Mashed Rutabega

Today I want to talk to you about rutabaga.


Yes, Rutabega, pronounced ROO-tah-bag-uh. Or something like that.

Rutabaga is a member of the turnip family, and it is THE best tasting turnip around. Every time I go through the checkout line with a rutabaga, the clerk has to ask me what it is. THIS IS A TRAVESTY. Everyone should know what a rutabaga is.

Allow me to introduce you! A rutabaga looks like this. You eat the root of the plant.

It’s really quite easy to prep. First you want to cut off both ends. You will need a very large, sharp knife.

It has a thick waxy outer layer that you will want to peel off.

Then just cut it into largish cubes and put it in a pot with water.

Obviously if you want it to cook faster, you can cut it smaller, but since I had a meatloaf in the oven, I had plenty of time and I like to think that fewer nutrients leach out into the water when it’s not cut up so small. I have no scientific proof of this theory, mind you.

Now, rutabaga can be a tad bitter, so the secret to a tasty mashed rutabaga is…

Yep. Sugar. Add about a Tablespoon of sugar (or sucanat or honey or whatever sweetener you like) to the cooking water and it will be perfect every time.

Then you just cover it and bring it to a boil, like you were boiling potatoes, and then reduce the heat to a simmer until it is cooked through. Or until the fire alarm goes off.

Actually, the goal is NOT to let them boil dry. That there, that’s what happens when you’re twittering and cooking at the same time — NOT a good idea.

Fortunately I was able to salvage my precious rutabaga. Just mash it up in a bowl like it were a potato.

Salt and pepper it real good, mix it around, taste, and salt and pepper a bit more. Then add about a half a stick of butter and you’re good to go.

Heh. And you thought I was kidding.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Butter really is good for you. And it helps your body absorb the nutrients in your veggies, which is just a bonus in my book. Go ahead.  Try and tell me this doesn’t make you drool.

It’s really good with meatloaf or other wintry meat dishes.

Mashed Rutabega
Recipe Type: Side Dishes, Vegetables
Author: Jo-Lynne Shane
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium sized rutabaga
  • 1 T sugar
  • ½ stick of butter
  • salt and pepper
  1. Slice off ends of rutabaga. Peel and cut into large chunks.
  2. Place in pot with a couple inches of water and the sugar. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Drain, mash with a fork or potato masher, then add butter and salt and pepper to taste.

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4 Responses

  1. Tip: boil a butternut squash as well, mash that, mix it with the mashed turnip and spread into a baking dish. Cover with a thin layer of brown sugar and broil until the sugar is brown. It’s even better than plain old mashed turnip.

  2. Please don’t tell people to use sugar, unless they want their beggas sweet. The bitterness comes from the lighter colored layer just below the skin. If you make sure and remove all this, it will not be bitter, it will taste like it should. Thanks

  3. These have always been a staple at our family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It wasn’t dinner without them. THE BEST WAY to make them is first cutting off that whitish outer layer. All of it. That’s where the bitterness comes from. Cut the rest into medium size pieces. FYI-this recipe calls for 2 rutabagas. Stick them in a large water-filled pot and boil them for about 45 minutes to 1 hr until they’re fork-tender. YOU DON’T NEED TO ADD SALT. While they’re boiling, take 1 lb of bacon and cut it into quarters. 1/2 lb per rutabaga. Fry it up til it’s done and leave it in the pan. Drain the rutabagas well and put back in the pot off the stove. Mash like potatoes then add the bacon, grease and all, into the pot. Mix it up, pepper to taste, MINIMAL salt if desired. Serve that sucker up and you will have thought you died and went to heaven!
    Tip… Don’t add extra bacon. That’s too much grease. I tried it and it ruined them.

  4. For those who don’t love the idea of added sugar, another thought is to roast chunks of rutabaga in a hot oven. Just search on “roasted rutabaga” for a specific recipe if you are not familiar with roasting vegetables. Roasting brings out the sweetness in vegetables, even rutabaga! That said, the other tip, which I have seen here for the first time, is to peel away the white under the skin to remove the most bitter parts. Worth a try!

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