What Do Rutabagas Taste Like?

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Ever seen a rutabaga at the farmers market and wondered what it tasted like? In this article, we'll answer all your questions about rutabaga taste and texture as well as how to prepare it.

If you've had a turnip, you have a good idea of what rutabagas taste like. Harvested between fall and early spring, rutabagas are members of the cabbage family, so they're also somewhat like cabbage. The flavor of rutabagas is mildly peppery, earthy, a tiny bit bitter and a tiny bit sweet.

Imagine the slight zest of a radish, the mildness of a cabbage and the earthiness of a turnip, and you've got the flavor of rutabagas.

Rutabaga Texture

Surprisingly, rutabagas are very satisfyingly crisp and crunchy, even when cooked. This makes it a delightful addition to salads and roasted veggie mixes for some contrasting texture.

Rutabaga is also commonly mashed like potatoes or pureed and added to mashed potatoes as it takes on a wonderfully creamy consistency when prepared this way. 

Which Tastes Better, Turnip or Rutabaga?

The answer to this question really comes down to personal preference. Do you like spicier root veggies? If so, then you might prefer turnips.

If, on the other hand, you'd rather have something less piquant and notably sweeter, dig into some rutabaga. Try the two together for a lovely mixture of crunchy, spicy and sweet.

Can Rutabagas Be Eaten Raw?

Yes, they sure can. You'll want to peel the waxy skin off first, but then you can feel free to grate your rutabaga right onto your salad. 

You may not be interested in biting into a rutabaga like you would an apple as the flavor is not sweet enough for most to enjoy on its own, but raw rutabaga is healthy and scrumptious added to your meal.

As the noble hobbit Samwise Gamgee famously said, "Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew." He may have been talking potatoes, but rutabagas can do all the same things.

Whether you roast them, mash them, boil them, saute them or eat them fresh, rutabagas add a a subtle dash of earthy nuttiness to your meal. You can even try making rutabaga fries as a side to your veggie burger.

In this video, Chef Jim Davis demonstrates quick and painless peeling, slicing and prepping of your rutabaga in an efficient manner.

How about a creamy roasted rutabaga pasta dish? Here's what you'll need:

  • Raw cashews
  • Veggie broth
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Rutabaga
  • Linguine noodles
  • Kale
  • Crushed red pepper

And voila! Mouthwatering vegan rutabaga pasta in a luxuriously creamy cashew sauce. Yum.

Wrap Up

Delicious raw or cooked, rutabagas are your friendly neighborhood cool weather vegetables that take the best features of turnips, cabbages, radishes and even potatoes and combine them in one humble root veggie. Replace your french fries with them, eat them in coleslaw or roast them with brussel sprouts. Get creative!

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