A Good Day for Rutabaga

This winter boost your immunity with rutabagas, or swedes. This weird-sounding root vegetable replenishes your health and provides a great addition to your grocery list.

What is a rutabaga?

It is a cool-weather crop that typically grows in Europe and Canada, but also in Great Britain; its flavour is enriched by frost. It is no surprise that rutabaga’s name is derived from Sweden where it grows in abundance.

Rutabaga is nutty and sweet in taste having a slight turnip-like glimpse. Its pleasant zest allows it to be sautéed, baked, mashed, fried, roasted or simply added to stews, soups, and salads. For the brave ones, you can eat it raw or grate it directly into coleslaw.

It is truly a winter vegetable that brings its unique qualities to the table. A nice way to approach the root vegetable is to mix them with other rooted veggies: potatoes, carrots and onions. This veggie blend will surely serve as a great warming dish during cold and snowy days.

Rutabaga and carrots

By Janne Hellsten

What is so special about rutabagas?

Why would you want to eat rutabagas in the first place? It tastes great but, above all, it gives you a healthy boost, something especially needed in winter.

Rutabagas are high in antioxidants protecting your body from oxidative stress. Their nutritional properties not only support your immune system but also protect your cells from aging. On top of that, rutabagas balance your blood pressure which comes in handy during Christmas and New Year festivities.

Let’s get back to the basics

Rutabaga appeal only increases when used in cooked dishes. The slightly golden look of fresh root veggie transforms into a pleasant, penetrating golden color when cooked. On the utilitarian side, rutabaga is easy to peel. It is hard inside so it’s best to slice them.

Rutabagas are easier to peel than butternut squash. They are sweeter than turnips and have less calories than potatoes. This wonder root is also easy to roast. So dive in, dice it, toss it with butter and roast it. Easy as that. At ChefXchange, we embrace experimenting and we love vegetables that are not only interesting for cooking but are also whole foods.

Roasted rutabaga in brown butter

For roasted rutabaga in brown butter, you need 1 large rutabaga, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, flaky salt, black pepper, half a lemon and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.

Heat the oven to 230°C (450°F). Peel and cut into 2 cm (2/3 inch) cubes. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for approximately 5 minutes until the butter foams and browns. Toss the rutabaga in the browned butter and season with salt and pepper. Place cubes on a large baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Roast for half an hour until browned and tender. Remove the baking sheet and toss with lemon juice and parsley.

Share with us how you cook with rutabaga in the comments section below. You might also want to read about the difference between mozzarella and burrata.