to partially bake the tart shell before filling it, so pull the shell out of the refrigerator, dock it with a fork, making small holes along the bottom of the shell. Line the shell with parchment paper and fill to the rim with pie weights or dried beans, bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the pie weights and finish baking for another 5 minutes, or until the crust is dry and just barely starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

To make the filling: Chop the greens and garlic in a food processor. You can do this by hand as well, but in this case the processor makes quick work of this. Add the eggs and yolk, pulse. Then the broth and cream. Lastly, incorporate the salt, mustard, and herbs. When you're ready to bake, fill the tart shell and bake for 30 minutes or so, or until the center is set, and has firmed up to the touch. About 2/3 of the way through I like to sprinkle with a bit of gruyere cheese. I can't help but zap the top of most tarts under the broiler for a minute or two just prior to pulling it out of the oven - it browns up the top nicely, and lends a rustic look to it. Finish with a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes if you don't mind a bit of heat.

Prep time: 950 minutes - Cook time: 60 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I love the combination of the greens with a cornmeal crust, it sounds unique and delicious. You're making me miss PDX, really liked eating at Clyde Commons.


yum! i'm definitely going to try this. :) glad to hear you enjoyed your time in portland! next time you're here, you should stop by the portland farmers market, behind PSU, in the south park blocks. so many fresh, lovely, local ingredients to inspire cooking.


I didn't know turnip greens could look so lovely. I didn't know I would like to eat some.

Cooking in Mexico

this looks amazing! I love cornmeal in just about everything -- but have yet to try it in a tart crust. Thanks for the inspiration!


I am glad that you are mining the depth of our wonderful city (Portland) on your visits. You mentioned The Meadow, which is one of my favorite stores, and MIX is my favorite magazine...and it features so well what is Portland.


lots and lots of us who would have been happy stowaways for your latest awesome adventure!


Heidi, you are killing me over here! This sounds soooo sooo delish! I can hardly stand it. I am happy you enjoyed my (ok...our) beautiful city. I do love Portland. it is so fun to hear an 'outsiders' take on our local offerings, which are as abundant as our gray skies are beautiful! :)


I love turnip greens. In India, we cook them with the turnips with spices such as mustard seeds and green chilies. And garnished with fresh coconut. This tart looks beautiful! Thank you

The Mistress of Spice

Would love to see some turnip recipes! I have so many from my CSA :)


PLEASE make 101 Cookbooks an iPad app!! I love it and I'd love to have it at my fingertips the way Epicurious is now. Just a suggestion. (I'll beg if you want me to.)


yum! wish i was sitting at your table. this post makes me so hungry. can't wait to see portland through your lens.


Even more than the recipe, I enjoyed reading about all your delightful finds in Portland. I particularly enjoyed your mention of "junkin'" - that's thrift store shopping, as referred to by some Southerners and African Americans.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

I love the idea of using broth or pureed soup instead of cream in tarts: I always find it too heavy in flavour, and always substitute with milk, but your idea sounds even better. I just discovered turnip greens - in Europe they are not very common, for obscure reasons, because I find them delicious. I found out that they actually are quite well known in Germany, Nordrhein region, where they are called 'Stielmus' or 'Rübstiel'. They are in season right now here! For the Italians reading, I'd substitute with very fresh cime di rapa for the mustard-y kick.


ha ha! your timing is amazing. i just got a huge bunch of turnips + greens after learning the ropes at a friend's farm this weekend.


Was that scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt? The recipe does not say... HS: Exactly Debby, thanks for the catch.

Debby W.

Lovely tart! I am craving REAL celery! I was spoiled last year by getting several stalks of crisp, flavorful heirloom celery in our CSA basket every week. I planted heirloom celery seeds this spring, but the tiny seedlings never grew for me. I hope to be as lucky as you and to find it at the Nashville Farmers Market!


Oh yum! Turnip greens speak to my Southern soul! :)


What a delicious looking tart and fabulous use of turnip greens. We haven't had any turnip greens at our CSA this year so far but they have had about three different varietals of kale that would be lovely.

Christie {Honoring Health}

What a great way to experiment with turnip greens. Now I just hope I can find some heiloom celery at next Saturday's farmers market...

Anne Marie

Yum! As we await the start of our CSA, I remember getting tons of salad turnips and not quite knowing what to do with the greens. Could this be made with a mixture? Radish, turnip, spinach, whatever? One more question: Can the tart crust be made replacing the AP flour with more spelt? Or what wheat-free flour would you recommend? I've made your olive oil crust with 100% whole grain spelt and it worked beautifully, though one time it had a slight bitterness to it. Yum, thanks!


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