Beyond the Pasty

farm-to-table, Kelly Wilson, Learn More, Recipes

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

mashed ruta

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:

Roasted Rutabaga:

Rutabaga, turnip, and carrot soup:

•Creamy, smoky, whipped rutabaga:

•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

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