Is it me or does every restaurant now seem to offer roasted Brussels sprouts?! Nothing against them, but isn’t it time to add a new vegetable to the menu? Variety is the spice of life. It’s important to maintain not just a healthy diet but also an interesting diet with a range of different nutrients for your body. So I’m suggesting we give some thought to the misunderstood and often maligned rutabaga.
Plenty of people mistake them for turnips. They are not— though some call them the “Swedish Turnip.” (They are distant cousins.) Admittedly, they are not especially beautiful, but c’mon, neither is your average Idaho potato. You can find them in every grocery store and yet very few Americans can actually identify them.
Mention “cruciferous vegetables” and the limelight always goes to broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. But the poor rutabaga is in the same club with the same high concentration of carotenoids, antioxidants and other cancer-fighting properties. In fact, the American Cancer Society actually recommends we add more of these to our diet. But be advised, for some people cruciferous vegetables, including the rutabaga, do cause that, ahem, after effect.
That aside, here are more reasons to get to know the rutabaga:
They’re lower in calories than potatoes. And they’re a better fit for a low-carb diet. Your average spud has 150 calories and 30 net carbs. But the mighty rutabaga of the same size has just 60 calories and 12 net carbs. Take that Idaho!
The underrated rutabaga is nutritious. It’s a great source of vitamin C. It also has magnesium, calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, fiber and 1.7g of protein. It’s low in fat and sodium.
Rutabagas are cost effective. That alone should make them easier for you to add to your grocery cart. They are between $1 and $2 per pound. (Your typical rutabaga weighs less than two pounds.)
The rutabaga is versatile. You can eat it raw like a carrot or it’s great in a soup. Or it can be roasted, baked, sautéed, fried, boiled or mashed. (My favorite.) You’ll have to cook them a little longer but they’re worth it.
Google Garlic Mashed Rutabagas. You can thank me later.