My Favorite Thanksgiving Treat: Mashed Rutabaga with Fried Sage

If I took a poll, and asked everyone what their favorite Thanksgiving dish was, you would expect to see the familiar line-up:  savory stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, herb roasted turkey, fresh baked rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie.  Nothing wrong with any of those.

Now, if I were included in the survey, my answer would be,

“Mashed Rutabagas with Fried Sage!” (emphasis added on purpose)

You read correctly.  Mashed rutabagas are my favorite Thanksgiving treat, and aside from my mother, I am pretty much on my own here…which I am completely fine with.

See, as everyone clamors to get the crispy pieces of the top of the stuffing, or the last pumpkin roll, I patiently wait because I know that no one, besides my mom, is even going to touch those rutabagas….again, I am completely fine with this.  I will admit, this is either a love it or hate it kind of dish.

Some of you may be thinking, “What in the world is a rutabaga?”

Well, it’s a pretty humble root vegetable with a subtle earth tone color and a light purplish haze around the top.  It is often mistakenly called a turnip.  Supermarkets often carry very large, copiously waxed rutabagas, however, smaller, non-waxed ones are the best.  I have been able to find them consistently at Whole Foods.


Rutabagas are rich in minerals like magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and calcium (which is a by product of the copious amount of butter and cream I will add).  One serving also provides you with over half of the daily required amount of vitamin C.  They are also a good source of fiber.

Having touted the health benefits of the rutabaga, I am now going to share my not-so-good-for-you recipe for mashed rutabagas.   I admit that twice per year, I succumb to the holiday trifecta of butter, cream, and salt.  I am totally okay with caving in and enjoying the deliciousness of butter, cream, and salt.  Nothing wrong with a treat here and there.

This recipe is simple and quite humble allowing the earthy bitterness of the rutabaga to come through. Sometimes simple is just perfect.

Over the next week I will be sharing a few simple Thanksgiving recipes.  Stay tuned.

Mashed Rutabagas with Fried Sage
serves 4

2 pounds unwaxed rutabagas, ends trimmed, peeled
6 tablespoons salted butter, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (or more to taste)
pinch of ground black pepper
1/4 oz. package of fresh sage leaves (about 8 leaves)
1 tablespoon avocado oil (or another high heat oil)
sea salt (for the boiling water)

Cut off the ends of the rutabaga.  Peel.  Cut into 1/2″ chunks.  Place in a pot, along with 6 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the rutabagas are fork tender.  Drain.

Using a hand held potato masher, completely mash the cooked rutabaga.  Add in 5 tablespoons butter, heavy cream, garlic salt, and pepper.  Mash until smooth.

Place in a small serving bowl and top with whole fried sage leaves.

To fry the sage leaves, place one tablespoon of oil into a small fry pan.  Heat over medium heat.  Place the sage leaves into the oil.  The leaves should immediately bubble up and begin to shrivel a bit.  Turn the leaves over after 15-20 seconds*.  Fry for another 15-20 seconds.  Move the leaves to a plate lined with paper towels.  Allow to drain; sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.

*Frying times may vary depending on the size of the leaves.  Smaller leaves will require a shorter fry time.




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