Sweet and mellow and delicious, rutabaga somehow remains an outcast, typically passed over for its prettier, more colorful cousins.

This simple yet totally satisfying root deserves a little more love.

I didn’t know what a rutabaga was until I met my husband. Now, I pick one up almost every time I go shopping.

Rutabaga is cheap (88 cents a pound, around here) and it lasts for months in the refrigerator (I’ve read this, but we usually cooks ours within a week).

It’s truly an ugly duckling in the vegetable world — the peel is covered in a thick wax and, worse, it’s considered a turnip.

A low-cal, vitamin-packed, Swedish-born turnip.

I hate turnips.

This definitely does not taste like any turnip I’ve ever had.

After a long, slow simmer, the root trades in its woody bite.

It softens and sweetens, turning a deep golden-orange color.

With a little freshly-cracked pepper, rutabaga works fabulously alongside roast pork or beef, or even on its own.


  • 1 rutabaga (about 1 1/2 – 2 lbs)
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper, to taste

Cut off each end of the rutabaga. Remove the waxy peel by carefully cutting down the sides of the vegetable. Once peeled, cut rutabaga into 1 inch cubes.

Place cubed rutabaga into a medium-sized pot. Fill with cold water and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place pot over high heat and bring to a boil.

Turn heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 2 – 3 hours (see note), until rutabaga reaches a rich orange color and easily splits into two pieces when pierced with a fork.

Remove from heat and drain water. Season with freshly-ground black pepper. The rutabaga can be eaten as is, sprinkled with freshly-ground black pepper, or mashed and topped with a little butter — my father-in-law’s favorite way to enjoy rutabaga.

Note: Cooking times differ — my rutabaga has been done in as little as 1 1/2 hours, and taken as long as 3 1/2 hours. I check for doneness periodically. The rutabaga reaches its best flavor once it’s fork-tender and deep in color.