Seasonal Food: Rooting for Rutabagas as Winter Winds Down

One of the last vegetables hanging around your local farmers' market in March is likely to be the rutabaga. Not always first on people’s minds, but aren’t you getting bored of carrots, parsnips, beets and potatoes? Maybe your grandma cooked rutabagas, frying them up in some butter? Even if your memories of these old-timey root veggies aren’t that appealing, give them another try. They are a surprisingly tasty and nutritious, cruciferous treat.

Looks (outside): Weird! White, purple, bulbous. Like a big turnip. They do have green tops that –sadly — don’t often make it to the market (they just don’t last as long as the root does!).

Looks (inside): Soft yellow color, dense flesh, beautiful contrast to the gritty outside.

Smell (raw): Like a turnip – sweet and earthy.

Smell (cooked): Sweet, like dessert.

Taste (raw): Delicious! Similar to turnip mixed with cabbage, but sweeter. Not spicy like a turnip can get. They are tasty with just a little salt.

Taste (cooked): Sweet and savory, a little bitter.

Texture (raw): Again, like a turnip, but denser, not as watery. Crispy and refreshing.

Texture (cooked): Smooth, smooshy, like mash potatoes. And because they aren’t as watery to start, more creamy than cooked turnips.

Nutrients: High in vitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid, fiber and phytonutrients (phytonutrients are linked to the bitter flavor).

Super Easy Roasted Rutabaga and Sweet Potato Soup

(adapted from Swede Potato Soup with Fried Spaghetti Squash and Toasted Pepitas from VeganYumYum)

Roasting the Vegetables

5 Garlic Cloves
1 Medium Rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 Medium Sweet Potato, peeled and diced
1 Tbs Olive Oil

Preaheat oven to 400º F. Coat the garlic, rutabaga and sweet potato in oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for approximately 40 minutes until everything is golden, soft, and well-roasted.

Making the Soup

1 Small Onion, chopped
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, from above
Roasted Rutabaga, from above
1/2 Cup Cashews
2 ½ ; Cups water, more if needed
1 Tbs Olive Oil
½ ; tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Dried Thyme
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Saute onion in olive oil until for about 5 minutes, add the spices, then saute for about 5 more minutes until the onions are very soft and caramelized. Blend all of the above ingredients with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more water as desired to get preferred thickness. Enjoy!