Rutabaga (also called swede) is a Brassica family (think kale, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, etc.) root vegetable commonly known to Michiganders as a pasty ingredient. Beyond the pasty, this humble cabbage and turnip cross shines in many dishes and packs a nutritional punch.
Raw rutabaga tastes slightly milder than turnips (see photo above for visual differences) with hints of a less sweet carrot. It’s crisp, juicy, and, when cut in matchsticks, makes a satisfying addition to a crudité platter. Cooked rutabaga, however, is where I think this root vegetable displays its full glory. When cooked, it turns golden yellow and has a mellow, mildly sweet (but savory) flavor. My favorite way to enjoy rutabaga is mashed with potatoes, butter, and salt (recipe below) and served with a roast or baked chicken.
Nutritionally speaking, rutabagas (like all cruciferous vegetables) are high in antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds. Rutabagas are also a good source of vitamin C. One cup contains 53% of the daily recommended value. Other rutabaga nutrients of note include: potassium, fiber, B vitamins, and phosphorous.
Consider adding this tasty root vegetable to your fall/winter vegetable rotation. Look for it at your local winter farmers market or in your winter CSA box.
Mashed Potatoes with Rutabaga
Recipe Courtesy of The Kitchn
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 to 3 tbsp. butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Cream or milk (optional)
Rutabagas take longer to cook, so put them in a pot with some boiling water or broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the potatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes. Both vegetables should be fork-tender. Drain, and add salt & pepper to taste, then the butter, and mash. You can add a little milk or cream too, if you like.
More Rutabaga Recipes and Information:
•Rutabaga, turnip, and carrot soup: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Hearty-Rutabaga-Turnip-and-Carrot-Soup-4637
•Creamy, smoky, whipped rutabaga: http://www.thekitchn.com/autumn-recipe-creamy-smoky-whi-157478
•Information and Photo credit:
Kelly Wilson, RDN is the SE MI Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and Owner of Simple Gifts Farm. After a busy farm season, she is dusting off her running shoes again. If you have favorite trails or routes to share, send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.