Discover the Health Benefits of Rutabaga: Root Vegetable Guide

Ayesha Lifestyle
19 Min Read
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Around the 16th century, someone crossed a turnip and a wild cabbage in some parts of Northern Europe. We may not know the reasons for this, but this crossing resulted from a hybrid vegetable1 known as Rutabaga or a Swede (or Swedish) Turnip.

Rutabagas are root vegetables of the Brassica napus family2. They can be found at your nearest grocer or farmer’s market. Do not heed the uninviting appearance of the purple and slightly yellow vegetable. Rutabagas will be a treat for your taste buds and your body.

Chop them up and toss them in a bowl to bake, roast, or spiralize them into noodles; they will be a hearty treat for your dinner table. Moreover, you needn’t worry about any harmful side effects because this vegetable is full of fiber and low in calories.

Follow the article to learn about the origins of rutabagas and recipes to impress this vegetable on your daily diet.

1. Rutabaga: A Root Vegetable

Root vegetables grow underground and are consumed by humans as food. Several root vegetables are commonly cooked, including carrots, turnips, onions, and potatoes. Rutabagas is one such root vegetable.

Rutabaga was bred as a hybrid between turnip and wild cabbage. It is similar to turnip in appearance, although it tastes sweeter, especially if you eat it raw. Rutabagas are commonly grown in the colder months. It is also known as the Swede Turnip.

2. Health Benefits of Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. It has a slightly bitter taste and resembles a turnip in appearance. But once you cook it, it becomes sweeter, almost like a potato in texture and flavor.

That is why it can be used as a healthier alternative to potatoes in many dishes, like mashed potatoes. Mashed rutabagas retain the feel of a potato while also being comparatively healthier.

Apart from using it as an alternative, you can also cook several dishes with rutabaga as a core ingredient. If you need some more convincing, listed below are some health benefits of this root vegetable-

  • High in Fiber—Rutabaga packs a lot of fiber in itself. As a result, it helps improve bowel movements. Additionally, including rutabagas in your daily diet can help prevent diseases like colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes3.
  • Low in Calories—Rutabaga can be highly useful if your New Year resolves to be healthy and lose weight. It is high in fiber and low in calories, which means it will keep you full, and you can eat heartily without worrying about extra calories.
  • Excellent Source of Potassium—Rutabagas are an excellent source of potassium. Potassium is crucial for heart health, and eating rutabagas will keep your heart happy and beating for a long time.
  • Rutabagas packs a lot of antioxidants, including Vitamins like Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which work towards improving the body’s overall health.

3. Acquiring a Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a root vegetable, a hybrid between a turnip and a cabbage. It is an autumn and winter vegetable. It is relatively easy to acquire a rutabaga, but if you are unable to find it nearby, you can try the following places-

  • Farmer’s Market—Try to find a farmer’s market near you. Not only are the vegetables and fruits fresh, but it also builds a sense of community. Besides, you will find a rutabaga to add to your diet.
  • Order it online—You can easily order rutabaga online and have it delivered to your doorstep hassle-free without leaving the comfort of your house. Some places to order it online are the Real Canadian Superstore and Walmart.

4. Preparing a Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a root vegetable, and like many other vegetables with the same name, it is less than pleasing. Its tough exterior can make cutting it daunting if you are new to cooking with it.

Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing rutabaga, so the only thing you need to worry about is making vibrant dishes with this vegetable.

4.1. List of Equipment

  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Vegetable Peeler

4.2. Cutting a Rutabaga

Step 1- Wash the rutabaga

Step 2- Take a cutting board and a knife. Chop the top and bottom parts.

Step 3- Cut the rutabaga into two halves.

Step 4- Use a peeler to peel rutabaga (you can also chop the rutabaga into thinner slices before cutting)

Step 5- Now lay the pieces down and cut them into desired shapes per the recipe.

After these steps, your rutabagas are washed, chopped, and ready to be cooked into various delicious dishes.

5. Rutabaga Recipes

5.1. Mashed Rutabaga

Rutabagas are root vegetables that are low in carbs and very nutritious. Mashed rutabaga is the easiest recipe to prepare in 30 to 35 minutes. They are similar in texture to mashed potatoes but are way healthier. You can opt for rutabagas as an alternative to mashed potatoes or cauliflower.

5.1.1. List of Ingredients

  • Rutabaga
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Butter

5.1.2. List of Equipment

  • Saucepan or Pot- for boiling
  • Masher or Spoon- for mashing rutabaga

5.1.3. Mashed Rutabaga Recipe

Step 1- Prepare your rutabaga by washing and peeling it.

Step 2– Cut the rutabaga into chunks.

Step 3– Gather your rutabaga cubes in a saucepan or a pot. Cover them with water.

Step 4– Add salt and bring your rutabaga to a boil.

Step 5– Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Step 6– Drain the water from the Pot after your rutabaga is soft and tender. Let the rutabaga cubes dry.

Step 7- Add butter, salt, and Pepper to your Pot. Mash the rutabaga with a masher or a spoon.

Step 8– Serve your mashed rutabagas and enjoy!

You can also store mashed rutabagas in an airtight container and refrigerate them. Three to four days after cooking, you can eat them. Mashed rutabagas is a simple and healthy recipe that will give you the same satisfaction as mashed potatoes.

If you want a smoother consistency, you can also blend the rutabagas in a food processor.

5.2. Roasted Rutabaga

Roasted vegetables
Photo by Taylor Vick on Unsplash

One of the simplest ways to cook any vegetable is to roast it. It is a time-saving and simple way to prepare an impressive side dish. Roasted rutabagas are a great way to acquaint yourself with the root vegetable. They are excellent side dishes for any meat or fish meal.

5.2.1. List of Ingredients

  • Rutabaga
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper (or any other seasoning of your choice)

5.2.2. List of Equipment

  • Baking Sheet
  • Sharp Knife
  • Bowl

5.2.3. Roasted Rutabaga Recipe

Step 1– Wash the rutabaga. Use a sharp knife to peel the skin

Step 2– Chop the rutabaga into cubes

Step 3– Toss the rutabaga cubes in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, Pepper, or any other seasoning you choose.

Step 4– Line the cubes on a baking sheet.

Step 5– Roast the rutabaga cubes for 30 to 40 minutes. Or until it is fork tender (for runs quickly through the rutabaga)

Step 6– Serve and enjoy!

Plate the roasted rutabaga with herbs and enjoy the simple, filling side dish. Refrigerate the dish to eat for three to four days. You can also roast the rutabaga in an air fryer for 15 to 20 minutes. Roasted rutabagas are a simple dish for the days you don’t feel like cooking.

5.3. Rutabaga Gratin

Everyone loves a fresh and creamy casserole, especially during the winter season. It is a staple and comfort food for many people. Make your festive season (or prepare it for your family) unique by making a rutabaga gratin, a healthy, nutritious, and mouth-watering dish.

5.3.1. List of Ingredients

  • Rutabaga
  • Butter (3 tbsp.)
  • Flour (3 tbsp.)
  • Onions
  • Milk (2 cups)
  • Herbs (like thyme)
  • Cheese- Gruyere, Parmesan, or Cheddar.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cream

5.3.2. List of Equipment

  • Baking dish
  • Pot- for boiling rutabaga
  • Pan

5.3.3. Rutabaga Gratin Recipe

Step 1- Preheat the oven to 350 F

Step 2– Peel and slice the rutabaga into cubes

Step 3– Put the rutabaga cubes in a pot. Boil them for 10 minutes

Step 4– Melt butter in a pan. Cook onion, flour, cream, and thyme. Add milk slowly in this step for more thickness.

Step 5– Stir this mixture with the cheese of your choice.

Step 6– Layer the baking dish with a little bit of cream.

Step 7– Put rutabaga on the layer of cream, and add cream and cheese over this layer. Repeat this process and end with the cheese on top.

Step 8– Bake until the top is a nice golden color.

Step 9– Serve and enjoy.

Cook this rutabaga gratin to add a twist to your family dinner. It is healthy, fulfilling, and a delicious variation on your usual festive tables while maintaining the casserole’s essence. This cheesy recipe will make everyone happy.

You can also refrigerate the rutabaga gratin and reheat it in the oven for three to four days. Enjoy this wholesome dish with a burst of cheesiness in the festival season, or cook it for your family at home to ensure a hearty yet healthy dinner.

5.4. Rutabaga Fries

a plate of fries
Photo by Pesce Huang on Unsplash

Potato Fries are a classic side dish. With their crunchiness and salty flavor, they make the perfect comfort food. But potato fries are also unhealthy. Try swapping the potato for healthy and nutritious rutabagas and eat fries to your heart’s content.

5.4.1. List of Ingredients

  • Rutabaga
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper

5.4.2. List of Equipment

  • Sharp Knife
  • Large Bowl
  • Parchment Paper
  • Cutting Board

5.4.3. Rutabaga Fries Recipe

Step 1– Prepare the rutabaga.

Step 2– Lay down the rutabaga on a cutting board and slice them into the desired thickness of fires. (You can throw out the corner pieces because they are thick and coarse)

Step 3– Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Step 4—Take a large bowl and toss your rutabaga seeds, olive oil, and seasoning into it. Mix evenly.

Step 5—Lay down the parchment paper and line it with the rutabaga fries. Leave a little space for the fries so they come out crispier.

Step 6– Bake for 30 minutes until they are nice and crisp.

Step 7– Serve and enjoy!

You can make the fries as simple as mentioned here or add different seasonings, such as onion and garlic powder. Additionally, you can serve them with whichever condiment you desire (mayonnaise or tomato sauce).

Rutabaga fries are low-calorie and keto-friendly alternatives to common potato fries. Thus, you can now keep your kids happy without compromising on their health.

You can also cook rutabaga fries in an air fryer. Repeat the process until Step 2, then put the rutabaga fries in the air fryer basket. Cook the rutabaga fries at 400° for about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure to keep shaking the basket at small intervals. Your rutabaga fries will be ready to eat without opening up the oven.

5.5. Rutabaga Noodles

Making noodles from a spiralizer
Photo by Jorge Zapata on Unsplash

Noodles are wholesome and comforting food. They are filling, and you can prepare them in a variety of ways, with different toppings and even different sauces. Noodles are a fun dish to experiment with food.

A spiralizer is a tool for making a healthy noodle recipe. You can spiralize squashes and rutabagas into noodles, which are low-carb alternatives to standard wheat noodles. Rutabaga noodles are easy and quick to make and will be a healthy addition to your diet.

5.5.1. List of Ingredients

  • Rutabaga
  • Olive oil (or any other oil of your choice)
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Red Pepper
  • Herbs like sage or thyme
  • Onion or any other vegetables of your choice

5.5.2. List of Equipment

  • Spiralizer
  • Skillet

5.5.3. Rutabaga Noodles Recipe

Step 1- Wash and peel the rutabaga

Step 2- Use a spiralizer to make thin noodles from your rutabaga

Step 3– Put olive oil in a skillet, sauté chopped onions and noodles in the skillet until golden brown

Step 4- Cover the noodles with water and let them boil for 6 to 8 minutes. Boil them until they get a little soft but still have a crunch.

Step 5- Keep your rutabaga noodles aside in a bowl.

Step 6- Melt butter in the skillet. Put garlic and sage in it and sauté them.

Step 7- Add your rutabaga noodles to the skillet and mix them.

Step 8- Season the noodles with salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper.

Step 9- Serve the rutabaga noodles and enjoy!

You can also personalize the noodles by making them with different sauces, such as tomato sauce, cream sauce, or pesto sauce. Add vegetables to make the dish more colorful and nutritious.

Rutabaga Noodles are healthy, easy to make, and an exotic addition to your dinner table to impress your guests.

5.6. Rutabaga and Apple Salad

You cannot go wrong with a salad. They are healthy, light, and wholesome, and you can eat them as side dishes or main dishes if you want. Moreover, all of the other recipes in this list require you to cook rutabaga in some form.

This recipe is a simple and delectable way to use raw rutabaga. It is light and has all the benefits of the rutabaga while also being low in calories.

5.6.1. List of Ingredients

  • Rutabaga
  • Apple
  • Kale or Red Cabbage
  • Dry fruits- like walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Mustard
  • Vinegar (1 to 2 tbsp.)
  • Honey

5.6.2. List of Equipment

  • Knife
  • Bowl

5.6.3. Rutabaga and Apple Salad Recipe

Step 1- Wash, peel, and cut the rutabaga into thin slices (matchsticks)

Step 2- Repeat the step with apples

Step 3- Slice the red cabbage or kale

Step 4- Toast your desired dry fruits in a pan

Step 5- Gather all the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour olive oil, mustard, vinegar, and honey and slowly mix.

Step 6- Serve and enjoy!

Rutabaga and apples combine to give the salad an earthy and fresh taste. You can eat the salad as a side dish or simply as a refreshing snack. This recipe is helpful, especially if you are not feeling like cooking anything and want to prepare a dish from the ingredients in your pantry.

6. Conclusion

Rutabagas are unappetizing in appearance, with their scaly skin and yellowish color, but their taste and health benefits uphold their value as a vegetable.

Add some variety to your dinner table with these healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the entire family. This winter season, try this vegetable in your salads or your noodles and enjoy a fulfilling meal to your heart’s desire.

Whether you are looking for a healthier alternative to potatoes or you want to experiment in your daily cooking, we hope this article has answered all of your questions about the Swede Turnip or rutabaga.

  1. Singh, Hira, et al. “Genetic mechanisms for hybrid breeding in vegetable crops.” Plants 12.12 (2023): 2294. ↩︎
  2. Zhang, Lin, et al. “Molecular identification of the magnesium transport gene family in Brassica napus.” Plant physiology and biochemistry 136 (2019): 204-214. ↩︎
  3. Ahmad, Ehtasham, et al. “Type 2 diabetes.” The Lancet 400.10365 (2022): 1803-1820. ↩︎

Last Updated on by Sanjana

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