Let me tell you about this awesome vegetable I found:
This my friends is a rutabaga: you probably saw it hanging out at the store with the other more popular root vegetables like potato and sweet potato. And those popular kids probably looked down at the humble rutabaga singing "nah nah nah nah everybody loves us, nobody buys you" while the rutabaga silently cried while thinking "one day someone will buy me and realize that if they use me instead of you they will get to wear those pants they don't fit into anymore. And then, it will be over for you smug potatoes!!! bwahahahahaha" . Ok maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but for a long time I have been looking for the holy grail of root vegetables. That vegetable that could take the place of the super starchy potato and even the slightly better sweet potato and cut in half my calories. I tried celeriac, parsnip, parsley root, turnip and kohlrabi. And while all of them have a place in my cooking I think Rutabaga might be the closer candidate to replace potatoes in many of my recipes. Let's have a look at the facts: rutabaga is actually related to the cabbage, much like kohlrabi. But unlike kohlrabi, rutabaga will lose that pungent cabbagey smell and flavor once cooked thoroughly. And that's awesome. It is not as starchy as a potato so I don't know how well it would fry, but that doesn't concern us since fried food isn't exactly what we are looking for, right? Let's say that you have a soup, and you need to add some body to your soup: a potato packs 77 calories per 100 g while a rutabaga only 38 so half as much! Rutabaga is also higher in vitamin C and calcium then potatoes, but potatoes do have slightly more protein.
For my first experimentation with rutabaga I decided to make a coconut curry. None of my curries are exactly authentic, I just adapted some of what I learned from experience and I am sure this is a very westernized, very unauthentic version of curry, but it works for me and I hope my Thai or Indian readers will forgive me for even calling this a curry.
I thought it tasted delicious AND at 347 calories a serving ( see complete nutritional info at the bottom) I think it is definitely a keeper! My version was pretty heavy on the spices because that's the way I like it, you can go lighter or heavier, I would love to hear your variations in the comments below!
Ingredients (for 3 servings)
2 large carrots, diced
3 cups of peeled and cubed Rutabaga (1 medium-large)
10 oz of cauliflower cut into florets
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
200 ml (half a can) of lite coconut milk
1 can of garbanzo beans
4 oz of sugar snap peas, cut into 1 inch chunks
1-2 cups of spinach
3 tablespoons (or to taste) of curry powder or other curry of choice (if you use a curry paste beware of the extra fats!)
red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
1 tablespoon of fresh ground ginger
3-4 minced garlic cloves
3 cups of vegetable broth
Put the olive oil in a dutch oven and cook the onion and the carrots with 2 tablespoon of the curry powder until they are translucent than add the garlic and the ginger and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add the rutabaga and the broth (add more water if needed) then cover and cook on medium for at least 15-20 minutes or until the rutabaga is soft (it could be longer, depending on how small you cut it)
Add the cauliflower, stir, add the remaining curry powder and the red pepper flakes if needed. Then add the coconut milk and stir. Cover again and cook another 5-10 minutes. I like to over cook the cauliflower in my curry so that it becomes almost a paste or a cream that "holds" the curry together.
Add the sugar snap peas, the rinsed garbanzo beans and the spinach. Cook only a couple of minutes until the spinach is wilted.
Serve with your favorite chutney or with a wedge of lime and a spoon of freshly cut cilantro!
Nutritional info per portion according to MyNetDiary:
Total fat 10g
Saturated fat 4.1g
polyunsaturated fat 0.9g
monounsaturated fat 3.4g
total carbs 55g
dietary fiber 15g
Vitamin A 184%
Vitamin C 153%