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VCU Massey Cancer Center


Recipe corner: turnip salad and carrot cake balls

Carrots and turnips are currently in season. Both vegetables can play an important role in a healthy diet. A plant-based diet including these vegetables may lower not only certain cancer risks but risk for other chronic diseases as well. So why not add more carrots and turnips into your diet?

Carrots are low in calories, nutritious and affordable. They also contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals and their orange color is from high amounts of beta-carotene and carotenoids. Research has shown that foods containing carotenoids lower the risk of mouth, pharynx and larynx cancers. Emerging research also shows that a diet high in carotenoids has been linked to a lower risk of some types of breast cancer.

Turnips are a cruciferous vegetable, which are rich in nutrients including vitamin C, E, K, Folate, and several carotenoids. The National Cancer Institute recognizes research that has shown cruciferous vegetables to help protect cells from DNA damage and inactivate carcinogens. Additionally, they have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Check out these healthy recipes featuring turnips and carrots.

Raw Turnip Salad


  • 3 medium turnips (peeled and grated)
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled and grated)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
  • juice from ½ of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Peel then grate carrots and turnips. Keep in mind the turnips will change in color overtime after they are grated from bright white to a yellowish color. If you are making this salad for others and appearance is important, serve fresh. Once your vegetables are prepared, place the turnips, carrots, chopped parsley and pumpkin seeds into a salad bowl. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, season with sea salt to taste. Toss all the ingredients together and enjoy! This delicious light salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 48 hours. 

Carrot Cake Bites

Ingredients (makes 15 small bites):

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of water
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar substitute of your choice
  • 1 medium carrot finely chopped (recommend using a mini chopper or food processor)
  • 4 tablespoons reduced fat shredded coconut

Start out by combining coconut flour, water, applesauce and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Stir items well. Then add cinnamon, sugar substitute and shredded carrots. Stir until dough is formed. Place dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Once the dough has chilled use a small scoop and roll dough into 15 equal sized cake balls. Place shredded coconut in a small bowl. Roll small balls one at a time in coconut, covering the outside of the balls completely. Your cake balls are now complete and ready to enjoy! You can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. These delicious treats are vegan, gluten-free, low- carb, and sugar free. 


Recipes prepared by Allie Farley, M.S., R.D., L.D., registered dietitian at VCU Health, based on inspiration from Maria Ushakova and vegannie.comVisit our Diet and Nutrition blog for more recipes and information about the role that diet plays in cancer.

Written by: Massey Communications Office

Posted on: May 24, 2018

Category: Diet and Nutrition

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