Misunderstood Vegetable of the Week: 4 Reasons You Should Eat More Rutabaga

While they’re not particularly popular among the vegetable kingdom, rutabagas taste great and have a unique flavor, with a delicate sweetness and slight peppery finish. I love them.

Rutabaga, the “Swedish turnip,” is a winter root vegetable. It is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. They are yellowish and light orange and look like large turnips, with ridges around their necks. Rutabagas are filled with beta-carotene and other great nutrients with few calories.

Here are four great reasons to eat more of them this winter:

Rutabaga is Cheap!

I don’t know why they aren’t more popular for this reason alone. They have been grown and marketed in the U.S. for about 200 years, but still have not gained recognition or popularity.

Rutabaga Can be Stored For a Long Time

They can last in your refrigerator for a month and in commercial storage at 32 degrees for up to 4 months.

Rutabaga is Good For You

This root vegetable is low in calories and fat. It contains potassium, beta-carotene (vitamin A), fiber and even some calcium.

1 cup serving of rutabaga:

  • 50 calories
  • .3 grams of total fat
  • No saturated fat
  • ~11 grams of total carbohydrates
  • 3.5 g fiber
  • 1.7 g protein
  • 65.8 mg of calcium
  • 471.8 mg of potassium
  • 828 IUs of Vitamin A

Rutabagas Are a Versatile Vegetable

They can be substituted for or added to recipes containing turnips and potatoes very easily. Rutabagas bring great flavor. Here are a few recipes that you can try that include rutabaga:

  • Potato and Rutabaga Gratin with Blue Cheese — To cut the calories and fat, use skim milk instead of heavy cream and use Brummel and Brown or another butter substitute rather than butter.
  • Rutabaga Casserole and Mashed Rutabaga — Here are a couple of recipes that you can mix and match and get creative with. I do a combination of these two recipes and sometimes I even add sweet potatoes, turnips or white potatoes for a root vegetable mashed concoction that is delicious. You know I love recipes as a way to guide the hidden chef in all of us.
  • This recipe is from Chef Shawn Loving, who is the department chair at Schoolcraft College’s Department of Culinary Arts. This recipe was highlighted in the November 2011 edition of Living Well by the Michigan Chronicle.

Mashed Rutabaga with Fresh Herbs and Cracked Pepper

Makes 6 servings, each with 147.3 calories and 6.6 grams of total fat.


  • 1-2 large rutabaga, peeled, roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoons of Brummel and Brown or other butter substitute
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Agave nectar, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chives, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
  • salt as needed
  • fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Place peeled and diced rutabaga in cold water in saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer until rutabaga is tender.
  3. Drain thoroughly and place rutabaga back in saucepan.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and mash with a hand-held masher to desired consistency.
  5. Enjoy!

Have you ever tried rutabaga? What do you think of it? What is your favorite rutabaga recipe?

Photo Credit: crd!

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