You know how the story goes…if someone had told me 10 years ago that rutabagas would be one of my favorite vegetables…. Fact is, I never ate a rutabaga until just a few years ago, when I was looking for more variety in my tiny, limited gluten free world. Perhaps that’s one of the plusses to being GF: Getting the nerve up to expand to foods I never knew much about. They have a texture similar to a potato and are sweeter and milder than it’s cousin, the turnip. With a quick comparison to potatoes, they appear to be better for you! Rutabega vs. Potato – 1 cup serving: ( calories 51 vs. 136) and carbohydrates (11.6 grams vs. 31.4 grams) so if calories and carbs are on your watch list, these may be a great substitute! Considering they have potassium and vitamin C too, you may want to put them on your shopping list.
I started my rutabaga journey by cubing, steaming and mashing them with some salt, pepper, butter and sometimes a little fresh rosemary, or just steamed the cubes and tossed them with some stuff and ate them that way. Regardless of what you do with them, they seem to be best steamed. So for this recipe, I gave it the loaded baked potato treatment, complete with bacon, cheese, onion, red peppers and a few other things. Ok, so you may need to adjust the nutritional information a little bit now.
Gluten Free Loaded Rutabega Gratin
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- 1 Pound Rutabaga, peeled & sliced
- 1/4 Pound Bacon, cooked & chopped
- 1/2 Large Onion, sliced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1/4 Cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Flour
- 3/4 Cup Milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (for Paleo or dairy free, use your favorite cheese substitute, or omit)
- Peel the skin (and in many cases vegetable wax) off of the rutabaga. A paring knife may work better than a vegetable peeler. Now give the rutabaga a good rinsing.
- Cut the rutabaga in half and place each half cut side down, then cut each half into slices, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, depending on your preference.
- Place the slices in a steamer and steam until tender - about 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- While the rutabagas are steaming, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove to paper towel and let cool. Carefully pour out most of the bacon grease, but leave a little in the pan.
- Take the onions, garlic and peppers and saute in the remaining bacon grease for several minutes until they start to soften. Set aside.
- When the rutabagas are done steaming, remove them from the steamer basket and allow to cool before handling - they retain their heat pretty well, so be really careful here.
- In a mixing cup, whisk together the milk, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Assemble the gratin - use a smaller oven proof baking dish (the one in the photo is about 8 inches wide). Stand the rutabagas cut side down, curved side up and begin "stuffing" the onion mixture and bacon in between the rutabagas.
- Pour the milk mixture over the vegetables then sprinkle with cheese.
- Place in the oven (on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over) and bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and everything is hot and bubbly.
- Carefully remove from oven and serve.
- Don't forget - this thing retains heat quite well, so give it a little time to cool before enjoying.
A 1 pound rutabaga is a little larger than a medium-sized adult's fist.