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Roasted rutabaga is a simple side dish that’s perfect for many dietary needs. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of this underrated vegetable!
Lately rutabaga has been getting more popular as a lower carb alternative to potatoes.
I personally don’t follow any special diets, but I do love to explore new-to-me foods.
We often get rutabaga from our CSA (community supported agriculture) share. In years past I would avoid it thanks to memories of it sitting untouched on my grandmother’s dining table.
Since then I’ve learned that rutabaga is a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in many ways.
It’s excellent as mashed rutabaga with cheese, and when I want something even simpler, I go for roasted rutabaga.
Roasting root vegetables is an easy, flavorful way to prepare them, and rutabaga is no different!
What does rutabaga taste like?
If you’ve never had rutabaga before, you might think they are just large turnips.
While rutabagas are generally larger than turnips, they taste somewhat different too.
Rutabagas, also called swedes, neeps, or Swedish turnips, are slightly sweet and earthy, with some bitterness that is reminiscent of cabbage.
This sweetness makes rutabaga perfect for roasting, where the sugars are drawn out and caramelized, intensifying the flavor.
Ingredients for roasted rutabaga
One of my favorite things about roasting veggies is that you don’t need any special ingredients.
You only need rutabaga, oil, salt, and pepper!
When choosing your rutabaga, look for one that feels heavy for its size. Smaller rutabagas will have a sweeter flavor.
It should feel firm with unwrinkled skin. Since it is a root vegetable, it will likely have a few light divots here and there. As long as the flesh is not cracked or soft, it will be fine to use.
Rutabagas are light brown or pale yellow with purple toward one end. The flesh inside is pale yellow even after cooking.
How to cook rutabaga
To roast rutabaga, first preheat the oven to 425°F.
If you like, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. This will help prevent the rutabaga from sticking to the pan and give it a nice caramelized side.
Rutabaga can be tricky to cut because they are round and thick.
I recommend cutting it in half vertically first, then trimming off the root and top ends.
Cut it again so that you have four pieces.
Use a vegetable peeler or a knife to peel off the skin. Rutabagas sold in grocery stores are often coated in a layer of food-grade wax for longer storage, which you do not want to eat!
The easiest way to remove the skin is to slide the knife along the length of the rutabaga, following the natural line that the skin layer creates on the flesh.
Once peeled, cut the pieces into even-size pieces, about ½ to 1 inch. Keeping the sizes equal will help with even cooking, but don’t worry if a few pieces are larger or smaller.
Put the rutabaga pieces in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
Toss to coat, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again until evenly seasoned.
Spread the rutabaga onto a baking sheet in an even layer.
Make sure there is space between the pieces, and use two pans if needed.
If the rutabaga pieces are crowded together, it will steam instead of roast, and you won’t get any crisp edges.
Place the pan in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Serve immediately.
Roasted vegetables like rutabaga are like a blank canvas you can build on. Try adding any of these variations!
Spices – Boost flavor with smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder or onion powder. Or, try a blend such as ranch seasoning, garam masala or five spice.
Herbs – Cook with dried thyme or rosemary, or sprinkle on fresh chopped parsley or dill before serving.
Cheese – Finish with grated parmesan cheese or gruyere, or crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese.
Extra veggies – Roast with diced carrots, turnips, onions, or garlic!
And more – Drizzle on maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, or honey, or top with chopped almonds, pistachios, or hazelnuts.
This simple roasted rutabaga recipe is a great side dish option for any meal. Give it a try!
- 2 rutabagas, about 2 pounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Optional: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Cut rutabaga in half and trim ends. Remove peel, then cut rutabaga into even-size pieces. Add to a bowl and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and toss again to evenly coat.
- Spread rutabaga onto baking sheet in a single layer, leaving space around each piece.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes, until pieces are tender and bottoms are caramelized.