Buttered Rutabagas were a staple on our Thanksgiving table when I was growing up and I’m revisiting them today ~ these delicious pale orange turnips are misunderstood and probably the most overlooked veggie in the produce section.

Buttered Rutabagas are a delicious old time side dish for your holiday table! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

One of the best things about eating seasonally is the thrill of rediscovery.

It’s been a year since I’ve cooked with rutabagas and turnips, and I’m really enjoying our reunion.  Rutabagas are mild, slightly sweet, slightly bitter, and not at all starchy. When cooked properly, they’re utterly delicious.  This rustic root veg has been around for centuries, but my first experience of them was on my grandparent’s Thanksgiving tables.  There’s nothing fancy about these buttered rutabagas, but they have a deliciously satisfying flavor and texture that plays well with so many other foods.

buttered rutabaga is a simple, rustic side dish full of flavor and nutrition ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Rutabagas (or neeps, sweedes, baigies, snadgers, or narkies, depending on where you live) originated as a wild cross between a cabbage and a turnip, and it happened somewhere in Scandinavia or Russia.

They’re not particularly attractive, to say the least, which might explain why they’re not more popular.  They’ve been associated with livestock feed and wartime shortages ~ and they’re definitely ‘homey’, but when you cook them until they’re just tender like I do, and top them with lots of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, they’re SO GOOD!

TIP: Don’t save rutabaga just for the holidays, they make a great side for everyday meals like chicken and pork.  I love to add them to soups in place of potatoes. 

Buttered Rutabaga, a quick and easy rustic side dish for the holidays ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

One of the things about raw rutabagas is that they are rock solid.  Like winter squash, these root veggies are dense and tough to cut.  I’m so glad I just received my sample of the new Misen knife.  It’s ultra comfortable in my hand, and razor sharp, in fact it glided right through the rutabagas that I’m so used to wrestling with.  These knives are affordable and stunning and I highly recommend them as gifts for the chef’s in your life.  (The packaging is jaw dropping, too, just wait and see!)  Check out their web site for the lowdown.

Buttered Rutabagas ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

I like to cut my rutabaga into a fairly small dice so it will cook quickly and evenly.  I think it looks pretty, too, but as I remember it, the rutabaga on my grandparents’ holiday tables was cut in large, uneven hunks.  Go with whatever fits your style :)

TIP: Rutabagas come in all sizes, from petite to giant.  I like to use the smaller ones when I can find them, they’re more tender and flavorful.

Preparing Buttered Rutabaga ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

If you don’t like rutabaga or turnips, there might be a scientific reason, some people are genetically more sensitive to the bitter tastes in root veggies and find them unpleasant.

I like the flavor, I think it’s more appealing than overly sweet and starchy sweet potatoes, for instance.  If you’ve never had them then there’s only one way to find out if you like or dislike them…give them a try!

TIP: You can eat rutabaga raw, too, try shredding it into a slaw

Cooking Buttered Rutabaga for the Thanksgiving table ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

You can serve rutabaga roasted, mashed, braised, boiled, or even fried!  I simply cover these in cold water and boil for just about 10 minutes, or until barely tender.  Drain, and add butter, salt and pepper.  It’s that simple.  You can keep them warm, covered, at the back of the stove until needed.

Buttered Rutabagas ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

TIP: You can definitely prep the rutabaga beforehand, peel and cut it the day before and store it in a zip lock baggie in the fridge.

Buttered Rutabaga

Yield: serves 6-8

Buttered Rutabaga

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs rutabaga
  • butter
  • salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the rutabaga. Trim the ends, and then cut into an even dice. I went with a 1/2 inch size, you can do larger if you like.
  2. Put the rutabaga in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat and cook until just tender, but not soft or mushy. Mine took only 10 minutes.
  3. Drain and return to the pan. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Keep warm on the stove until needed.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/buttered-rutabagas-recipe/

 

don’t forget to pin it!

Buttered Rutabaga is an easy, nutritious, and delicious old time side dish for the holidays! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

 

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13 Responses to Buttered Rutabagas

  1. I absolutely looooove turnip! It is awesome with tomato sauce. My mother and I could literally have that as a meal ^ ^ This sounds lovely! xx

  2. Sippitysup says:

    My T-Gives menu is set, but I love this so much I know they will grace my table very soon. Buttered veggies is so reminiscent of my childhood. GREG

  3. Rutabagas and parsnips tend to be one of those things people eat for Thanksgiving. Then forget about for the rest of the year. Me too, too often, although I’ve gotten much better at using them than I used to be. So good! And these rutabagas look terrific — they really do take to butter, don’t they? Thanks! And Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. My Mom insists that turnip be on every Thanksgiving table. She would love this simple, but delicious recipes! Happy Thanksgiving, Sue!

  5. Susan says:

    Nice idea for serving rutabagas. I haven’t cooked them in a while because my husband doesn’t seem to care much for them. My favorite way to prepare them is to roast them with olive oil and black pepper. Yum. I’ve been pushing my husband’s food boundaries since we married 8 years ago, and I’m thinking it may be time to push them again… Besides which he does like his butter on his veggies, so this preparation might work better for him.

  6. Joan Teskey says:

    My maternal side of family emigrated to Canada 3 generations ago.from England
    we had wonderful buttered mashed turnips for many meals
    The problem is that only recently did we find out that those wonderful “turnips” were rutabagas!!!!!!!

    • Sue says:

      Funny you should mention that, Joan, because I said that yesterday’s red cabbage came from my German great grandmother, and I think these rutabaga must have come from the British side of the family. I think rutabaga are called turnips in certain areas!

  7. This is quite embarrassing, but I’ve never eaten a rutabaga. Guess what’s going to be on my shopping list? I can’t wait!

  8. Now I know why there was a run on rutabagas at the store! Not a one in sight :( I can’t believe how simple this recipe is with such a beautiful result. Love it! Happy Thanksgiving Sue!

  9. Love rutabaga! So delicious when properly prepared. Yours looks fab.!

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