The rutabaga is sort of a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. It’s softball-sized, and sometimes half purple and half white—the purple part having been above ground and touched by sunlight. It has the texture of a very crunchy apple, with a nice mild sweetness. One cup of boiled rutabaga is a good source of dietary fiber, as well as the minerals magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and manganese. Plus, it’s an excellent source of immunity-boosting vitamin C, to help protect you during flu season.
Rutabaga is another one of winter’s wonderful root vegetables. It matures best in cool weather, which means it typically gets harvested in the autumn, before the first frost, and is planted about 90 days before then. Warmer regions can also squeeze in a spring harvest if the ground isn’t frozen over the winter. In New Jersey, we only get the one fall harvest, and the crop stores well through the winter.
Rutabaga can be roasted alongside other winter root veggies, or braised with meats, or often mashed. Because its flavor is quite mellow, it’s nice mixed with other root veggies for a variety of flavors, as in the recipe below. Another take on this veggie mash might be to roast the vegetables first instead of boiling. That extra step takes a bit longer (about 30 minutes to roast), but adds a nice caramelized flavor to the dish.
Mashed Root Vegetables
Adapted from www.vegparadise.com
This root veggie mash is loaded with good nutrition and makes a delicious side dish to any family meal. Just one cup serving is an excellent source of vitamin C to help boost the immune system and a good source of the powerhouse minerals calcium and iron. It’s a great balance of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates to keep your tummy satisfied and your body’s engine running strong.
2 large rutabagas, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large kohlrabi, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the vegetables into a large saucepan, and add water to cover. Add a large pinch of salt. Cover saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Turn heat down to medium and cook about 12 – 15 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Using a potato masher, coarsely mash the vegetables in the saucepan.
- Add olive oil and a pinch of nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mash again. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining nutmeg for garnish.
Makes 6 servings (1 cup per serving).
Nutrition Facts per serving: 180 calories; 3g fat (0g sat fat, 2g mono, 1g poly, 0g trans fat); 0mg cholesterol; 35g carbohydrate (9g fiber, 16g sugar); 5g protein; 60mg sodium; 160% Daily Value (DV) vitamin C; 15% DV calcium; 10% DV iron.
How do you cook rutabaga?