What Are the Best Tips for Serving Rutabaga?

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  • Written By: Cindy Quarters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 14 March 2018
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In many places the rutabaga is not commonly eaten, but according to the University of Illinois this cross between a turnip and a cabbage has been a staple of human diets since prehistoric times. It looks something like a turnip, but is usually larger and has a somewhat different shape to it. Rutabaga can be eaten cooked or raw, and the choice is largely a matter of personal preference.

Many people prefer to eat the rutabaga raw, enjoying the light, fresh flavor that is reminiscent of a turnip but also carries a taste of cabbage. The most straightforward way to prepare them is to simply peel off the outer skin and slice them thin. They can be placed on a vegetable tray alongside of carrot sticks, broccoli florets, and celery, and then served with a dipping sauce for a slightly different twist. A rutabaga works well when diced or shredded and added to salads, either alone or along with other vegetables such as tomatoes and radishes. Grated, this vegetable may be added to foods such as coleslaw or carrot and raisin salad, or used on sandwiches for a unique flavor and extra crunch.

Cooked rutabagas have a flavor that is too strong for some people, but others find the unique taste appealing. They can be cooked and served in the same manner as potatoes in many cases, and can even be cooked together with potatoes to create a dish that is different. Boiling these roots along with potatoes, then mashing both together and serving them with butter and salt is one way to use them that minimizes the strong flavor.

Large pieces of rutabaga can be cooked along with potatoes by roasting them in the oven, and then serving the two together. Cubes or slices can also be added to other dishes, including soups and stews, or they can be sliced thin and stir-fried along with other vegetables and almost any meat. One popular dish is a mix of rutabaga and sliced onions fried together with mushrooms in a butter sauce with herbs added.

People who simply want to use the rutabaga as a simple side dish can cook it by itself, typically either by boiling or steaming, and then serving it either sliced or mashed. Many prefer to add some salt and pepper and a bit of butter, but nothing else, so that the taste of the vegetable comes through. Due to its rather strong flavor, it is often best served alongside other strong foods, such as sausages or salted meats, so that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the meal.



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