Mashed Turnips or Rutabagas

A bowl of mashed rutabagas with a potato mashed in the bowl nest to a stick of butter

If you’re not quite sure how you feel about turnips and rutabagas, try either of them steamed, mashed, slathered in butter, and topped with coarse salt and fresh pepper. If that doesn’t convince you to love these humble root veggies, here are three more reasons:


  1. They’re a rugged and resourceful veggie. Both rutabagas and turnips are cold-hardy and easy to grow. That means they’re commonly offered in winter CSA’s and are cheap to buy. They’ll also keep for months when stored in a cool, dark place such as a refrigerator or cellar.  
  1. They’re versatile.  Rutabagas and turnips can be stirfried, roasted, pickled, or steamed (by themselves or with potatoes). Turnips are also great raw with a dip or grilled. Try sauteeing turnip greens or tossing them in salads or soups.
  1. They’re complex in flavor. Technically, rutabagas are a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. They’re sweeter and denser than turnips but share a bit of that bitter taste. Because of their complex flavor, they really don’t need more than butter, salt, and pepper (I might be biased because that’s how my mother always served rutabagas). Try turnips finished with herb de provence or thyme. 
  1. They’re good for you. Rutabagas and turnips are low in fat and high in fiber and nutrients, and like other orange and red vegetables, rutabagas are particularly nutritious

How to prepare mashed turnips or rutabagas

Two peeled and three unpeeled rutabagas on a wood background with a vegetable peeler

  • Wash, peel, and dice the turnips or rutabagas. 
  • Place veggies in a steamer basket with at least 1” water underneath. Bring to a boil and then turn down and steam on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and tender. 

White cubes of rutabagas in a metal steamer basket


  • Drain and partially mash the veggies. It’s nice to leave some pieces unmashed for texture. 
  • Top with butter, coarse salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. For turnips, finish with a small-palm of herbes de provence or thyme if using. 

What is this vegetable and what do I do with it?!


Sometimes at the farmer’s market or in a CSA box you may come across a vegetable you’ve never seen before. Or perhaps you know the name of a vegetable but you’ve never cooked with it and aren’t sure what to do with it. That’s where our Veggie Gallery comes in handy! CLICK HERE to visit the gallery.

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