Turnip Carrot Cakes with Garlic Aioli
Turnip Carrot Cakes with Garlic Aioli, an easy pan-fried veggie cake recipe using shredded carrots and turnips with a flavor-filled aioli sauce. Don't turn up your nose to turnips!
Think sweet pancakes are the only way to go? Think again! Turnips are the key ingredient in this veggie cake recipe—although they are underrated vegetables, we love using them in all kinds of different recipes (especially during the winter months).
👉 Here are three reasons why you should be making turnip veggie cakes:
- They're super simple to make. All you need to do to make veggie cakes is shred the vegetables, mix them with the rest of the ingredients, and then pan-fry them until crispy. Then make the yummy aioli to pair them with, and enjoy!
- It's a new way to enjoy veggies. We know it can be challenging to eat enough vegetables, especially during the cold seasons. And if you're sick of salads and roasted vegetables (it happens to the best of us!), making veggie cakes is a way to get active in the kitchen and try veggies that you may not eat very often (like turnips).
- You can change up the recipe. Whether you want to switch up the spice blend, add a different shredded vegetable, or make an adjustment to meet a dietary need—the possibilities are endless for how you can make these veggie cakes your own.
Ready to learn how to make veggie cakes from shredded turnips? Let's do it!
The delicious flavors of these veggie cakes come together with a simple list of ingredients, including the following:
- Turnips: This recipe calls for 2 large turnips, which you will peel and shred before cooking them into the cakes. Sometimes mistaken as a root vegetable, turnips are actually an oversized stem. They are considered cruciferous vegetables and belong in the same family as cauliflower, cabbage, and kale (who knew?!).
- Carrots: Similar to the turnips, you will prep the carrots by peeling and shredding them.
- Spices: We used a simple seasoning blend of salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika to add a flavor boost. You can use any other spices that you like!
- Egg: These are used as the binder in veggie cake recipes (use aquafaba or a flax egg instead if you're vegan).
- Cornmeal or flour: Grains are needed to hold the veggie cakes together. Use regular or gluten-free flour!
- Cooking oil: Used to pan-fry the veggie cakes. We suggest using an oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil.
- Garlic Aioli: The aioli sauce is a simple mix of garlic, mayo, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Recommended tools: food processor, frying pan, large mixing bowl
🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Shred the vegetables
First, shred and peel the turnips and carrots. You can do this in a few different ways:
- Use a stand-alone vegetable shredder: there are many vegetable shredding tools available, but usually they are a stand-up shredder/spiralizer or a hand-held shredder (similar to a vegetable peeler, which also works). The issue with handheld shredders is that they definitely provide a shoulder workout!
- Vegetable shredding attachment for kitchen mixer: if you have a Kitchenaid mixer, there is a vegetable shredding attachment that you can get.
- Food processor: alternatively, you can also use a food processor, which is a fast way to chop up vegetables. Your turnips and carrots will be smaller and not exactly “shredded”, but it will taste the same.
2️⃣ Step Two: Make the veggie cakes
Next, add the cornmeal, egg, paprika, turmeric, and salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl and mix together until well combined.
Using your hands, form palm-size thin cakes and set aside.
3️⃣ Step Three: Pan-fry the cakes until crispy
Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan (we like using our cast iron skillet). Once heated, place the cakes on the pan and flatten with a spatula if needed. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until browned.
4️⃣ Step Four: Make the garlic aioli
Finally, it's time to make the aioli! Combine the garlic, mayo, paprika, and salt and pepper in a small blender or mixing bowl. Blend or mix until well combined and serve on the side with veggie cakes.
There you have it, an easy vegetable cake that is sure to be a hit.
❓ Recipe questions + quick tips
You can make these turnip cakes completely plant-based by replacing the egg with aquafaba, or a mixture of flax or chia seeds with water to create a sticky mixture that will hold together the shredded veggies. Also, try vegan mayo for the aioli!
Yes, turnip cakes are healthy. They're packed with veggies—the turnips and carrots in this recipe provide fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, phosphorus, vitamin A, and folate (to name a few). We also included some anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, and you'll get some protein from the egg (or flax if you subbed it out). We suggest serving them with other veggies and plant-based protein to balance them out and make them even more nutritious.
The perfect turnip carrot cake is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, which is the product of cooking the cakes on a hot (but not scorching) pan. We've cooked veggie cakes on a nonstick pan, but have found that our cast iron skillet gets the perfect crispiness that we crave.
🍽 How to serve
We hope these easy turnip cakes are a hit in your household! Here are a few creative ways to enjoy them:
- As a main dish: Have a few veggie cakes for dinner, lunch, or even breakfast! Pair them with other vegetable sides or plant-based proteins to make it a more well-rounded meal.
- As a salad topper: Serve shredded turnip cakes on top of a bed of greens, or add them to your favorite salad to make it more hearty.
- Mix in other seasonal veggies: Depending on the time of year, you can make veggie cakes from other shredded veggies like zucchini or broccoli. You can also mix in some corn and serve them with sliced tomatoes.
- With a dipping sauce: While veggie cakes are delicious on their own, pairing them with a sauce really takes them up a notch. We love them with our garlic aioli, but you can enjoy them with any other type of sauce that you like!
🧊 How to store
Veggie cakes are perfect to store! We love making a big batch and adding to quick meals all week long. Here's how to store them to maintain their flavor and quality:
- Refrigerator storage: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5-6 days.
- Freezer storage: Keep in a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to a month.
- To reheat: Reheat veggie cakes in the microwave or over a pan on medium-low heat to cook thoroughly without burning.
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips
Want to take your eco-friendly lifestyle to the next level? Here are a few ways to give back to the planet while making this recipe:
Take advantage of turnip season. Turnips are in season in the northern hemisphere starting in late summer through early winter, but they store well for months and can be enjoyed all winter long. Make turnip veggie cakes while they're seasonal—it's better for the planet (and your wallet!).
Don't toss the veggie scraps. Save the scraps from the landfill and use them to add flavor to homemade vegetable broth. At the very least, toss them in your compost bin.
Save the turnip greens. Yes, turnip greens are edible! You can use them to make a simple salad, sauté them, or use them to make Turnip Greens Pesto.
👉 More savory turnip recipes
Love this simple turnip cake recipe? Check out our other recipes that feature turnips and other veggies:
Turnip Carrot Cakes with Garlic Aioli
For Turnip Carrot Cakes
- 2 whole turnips, peeled and shredded
- 8 whole carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 whole egg
- ¼ cup cornmeal or flour
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
For Garlic Aioli
- 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup mayo, regular or vegan
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
- Make the veggie cakes: In a large bowl, combine shredded turnips and carrots with salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, egg and cornmeal or flour. Mix well and form palm-size thin cakes and set aside.
- Pan-fry the cakes: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is heated, add veggie patties and cook until brown and crispy on both sides, about 3-4 minutes a side.
- Make the aioli: Combine garlic, mayo, paprika and salt and pepper in a small blender or mixing bowl. Blend or mix until well combined and serve on the side with veggie cakes.
- Tools needed: mixing bowl, frying pan, food processor
- Leftovers + storage: These turnip carrot cakes are perfect to store! They can be made once and refrigerated for up to 5-6 days and frozen for up to a month (possibly longer, however they never make it that long in our house).
- Reheating: Reheat in the microwave or over a pan on medium-low heat to cook thoroughly without burning.
UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in January 2019 and updated for clarity in November 2021.