A simple, classic side-dish, bringing back all the retro feels. Mashed rutabaga with chives and nutmeg is prefect for the holiday table. 

simple mashed rutabaga with chives

I’m feeling retro today.

What sounds more old-fashioned than “Rutabaga”?

rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga – it’s a fun word to type

…and as this may be the only chance I will get to write out rutabaga repeatedly, I’m taking advantage of it.

Alright so, so what? Well, when I was a kid this was our side-dish just about every holiday. Although my mom called them turnips, which technically they are not.They are also known as swedes and neeps (which I think is just hilarious). The flavour is similar turnips, but turnips are smaller and white fleshed.  (Here’s a pic of turnips!) Rutabagas are more mellow, at least I think so. If you were in a pinch you could use one for the other.

Rutabagas are plentiful this time of year and cheap! One average sized rutabaga will make enough veg for a crowd, which is probably why they show up next the thanksgiving turkey. I’m speculating of course. But since they look so unspectacular fresh off the turnip truck , I do wonder how it came to be my mom’s go-to side dish.

Speaking of turnips and trucks, a little Gavin art for weekend….

turnip truck | infinebalance

The Turnip just before being sliced into pieces, “I should have jumped off of the Turnip Truck.”

Hairy knuckles and forearms aside – clearly not meant to be mine but some burly dude that chops turnips – I’ve never seen a better turnip.

I like this mash on the chunky side. It feels more substantial that way, but if you want a smoother purée use a food processor and pulse the cooked vegetable until smooth. Just be sure to mix the chives in after you have run it through the food processor though, otherwise you might end up with green rutabaga.  And that would be just weird.mashed rutabaga with nutmeg and chives

This makes a nice, lower-carb substitute for mashed potatoes.  Or a change of pace from steamed carrots or squash. I’ve added sour cream here, and I prefer the full fat variety. You don’t need a lot, but it adds a nice tang. Vegan sour cream works very nicely as it’s thick and creamy. Of course you could skip the sour cream all together if you wanted a more fat-free dish.

This is a side dish, not meant to be a star of the show, but to compliment whatever else you might be serving. For a vegetarian weekend family meal, I served these next to a green salad and twice baked over-stuffed potatoes.

Rutabagas usually come covered in wax and trimmed of roots and stems. The are actually fairly easy to peel, and will cut easily into chunks. Not nearly as scary as a butternut. I find using a sharp paring knife like you are peeling an over-sized apple  is the easiest way to remove the outer layer.

Mashed Rutabaga with Nutmeg and Chives

A classic holiday side dish
Cook Time40 mins
Servings: 8 servings


  • 1 large rutabaga peeled and cut into large 1" inch chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt for the water
  • a pinch of nutmeg fresh grated is best
  • 2-4 tablespoons of chives or green onions, depending on your taste and size of the rutabaga, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup full-fat sour cream or vegan sour cream is nice too
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, full of cold salted water, add rutabaga and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat and simmer until tender 30-35 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. You want the pieces to easily break apart with the gentle pressure from a fork. Drain through a sieve and return rutabaga to the empty pot and, while still on the heat, stir for a couple of minutes until the water evaporates and vegetables are dry.
  • Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher, add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Be generous with the salt. Mash until you have desired consistency. Stir in chives and sour cream. Serve.
  • Make up to one day ahead, and reheated before serving.
Trish Cowper | The infinebalance Food Blog