Rutabaga – Another Potato Substitute

The eternal quest for the healthier alternatives continues. This time, in an attempt to imitate potato fries, I tested rutabaga. It is said to be a cross between cabbage and turnip; in a raw form, it certainly smells like cabbage. It’s not as weird-looking as our previous candidate, celeriac:

Rutabaga root

Let’s compare the nutrition facts for all three:

Nutrition Comparison potato rutabaga celeriac

As you can see, celeriac is still ahead, but rutabaga is not far behind, and at a half the potato’s calories and carbs it’s still a worthy alternative. Also, in my neck of the woods, it’s a 1/4 of the celeriac’s price.

Cooking it is as simple as it gets. Peel it with a knife (its skin is too firm for a potato peeler) and cut into fries. Its flesh is surprisingly firm, so sharp knife worked better than a mandolin or a french fry cutter. To make them crispy, cut them a bit thinner than potato fries. Spread the fries on a baking pan in a single layer and add lard or oil.

Rutabaga root fries on the cooking tray covered with foil

Sprinkle with spices (my mix is in a recipe below; for the next time I’ve decided to try an Italian seasoning) and put in an oven preheated to 425F (220C). Roast for 20-30 minutes, until they start browning. Finish them up by broiling for 2-3 minutes to make edges crispier.

It tastes close to celeriac, although there is some difficult to define difference. All in all, it’s delicious. A dollop of a sour cream on top made a nice finishing touch. Forgive me for a not-too- sophisticated image, appetite was running high at this point:

Roasted rutabaga fries

They certainly come out crispier than celeriac. On the mashed potato imitation side, I haven’t tried that yet but I have no doubt rutabaga will work beautifully as well.

Rutabaga Fries Recipe
 Servings: 2 to 4      Time: 30-35 min    Download PDF 

Ingredients

  • 1 large rutabaga
  • 3 Tbsp  lard or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt/pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F (220C).
  2. Peel rutabaga and slice into thin fries with a sharp knife.
  3. Spread the fries on a large sheet pan covered with foil.
  4. Toss the ingredients together.
  5. Roast for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Finish by broiling until lightly browned and crisp around the edges.

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