Cooking Rutabaga? Here’s How to Do It Right

Are you looking for a new vegetable to add to your cooking repertoire? Look no further than the rutabaga! This often-overlooked root vegetable is packed with flavor, nutrients, and versatility. If you’re not quite sure how to cook rutabaga, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll show you how to prepare and cook rutabaga to perfection, whether you’re roasting, mashing, or sautéing. Get ready to fall in love with this delicious and underrated vegetable!

Cooking Rutabaga? Here's How to Do It Right | Eat Urban Garden
Cooking Rutabaga? Here’s How to Do It Right

What is Rutabaga?

Rutabaga is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It is also known as a swede or neep. Rutabaga is a popular vegetable in European cuisine, particularly in Sweden, Scotland, and Ireland. It is a winter vegetable that is typically harvested in late fall, after temperatures have dropped, and stores well for several months.

Origins of Rutabaga

The rutabaga plant is believed to have originated in Scandinavia in the early 17th century. From there, it spread to other parts of Europe and eventually made its way to North America. Today, the vegetable is grown in many parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and Australia. In the United States, rutabaga is typically grown in the northern states such as Maine, Michigan, and Minnesota.

Nutritional Value of Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked rutabaga contains:

  • 50 calories
  • 11 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 2 grams of protein
  • 34% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C
  • 22% of the recommended daily intake of potassium
  • 15% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B6

Common Uses of Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. It has a slightly sweet and earthy flavor that pairs well with savory ingredients such as garlic, herbs, and spices. Here are some common ways to use rutabaga:

  1. Roasted: Cut rutabaga into small pieces and roast with olive oil, salt, and pepper until tender and caramelized.
  2. Mashed: Boil rutabaga until tender, drain, and mash with butter, salt, and pepper.
  3. Soup: Add chopped rutabaga to soups and stews for added flavor and nutrition.

Rutabaga can also be used as a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes or as a substitute for other root vegetables in recipes.

How to Select and Store Rutabaga

If you’re not familiar with rutabaga, it’s a root vegetable that is similar to a turnip. Rutabagas have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Choosing the Best Rutabaga

When selecting rutabaga, you want to make sure it’s fresh and of high quality. Here are some tips for choosing the best rutabaga:

  • Look for rutabaga that is firm and heavy for its size. The heavier it is, the more moisture it contains, which means it will be fresher.
  • Avoid rutabaga with soft spots or cracks, as these are signs of decay.
  • The skin of the rutabaga should be smooth and without blemishes.
  • Choose rutabaga that has a bright, even color. A dull or discolored rutabaga may be old or past its prime.

Storing Rutabaga

Proper storage is essential for maintaining the freshness and flavor of rutabaga. Here’s how to store rutabaga:

  1. Keep rutabaga in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or root cellar. Rutabaga can be stored for up to a month in these conditions.
  2. If you don’t have a cool, dry place to store your rutabaga, you can store it in the refrigerator. Place the rutabaga in a plastic bag or container and keep it in the vegetable crisper. It should last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
  3. Do not wash rutabaga before storing it. Moisture can cause decay.

By following these tips for selecting and storing rutabaga, you’ll be able to enjoy this tasty and nutritious vegetable for weeks to come.

Prepping Rutabaga for Cooking

Rutabaga is a root vegetable that is popular in many dishes because of its sweet and nutty flavor. However, before you cook rutabaga, it’s important to know how to prepare it properly. Here are some tips on how to clean, peel, and slice rutabaga before cooking it:

Cleaning Rutabaga

Before you start prepping rutabaga for cooking, it’s important to clean it thoroughly. Start by rinsing it under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. If there are any blemishes or spots on the rutabaga, use a vegetable brush to scrub them away. Once the rutabaga is clean, pat it dry with a clean towel.

Peeling Rutabaga

After cleaning the rutabaga, it’s time to peel it. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to remove the skin. The skin is tough and fibrous, so it’s important to remove all of it. Be sure to cut off the top and bottom ends of the rutabaga as well. Once the rutabaga is peeled, rinse it again under cold water to remove any remaining skin or debris.

Slicing Rutabaga

Now that the rutabaga is clean and peeled, it’s time to slice it. Start by cutting off any protruding roots or stems. Then, cut the rutabaga in half and lay each half flat on your cutting board. Cut each half into slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Alternatively, you can cut the rutabaga into small cubes, which will cook faster than slices.

Types of Rutabaga Recipes

When it comes to cooking rutabaga, the possibilities are endless. Here are some exciting ways to incorporate this versatile vegetable into your meals:

Soups and Stews

Rutabaga adds a hearty and earthy flavor to soups and stews. Try adding diced rutabaga to your favorite vegetable soup or stew recipe. Alternatively, you can make a creamy rutabaga soup by pureeing cooked rutabaga with broth and cream. Paired with crusty bread, it’s an ideal comforting meal for a cold day.


If you’re looking for a filling and tasty casserole recipe, try incorporating rutabaga. Layer sliced rutabaga in between other vegetables and slices of potato for a vegetarian version of a classic shepherd’s pie. Alternatively, combine diced rutabaga with ground beef or turkey and your choice of seasoning to form the base of a hearty and delicious casserole.

  • Example: Try this recipe for Rutabaga and Potato Gratin.

Baked Rutabaga Fries

If you crave french fries but want a healthier option, try rutabaga fries. Rutabaga can be sliced into long wedges or thin rounds, coated in oil and seasoning, and baked until crispy. Serve them as an appetizer with dipping sauce or as a side to your favorite burger or sandwich.

Mashes and Purees

Rutabaga makes for a delicious and nutritious mashed potato alternative; similarly, you can puree it and serve it with roasted vegetables or alongside a pork chop. Add in some garlic, butter, and herbs for extra flavor.

Don’t let this humble vegetable fool you – with its sweet, nutty flavor and creamy flesh, the rutabaga is a versatile and nutritious addition to a variety of recipes. Try different techniques and get creative!

Cooking Techniques for Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a root vegetable that is a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. It has a sweet, earthy flavor and is often used in stews, soups, and casseroles. But did you know that rutabaga is also a great side dish when cooked properly? There are several techniques that you can use to cook rutabaga, including boiling, roasting, frying, and mashing. Here are some tips on how to cook rutabaga right:

Boiling Rutabaga

Boiling is one of the easiest ways to cook rutabaga. Simply peel and chop the rutabaga into small pieces and place them in a pot of boiling water. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rutabaga is tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the rutabaga and mash it with butter and salt for a delicious side dish.

Roasting Rutabaga

Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of rutabaga. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Peel and chop the rutabaga into small pieces and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the rutabaga on a baking sheet and roast for about 30-35 minutes, or until the pieces are golden brown and tender. Serve your roasted rutabaga as a side dish or add it to salads.

Frying Rutabaga

If you are looking for a crispy side dish, try frying rutabaga. Peel and chop the rutabaga into thin slices. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the rutabaga slices and fry them for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until they are golden and crispy. Drain the fried rutabaga on paper towels and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Mashing Rutabaga

Mashing rutabaga is another great way to enjoy this delicious vegetable. Peel and chop the rutabaga into small pieces and boil them until tender. Drain the rutabaga and mash it with milk, butter, and salt. You can also add herbs like thyme or rosemary for extra flavor. Serve your mashed rutabaga as a side dish to your favorite meals.

Baking Rutabaga Gratin

This is a delicious and satisfying side dish that you can make by thinly slicing rutabaga and layering it in a baking dish. In a saucepan, heat butter and flour, then add milk gradually to make a sauce. Add grated cheese and nutmeg to taste, then pour over the rutabaga slices. Bake in the oven for around an hour or until golden brown and crispy on top. Serve hot and enjoy!

Tips for Serving and Pairing Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a nutritious root vegetable that is a delicious addition to any meal. Here are some tips for serving and pairing rutabaga:

1. Roasting Rutabaga

Roasting is one of the best ways to cook rutabaga because it brings out its natural sweetness and flavor. To roast rutabaga, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Peel and chop the rutabaga into bite-sized pieces.
  • Toss the rutabaga with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Spread the rutabaga in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown.

2. Mashing Rutabaga

Rutabaga is also delicious mashed, either on its own or mixed with other root vegetables like potatoes or carrots.

  • Peel and chop the rutabaga into small, evenly-sized pieces.
  • Boil the rutabaga until soft, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain the rutabaga and mash it with butter, cream, salt, and pepper to taste.

3. Pairing Rutabaga with Other Foods

Rutabaga pairs well with many different foods and flavors.

  • Meats: Rutabaga is a great side dish for roasted meats like chicken, beef, or pork.
  • Other Vegetables: Rutabaga pairs well with other root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and turnips. It can also be paired with green vegetables like kale or broccoli.
  • Grains: Rutabaga can be added to grains like rice or quinoa for a hearty and flavorful side dish.

4. Beverages that Pair Well with Rutabaga

Rutabaga pairs well with a variety of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

  • Beer: Nutty and malty beers like brown ales and stouts pair well with the earthy flavor of rutabaga.
  • Wine: Light red wines like pinot noir or gamay pair well with roasted or mashed rutabaga.
  • Cider: A crisp, dry cider pairs well with roasted or mashed rutabaga, especially when paired with pork or chicken.
  • Tea: A rich, spicy black tea pairs well with the sweet and earthy flavor of rutabaga.

5. Recipes with Rutabaga

Here are some delicious recipes that feature rutabaga:

Recipe Description
Rutabaga Fries Baked rutabaga fries seasoned with garlic and herbs.
Rutabaga and Potato Mash A creamy and flavorful mash of rutabaga and potatoes, perfect for a side dish.
Rutabaga and Carrot Soup An earthy and flavorful soup made with rutabaga, carrots, and warming spices like ginger and cinnamon.

6. Tips for Buying and Storing Rutabaga

If you’re new to cooking with rutabaga, here are some helpful tips for buying and storing it:

  • Look for rutabaga that is firm, heavy for its size, and free of soft spots or blemishes.
  • Store rutabaga in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or root cellar.
  • Rutabaga can last for several months if stored properly.

Thank You for Reading!

That’s all you need to know to start cooking rutabaga like a pro. Remember, it’s a delicious and versatile root vegetable that can be used in many different ways. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something new today. Be sure to come back soon for more useful tips and tricks!

Cooking Rutabaga? Here’s How to Do It Right

Learn how to cook rutabaga like a pro with this easy guide. Discover the best methods for roasting, boiling, and mashing this delicious root vegetable.

  • 2 rutabagas (peeled and diced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  1. Peel and dice the rutabagas into small pieces. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over the rutabaga pieces and sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Toss well until the pieces are evenly coated.
  3. Spread the rutabaga pieces on a single layer over a baking dish and pour the broth over them.
  4. Roast the rutabaga in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until they turn golden brown and tender.
  5. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  6. Transfer the roasted rutabaga to a mixing bowl and add the garlic butter mixture. Mash the rutabaga with a fork or a potato masher until they turn into a soft and creamy consistency. Add the sour cream and mix well.
Main dish
rutabaga, root vegetable, cooking, recipe, side dish

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