Cheesy Rutabaga Casserole – Healthy Comfort Food

cheesy-rutabaga-casserole

Winter. I swear it gets longer and longer every year. I love winter until about January 3rd and then I join the rest of the world in the long gloomy days of winter depression.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me crave a good warm comfort meal, preferably full of cheesy goodness. And if you are also like me, you don’t want to blow all of your hard work in the gym on such a meal. Enter a new household favorite: The Cheesy Rutabaga Casserole. This was cheesy, delicious, and was the perfect way to eat myself out of the winter depression without feeling bad about it!

Before we get to the good stuff you’re probably thinking “Rutawhat?” Let me tell you, I had only heard of Rutabaga’s a few times in the past. I even bought one once and the clerk at the checkout asked me what it was. I responded “I’m not sure yet” and it sat on my counter for a month until I tossed it. But this year for New Year’s I vowed to add as many new healthy foods to my diet as I could so the rutabaga made its appearance again. After all, everyone deserves a second chance, right?!

cheesy rutabaga casseroleThe Rutabaga is a funny looking thing. It turns out that it’s a cross between a turnip and a wild cabbage. Rutabaga’s are pretty big in size, and appear waxy and tough on the outside. It lands in the category of: What the heck would you do with that thing, foods. In short, you can cook it and prepare it like a potato. The waxy outer layer, although it seems tough, is very easy to peel. Once peeled you simply cut, chop, or slice however you see fit. The flavor uncooked is slightly bitter, but when cooked the sweet flavor that rivals the sweet potato comes out in full force.  You can make them like you would mashed potatoes, fries, or in a cheesy casserole like I did. You can broil them, boil them, roast them, puree them and anything else you can think of! And now that you are not so afraid of the rutabaga, check out the nutritional profile: 1 cup of Rutabaga packs only 66 calories, 15g of carbs, 0 g of fat, 2 g of protein, and 3 g of fiber. On top of the great macronutrient break down they are a great source of potassium (1 cup has 782mg!), calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C.

Now get to the store, pick yourself up a Rutabaga and make this easy and delicious winter casserole. I adapted this recipe to fit into a better macronutrient profile.

Cheesy Rutabaga Casserole

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 cups Rutabaga (peeled and cubed)
  • 1 medium apple (cut up)
  • 1 sweet potato ( peeled and cubed)
  • ½ cup Fage 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup Kraft 2% Colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup Part skim Mozzarella cheese
  • 3 Tbsp Light Butter
  • 2 Green Onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp Cholula Hot sauce
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350°.

1. Combine the Rutabaga, apple slices, and sweet potato into a large pot filled with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low or medium low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. The rutabaga and potato should be tender to touch with a fork. 

chopped-rutabaga

2. Drain the water from the pot, and place the rutabaga, apple, and potato into a food processor (you may need to do this in small batches depending on the size and strength of your food processor).

blended-rutabaga

3. Once all the rutabaga mixture is nicely pureed, stir in the butter, cheeses, greek yogurt, and green onions. Blend again until smooth. Spice with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Stir in as much hot sauce as you wish.

rutabaga-mix

 

4. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer your mixture to the dish and pop in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until heated through.

cheesy-rutabaga-casserole

 

5. ENJOY!

 

Nutrition Information: Makes 8 servings: 169 calories/ 21 carbs/6 fat/ 9 protein/ 4 fiber

 

 

Resources:

https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/rutabaga.html

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2611/2

http://www.thekitchn.com/why-you-should-give-rutabaga-a-chance-183530

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