5 Ways to Cook a Rutabaga

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

The rotund rutabaga is all too often forgotten at the farmers market or in your CSA box, but it shouldn’t be. It’s a mild, crisp, slightly juicy root vegetable with a golden-hued flesh that deserves a chance, right alongside your usual Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

Here’s what you need to know to inspire you to start cooking with it.

A Plea to Cook (and Eat!) More Rutabaga

Rutabaga doesn’t like being last pick for the team — it can play just as well at your table as the other (more popular) fall and winter vegetables. Rutabaga is a root vegetable that falls in the same family as turnips and cabbages. In fact, it’s actually a direct cross between those two vegetables, so it shares a lot of their characteristics.

Rutabaga has a mild, sweet, and just a touch bitter flavor that mellows when cooked. It has the hearty texture of a root vegetable, but also remains light and crisp, which is a nice contrast to all the starchy potatoes and squash eaten this time of year. And it can do pretty much anything other roots can — here are five great ways to enjoy it.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

This colorful steak salad definitely contains your usual suspects, like potatoes and blue cheese, but the star here really is the rutabaga. It’s roasted in chunks right along with the potatoes to add a surprising, crisp element to the mix.

Since rutabaga is a bit starchy, it can be turned into a creamy mash that’s excellent alongside roasted meat or a stew. Here smoked paprika and smoked olive oil lend an incredibly depth of flavor to the dish, while cream cheese makes it extra rich.

This side dish couldn’t be simpler. Toss chunks of rutabaga with brown butter, salt, and pepper, and roast until the vegetable has soaked up all that nutty flavor from the butter.

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

The lovely golden hue of these mashed potatoes is thanks to the addition of rutabaga. Adding it to the mix makes for a side dish that has an even richer, deeper flavor.

Digging into a bowl of this creamy soup is an easy way to warm up. It’s nice and smoky with just the right amount of spice because of the ground chipotle that’s stirred in.

Do you have a favorite way to eat rutabaga?