Rooting for Rutabaga!

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So, what do you do with a rutabaga? Even saying the word somehow feels funny, but the rutabaga is not some strange being, yet merely a member of the cabbage family, often confused with a turnip, but very different. Rutabagas are larger, part white and part purple, with creamy orange flesh and ribs near the stem, and with a sweet flavor when roasted. Meanwhile, turnips are white with a purple-red top and a peppery taste.

Nutty and sweet with a mild turnip-like flavor, rutabagas can be roasted, sautéed, baked, fried, boiled, mashed, and added to soups and stews. They also can be eaten raw as a snack or grated into salads or coleslaw. A mix of mashed rutabagas, potatoes, onions and carrots, seasoned with butter and salt, is a warming dish.

The rutabaga like other members of the cabbage family, is high in antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds. However, the rutabaga’s most significant nutrient comes from vitamin C. One cup contains 53% of the daily recommended value, providing antioxidants and immune system-supporting functions. Beta-carotene-rich rutabagas are also an excellent source of potassium and manganese (for energy), and a good source of fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6 (helps support the nervous system), calcium (for strong bones), magnesium (helps absorb calcium and combat stress), and phosphorus (helps metabolize proteins and sugars).

The health benefits and these easy to cook recipes should have you “rooting for rutabagas!”

Creamy Roasted Rutabaga Soup


  • 2 medium rutabagas, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 cups hot vegetable stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
    Place the rutabaga chunks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 35-45 minutes until the rutabaga is soft and slightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a medium pot. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the ground nutmeg, roasted rutabaga, and hot vegetable stock. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth or transfer to a blender that can process hot liquids.
  5. Either stir in the heavy cream now or add it separately when serving. Give a taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Rutabaga Strings with Garlic and Herbs


  • 2 pounds rutabagas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
  • Garlic Herb Oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Peel and cut the ends off of 2-3 rutabagas (about 2 lbs.). Run the rutabagas through a spiralizer on the finest setting.
  3. Place the spiralized rutabagas on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Evenly coat the rutabagas with the olive oil and seasoning by gently mixing with your hands.
  4. Evenly spread the spiralized rutabagas out on the baking sheet and cook at 400ºF for 30-35 minutes. You will know that the rutabagas are done cooking once they become soft, darker in color, and slightly translucent.
  5. Make the garlic herb oil while the rutabagas are cooking. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat and add 5-6 cloves of minced garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes and remove from the heat. Stir in the fresh chopped parsley right before serving.
  6. Once the rutabagas are done cooking, serve immediately, drizzled with the garlic herb oil and then sprinkle with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Yields 4 servings.

Rutabaga “Hash Browns”


  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and grated
  • 1 large zucchini, trimmed and grated (you can leave the skin on)
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and grated
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (mix of parsley and fresh dill; cilantro is also nice)
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or stock
  • fine sea salt, to taste


  1. If you have a food processor, now is the time to use it: grate the rutabaga, zucchini, parsnip and onion using the medium grater blade. Otherwise, grate all the vegetables on the medium holes of a box grater.
  2. Place the grated vegetables, herbs, garlic and oil in a large nonstick fry pan (a cast iron pan is great for this recipe). Pour the broth evenly over the top and stir to mix. Turn the heat on to
    medium-high and allow to cook until the mixture begins to sizzle and cook on the edges, 10-15 minutes. Stir the vegetables to distribute any browned bits evenly throughout.
  3. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow to cook undisturbed another 10-15 minutes, then check to see if the veggies have begun to form a brown crust on the bottom. If they have, stir once more and then cook again another 10-15 minutes, until cooked throughout and crusty in spots. Scoop and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings. May be frozen.

Oven Baked Rutabaga


  • 1 pound rutabaga, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 395ºF (200C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the cubed rutabaga, olive oil, dried thyme, and ground black pepper with salt to taste. Mix everything well until the cubes are covered in oil and seasoning.
  3. Place everything on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes or until the rutabaga starts picking up a golden color.
  4. Take out the baking tray, toss the cubes a little bit and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Serve warm with the main dish of your choice. Yields 4 servings.

Rutabagas with Caramelized Onions


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 ¾ pounds onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 ¼ pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until brown, 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain well.
  4. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add rutabagas; sauté until heated through, about 10 minutes. Drizzle honey over. Gently stir in onions. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium-low heat.)