Oven Roasted Rutabaga Fries are a simple recipe that delivers on both flavour and nutrition. Ready in 45 minutes, these French Fry alternatives are a delicious side dish, appetizer or anytime-snack!
I have to admit, my culinary experience with rutabaga is quite limited. So limited in fact, that until recently I’d only ever eaten this vegetable at Thanksgiving dinner, mashed along with carrot or apple to mask the taste. I’m sorry to admit that I’ve never really enjoyed it.
All of that changed recently, when I was gifted three beautiful, fresh-from-the-ground, rutabagas from the Pemberton Valley. I placed them on the kitchen counter and stared at them, wondering what on earth to do with them. Feeling a little short on inspiration, I texted my food-loving sisters for possible ideas, and they delivered in spades. Along with several other great ideas, one sister suggested rutabaga “fries” and that suggestion was all I needed to start peeling and chopping!
Let’s get one thing out of the way. Like sweet potato fries, zucchini fries and carrot fries, rutabaga fries don’t quite taste like French Fries. No vegetable “fry” tastes like a potato fry. Vegetable fries are all delicious in their own ways, but nothing else tastes quite like a true French fry, except a true deep-fried potato French Fry. That being said, these, like other veggie fries, are delicious in their own right, and deserving of a place in your regular dinner rotation.
Not knowing a lot about rutabagas, I decided to take a deep dive into the subject and quickly found that they are a beloved vegetable for people following a low-carb diet. Praised for their high nutritional content, these low calorie, low carb vegetables are cruciferous powerhouses. High in vitamins C and E, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, these fibre-rich vegetables taste satisfyingly starchy, without the drawbacks of high-starch foods.
Depending on where you live, rutabagas might be called Swedes, neeps or yellow turnip (though actual turnip is a smaller, white and purple vegetable). Look for rutabagas that are firm and heavy, with a smooth yellow and brown skin. The skin is often coated in a paraffin wax to keep them from drying out, so you’ll want to be sure to peel this vegetable.
HOW TO CUT A RUTABAGA FOR FRIES
Cutting up a whole rutabaga may seem like a daunting task, but once you know what you’re doing, peeling and slicing one of these big root vegetables is actually quite simple.
- Step 1: Start by washing the outside of the rutabaga to remove any dirt. Rutabaga is a root vegetable so it may still have a little (or a lot) of dirt on the skin. Even if it is covered in wax, it has likely been touched by many hands and received a coating of dust during it’s voyage from the farm to your kitchen, so it’s best to wash it well.
- Step 2: Place the rutabaga on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the rutabaga in half through the stem to create two even halves that will lay flat on the cutting board.
- Step 3: Turn each half onto its flat side. Using the same large, sharp knife, trim off the top stem and bottom root ends. Try to trim the top and bottom as thinly as possible to not waste too much. Discard the stem and root ends. Slice the rest of the rutabaga halves into 1/2″ thick semi-circular, half-moon shapes.
- Step 4: Switch to a smaller pairing knife, and peel the skin off of each half-moon piece.
- Step 5: Lay the peeled semi-circular pieces flat on the cutting board and slice each piece into French fry shaped spears, about 1/2″ thick. Try to cut them the same thickness so they roast evenly.
Serve these rutabaga fries anytime you would serve French Fries. They’re perfect as a side dish for burgers and sandwiches, but are also an unexpected and delicious side dish for roast chicken or oven-baked fish. Serve them as an appetizer or snack, with ketchup, sriracha mayo or Herb Garden Buttermilk Ranch for dipping.
Oven Roasted Rutabaga Fries
- 1 medium size rutabaga
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Place a large baking sheet on the centre rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 425F
- Cut the rutabaga in half, cutting through the stem and root. Working with half at a time, slice the rutabaga into half moon shapes, about 1/2" thick. Discard the top stem end and the bottom root end. Using a pairing knife, cut the skin off of each piece, then cut each piece into sticks to resemble French fries. Repeat with the other half of the rutabaga.
- Add the rutabaga pieces to a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Crush the dried rosemary in your hands to break up long pieces. Add the rosemary to the bowl along with the the thyme, garlic powder and salt. Add a few good cracks of black pepper, then toss it all together to coat the rutabaga pieces evenly in the seasonings.
- Be prepared for the sizzle in this next step: Spread rutabaga slices in a single layer on the hot baking sheet, leaving space between each piece. Roast for 15 minutes or until golden brown spots appear on the bottoms. Flip the rutabaga pieces over, then roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden on the other side. Rotate the pan in the oven if necessary to ensure even browning. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
- For crispy results, be sure to leave space between each rutabaga fry during the roasting process. Crowding the fries on the baking sheet will result in steamed, soft pieces of rutabaga, instead of crispy fries. Spread the rutabaga spears out on two baking trays if you have too many for one, and rotate the trays during the cooking time for even browning – or cook in batches.
- Preheating the baking sheet is the first step to ensuring crispy rutabaga fries. The hot baking sheet with sear the outside of the rutabaga fries on contact, creating all that sizzle and starting the journey towards crispy, golden fries.
- I don’t recommend lining the baking sheet with parchment paper for this recipe, as parchment creates an insulating barrier between the baking sheet and the rutabaga, which will impede crisping and browning. The oil in this recipe, plus the quick sear from the hot baking sheet, will prevent sticking – making clean up quick and easy. If you really want to line your pan, use foil.
Are you on Pinterest?
Follow me for more recipes, entertaining ideas and inspiration