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9 Simple Rutabaga Recipes — How to Cook Rutabaga

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9 Simple Rutabaga Recipes — How to Cook Rutabaga

Rutabaga And Onions On Table

Getty ImagesMichael Möller / EyeEm

Winter is the best time of year to eat rutabaga — but why, you might ask, would you want to? Startlingly large and sort of dumpy-looking, with a purple top and beige bottom, rutabagas may not look very alluring, but there’s a lot more to this winter vegetable than meets the eye.

Underneath its woody-looking exterior, rutabaga’s butter-yellow flesh is sweet and earthy. Rutabagas are the result of some promiscuous turnips crossing with wild cabbages in the 1600s, and while they contain the genes of both veggies, they’re considered a part of the cruciferous family of vegetables (cousins include broccoli and Brussels sprouts) and pack similar health benefits.

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Just one cup of rutabaga contains approximately 50% of your daily value of vitamin C. They’re also rich in fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium — and low in calories. An entire medium-sized rutabaga has only 145.

If you’ve never cooked with it before, the first thing you need to know is that rutabagas from the grocery store are usually sold coated in paraffin wax to keep them from drying out in storage. You’ll definitely want to remove it before cooking with them. Peeling a waxed rutabaga can feel like trying to peel a greased bowling ball, so to make it easier, first slice off the stem and root ends with a chef’s knife to create a stable base. Then stand the root upright and remove the skin with the knife, working from top-to-bottom.

Once that waxed exterior is removed, you can start cooking. Here are nine of our favorite ways to eat rutabaga:

Mashed Rutabagas

mashed rutabagas

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One of the simplest and tastiest ways to eat rutabagas is just to cube, boil, and mash them with butter. Unlike potatoes, which can get gluey if you mash them overzealously, there’s no danger of overdoing it with rutabaga. If you want them really smooth, you can throw rutabagas in the food processor. Mash it with carrots for added color.

Rutabaga Noodles

veggie noodles

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Your spiralizer is good for so much more than zucchini! To make low-carb rutabaga pasta, run rutabaga through a spiralizer. You can eat them raw, but they’re lovely baked into a casserole. Try then tossing them with olive oil and herbs or transform into a gooey, rutabaga-noodle casserole.

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Rutabaga Gratin

rutabaga gratin

If you’re bored with potatoes, try making a creamy rutabaga gratin: Thinly slice rutabaga, layer in a buttered cast-iron pan, pour hot cream over, sprinkle with Gruyere, and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Rutabagas Hasselback

rutabaga hasselback

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In this riff on potatoes hasselback, a single rutabaga is cut into thin slices but left joined at the bottom, then baked and basted with melted butter until the slices are bronzed and crispy. I love this recipe for rutabagas hasselback, which includes slices of red onion and garlic between each rutabaga wedge for extra flavor.

Rutabaga Spice Cake

spice cake

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Think carrot cake, but lighter with a honey-colored crumb. If you have food sensitivities, try this marvelously dense, dairy- and gluten-free rutabaga spice cake or this dairy- and flour-intensive version of rutabaga spice cake with browned-butter icing.

Rutabaga Oven Fries

rutabaga fries

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Rutabaga also makes superb oven fries: Toss rutabaga spears in in fat (olive oil, coconut oil, or even bacon fat or beef tallow) along with salt and seasonings of your choice (like garlic powder, dried thyme, and cayenne), then roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

Rutabaga and Cheddar Cheese Soup

rutabaga and cheese soup

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Rutabaga is a cousin of broccoli, and it makes a fine stand-in for that vegetable in this rich rutabaga and cheddar soup. Try adding a glug of beer in there for good measure.

Raw Rutabaga Salad

raw salad

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Rutabaga can be delicious raw. You can shave or grate early-season (late fall) roots and use immediately. For roots that have been in storage a little, toss with vinegar and olive oil and let sit 15 minutes before serving, as in this Asian-inspired shaved rutabaga and scallion salad.

Roasted Rutabaga

roasted rutabaga

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Roasted rutabaga is an easy weeknight side dish. Cube rutabaga and toss in olive oil with salt on a sheet pan. Roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Add maple syrup and fresh thyme to accentuate rutabaga’s sweetness.

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