Whenever I hear or see anything about rutabaga, I automatically think of my dad’s mashed rutabaga at thanksgiving. As a kid, it totally confused me to see mashed potatoes on the table along with something that just looked orange mashed potatoes. Why would you have both? I understand now. They are pretty different vegetables. While they are both root crops, a rutabaga is actually a hybrid of turnips and cabbage. The taste of it is definitely described by that fact. It’s earthy, savory, and has a comforting texture and flavor. Another great thing to note is that rutabaga is a vegetable that can be used in very similar ways to a potato but offers some more health benefits. Not only is this lower in calories and carbohydrates, but it has an impressive profile of vitamins and minerals like folate, magnesium, and much more.
Since mashed rutabaga was actually the only way I’d ever tried it, and because it really just resonates fall to me, I decided to switch it up. This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the weather is perfect to sit outside in the sun with some snacks and good music. I figured since it is so close to a potato, why not try making some fries out of it. This root crop is shockingly easy to peel despite its thick looking exterior. Once peeled, it’s a nice pale orange-ish color with a firm texture. By chopping them uniformly and dressing the fries with a few savory spices, they turned out to be like the real thing, maybe even be better. Their flavor is a little brighter than traditional fries and especially when paired with a tangy dipping sauce, you really won’t miss the potatoes. Read on below for a simple recipe for the fries and a dipping sauce out of condiments you probably already have in your fridge.
- 1 rutabaga (peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch thick sticks)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil
Ingredients for side sauce:
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup mayo (or vegan mayo)
- 2 tablespoons dijon or any mustard (I used Norman’s spicy beer mustard)
- 1 tablespoon of hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
- Preheat the oven to 425. To prevent sticking, cover your sheet pan with a layer of tin foil and place the pan the oven to preheat along with it.
- Peel and cut the rutabaga and put them in a medium-sized bowl. First, drizzle the olive oil on them. Then, add all the spices. Combine until all the spices are spread evenly throughout.
- Pull your pan out of the preheated oven. Arrange all your fries in a single layer and bake for 30 minutes.
- While baking, combine all the ingredients for the side sauce in a small dish. Combine thoroughly. Taste for adjustments. This can be doubled and kept in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- Once the fries are golden browned, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool on paper towels. Serve with dipping sauce. To reheat, simply reheat at 450 in the oven for 5-7 minutes.