Beyond the Pasty

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 [email protected].