Kale is sexy. Even Brussels sprouts are glamourous these days. Then there’s the poor rutabaga, the widely ignored member of the ultra-healthy cruciferous family of vegetables. The rutabaga, which is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, is neither or popular nor celebrated. It is a vegetable that gets no respect.
My daughter Joanna has expanded my horizons by roasting rutabaga two ways, both of which have become two of my dinner and snack favorites. As much as I love spicy food, I think I prefer the plain version better – rutabagas are delightfully sweet when roasted (by the way, this does not seem to be true of turnips).
Speaking of daughters, my daughter Nora’s boyfriend is a gem of a young man who happens to be vegan. Oy vey. So I’m always on the hunt for great vegan recipes to make for him when he visits. I think Ryan will love both versions.
1-2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut off the ends of each rutabaga, and peel them (a vegetable peeler makes quick work of this).
Cut each rutabaga into ½ inch-thick sticks.
Place the sticks on a baking sheet, and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Then separate them out into a single layer.
Bake 30 -40 minutes, or until the sticks are fork-tender. You can turn the sticks halfway through, but Joanna doesn’t. “I can’t be bothered with that,” she says. I love that girl.
Roasted spicy rutabaga
1-4 Tbl hot sauce (depending on how much heat you want)
1 Tbl vegetable oil*
¼ -1/2 cup panko bread crumbs**
Preheat oven, then peel and cut the rutabaga as above.
Mix the hot sauce and oil, and place the rutabaga sticks in the mixture.
Pour the panko crumbs in a shallow dish.
Dip each rutabaga stick in the crumbs, and then place in the baking pan.
Bake as above.
*melted butter tastes better, but I want to respect my sweet Ryan.
**for a gluten-free recipe, you might want to try chick pea crumbs. They’re very healthy, and very crispy – but a little gritty, in my opinion.
Give these shy, retiring little fellas a chance!