Really Rad Rutabaga

Really Rad Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a purple-topped, creamy-fleshed root vegetable that is great for long-term storage. The flavor is sort of like a turnip crossed with a cabbage, which may not sound good to some, but rutabagas are well-loved in our region (and honestly, the majority of the state of Wisconsin)! They are the backbone of beef (or venison stews), great for roasting, and essential for the traditional pasties (pocket pastry) of northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Because of their popularity, we grow a lot of rutabagas at our farm. 

We tend to start our bulk rutabaga harvest in September for market and wholesale, but wait to put them in CSA boxes until October and then give them again in our fall shares. Summer CSA members can expect them 1-2 times and fall share members can expect them 2 times as well. Typically, we have them in our online store and at the market into the winter and sell them to area stores into the spring! They are best after a frost which is why we save a lot of our rutabaga harvest until October/November. This is also why we give more to our CSA during these months.

What we grow 

We usually grow the standard purple top rutabagas with yellow skin. Some people confuse these classic rutabagas with purple top storage turnips (because of the very similar purple tops). It’s the bottoms that give rutabaga away. Their skin is a bit thicker and has a yellow coloration instead of the crisp white of purple top turnips. 

On occasion, we also grow an heirloom type of rutabaga called Gilfeather Turnips which are Vermont’s state vegetable and actually a white skinned/green topped rutabaga. 

It’s also worth noting that we do not wax our rutabagas (something done commercially to preserve their longevity) and that makes them great for raw eating.

Storage tips 

Rutabagas store exceptionally well in your fridge or root cellar. If storing them in the fridge, inside a loose plastic bag is the best place to put them. If you are storing them for the very long haul (like several months of storage), you should expect some small amount of sprouting to occur at the top of the rutabaga. This is absolutely fine and doesn’t affect quality or flavor. You just need to trim sprouts from the top before preparing to eat.

How to eat rutabaga

Most people prepare rutabaga just like any other root vegetable: roasted, mashed, diced for soups and stews, sliced into gratins, and shredded into hashbrowns, fritters, or pancakes. Because it is a low carb vegetable, people who follow low glycemic diets love it for things like hashbrowns or fritters that they usually wouldn’t be able to enjoy. As mentioned in the introduction, people from the Midwest (especially Northern Wisconsin or the U.P.) also love to bake them into pies or pastries. We’ve got a couple recipes for this below! 

All of these preparations are lovely and delicious, but something people rarely think of with a hard dense root like rutabaga is eating it raw. It might not be something you’ve done or experienced but it’s also delicious. Because we don’t wax our roots and they are sweetened by frost, they are perfect for cutting into sticks to dip in hummus or ranch, or just snacking on alone in a school or work lunch. Similarly they are great raw in slaws or shaved in ribbons added to salads. 

Regardless of how you prepare your rutabaga, you are going to want to peel it before cooking or enjoying it raw. It has a pretty thick outer skin that is technically edible but not very tasty.

Rutabaga Recipe Ideas!

Photo by: MOstly Bakes

Upper Peninsula Pasties

Recipe by: Taste of Home
Pasties are certainly a bit putsy, but also a very fun way to play with root vegetables and make cold weather flavors a little more fun. We’ve included two pastie recipes in this section. This one here includes meat, and the next one is vegetarian AND gluten-free. If both recipes feel a bit too challenging for you, you should check out this much simpler rutabaga pie that doesn’t require so much shaping, can use store-bought crust, and still has the flavor profile of a pasty!

Yield: 12 pasties
Time: 3 hours (including 90 minutes for chilling)


2 cups shortening

2 cups boiling water

5-1/2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt


6 medium red potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled

2 small rutabagas (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled

1 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

2 medium onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

3 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 cup butter

Optional: Half-and-half cream or a lightly beaten large egg


  1. In a large bowl, stir shortening and water until shortening is melted. Gradually stir in flour and salt until a very soft dough is formed; cover and refrigerate for 1-1/2 hours.
  2. Cut potatoes and rutabagas into 1/8- or 1/4-inch cubes; do not make cubes too large or they will not cook properly. Gently combine ground beef and pork; crumble meat. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, rutabagas, onions, meat mixture and seasonings.
  3. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. On a floured surface, roll out 1 portion at a time into a 8-in. circle. Mound 1-1/2 to 2 cups filling on half of each circle; dot with 1 teaspoon butter. Moisten edges with water; carefully fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork to seal.
  4. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Cut several slits in top of pasties. If desired, brush with cream or beaten egg. Bake at 350° until golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool on wire racks. Serve hot or cold. Store in the refrigerator.

Photo by: Sift

Vegetarian Cornish Pasty

Recipe by: Sift 

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


1 ½ cups gluten-free flour

8 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed

2 large eggs, divided


5 potatoes, diced small

1 rutabaga, diced small


2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 carrot, diced small

1 cup chopped leeks

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup cheddar cheese, preferably an aged cheddar


  1. Add the flour, butter, 1 egg, and 1-2 teaspoons of cold water into your food processor. Blend until it comes together to form a dough. Place in the fridge after you have covered with plastic wrap to preserve it. 
  2. Place the potatoes and rutabaga in a pot and fill it with water. Salt your water, it will help add flavor to the food. Boil until soft.
  3. On medium heat, heat around 1 tablespoon canola oil in a pan, and place the onions in. Cook until they turn golden brown. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan you used to saute the onion, add remaining tablespoon canola oil. Add carrots, leeks, and mustard. Cook until soft, and then add the onions back in. Add the boiled and drained potatoes and rutabagas, stirring until it begins to form a sort of mash. 
  5. Season with thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, using a pinch of salt at a time. Stir to make sure it is incorporated. Once you feel the flavor is balanced, add the 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Once the filling has come together, set it aside so it can cool until the point where it is lukewarm. You can transfer it to a large mixing bowl or keep it in the pan that you cooked it in. 
  6. Heat your oven to 350°F. This recipe can make 8-9 small pasties or if you wish to make large pasties, it will likely make 3 or 4. 
  7. To make your pie crust for your vegetarian pasty recipe, you can do this one of two ways.Take two pieces of parchment paper, then take a ball of dough and place it between them. Use your rolling pin to roll it out until it is the size of a corn tortilla. On a taco press, take two pieces of parchment paper, and place a ball of pie dough between them. Press down, and do this until it is the size of a corn tortilla. You will want circles of pastry.
  8. Once it is the size you want, scoop in the filling. Place it in the center of the dough in a line going across. Make sure you do not add too much filling, you do not want the pasty to pop open while it is baking. Fold the dough over, and crimp the dough along the edges of the pastry. Do this until all of the filling and dough is gone. 
  9. Once the pasties are assembled, place the pasties onto a prepared baking sheet (on baking sheets lined with parchment paper). Slit holes onto the top of each gluten free pasty to ensure that air can properly escape while baking. 
  10. Whisk remaining egg in a small bowl and then brush the egg mixture onto the top of each pasty. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. When removed from the oven, allow them to sit for a few minutes.

Photo by: Simply Recipes

Mashed Rutabaga with Sour Cream & Dill

Recipe by: Simply Recipes

Yield: 4-6 servings
Time: 55 minutes


2 to 3 pounds rutabagas, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks

Salt, to taste

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1/4 to 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream (more or less to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or chives


  1. In a large pot, cover the chopped rutabaga with about 1 inch of cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and boil until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and return the rutabagas to the pot.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and let the rutabaga steam for a minute or two. Then, mash with a potato masher.
  3. Add the butter and sour cream, then season to taste. Just before serving, mix in the chopped dill or chives.

Photo by: Sprinkles & Sprouts

Roasted Rutabaga with Maple Syrup

Recipe by: Sprinkles & Sprouts

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 50 minutes


1.5 pounds rutabaga (about 3 small rutabaga)

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon dried thyme


Black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Place a roasting pan in the oven to heat up.
  2. Peel the rutababga and cut into large chunks.
  3. Place the rutabaga on the preheated pan, and dress with the olive oil, maple syrup and dried thyme. Add in a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss to combine well.
  4. Roast in the oven, for 25 minutes, stir and then cook for another 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh thyme (Or chives works well too!).

Photo by: It’s a Veg World After All

Raw Rutabaga Salad with Apple 

Recipe by: It’s a Veg World After All

Yield: 4 cups
Time: 15 minutes


1 rutabaga, trimmed and peeled

2 small apples (or 1 large apple)

1 cup finely chopped kale

½ cup chopped walnuts

5 pitted dates – sliced; more to taste

For the dressing:

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoon dijon mustard


  1. Prepare the rutabaga and apples by slicing them into matchsticks with a knife or by using a julienne peeler. You can also grate the rutabaga and apples with a hand or box grater. I prefer to peel the rutabaga but keep the peels on the apples. Combine the slices with the finely chopped kale in a large bowl. Add the walnuts and dates.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss until coated. 
  3. Enjoy chilled for about 20 minutes or at room temperature!

Photo by: Feel Good Foodie

Rutabaga Fries

Recipe by: Feel Good Foodie

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 35 minutes


1 rutabaga, cut into spears

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine rutabaga spears with oil and spices, and toss until evenly coated. Lay rutabaga spears onto a baking sheet, leaving space between.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the rutabaga spears halfway through; they should be cooked through and crisped on the outside.

Photo by: Peel with Zeal

Parmesan Baked Rutabaga

Recipe by: Peel with Zeal

Yield: 8 servings
Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes


2 pounds rutabagas

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup fresh grated parmesan, divided

⅓ cup vegetable stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Peel and slice the rutabagas crosswise into rounds, about ⅛ inch thick.
  2. Place the oil in a large bowl, and stir in half the parmesan, the garlic, chopped thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
  3. Layer the rutabaga slices into sideways stacks in the baking dish. They should be tight enough that the slices stay upright. Pour over the vegetable stock. Cover with foil and bake until the edges and tops are golden brown and the center is tender, about 45 to 55 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil, sprinkle on the remaining parmesan, cook for 5 to 10 minutes to melt. Garnish with extra thyme.

Photo by: Food Network

Rutabaga and Carrot Slaw

Recipe by: Food Network

Yield: 4 cups
Time: 25 minutes


1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1 rutabaga, grated

1 carrot, grated

1/2 cup sliced red cabbage

1 scallion, sliced

1/3 cup salted cashews

1/4 cup dried cherries



  1. Whisk mayonnaise, orange juice, white wine vinegar and sugar in a large bowl. Toss in  rutabaga, carrot, red cabbage, scallion, cashews and dried cherries. 
  2. Refrigerate until cold, 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

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