Pan-fried Rutabaga and Onions (great substitute for fried white potatoes)

There are few things I like better than my mother’s fried potatoes. And whenever she makes them, I’ll eat them without a second thought. But after completing the Whole30, I don’t even have white potatoes in my house and I wouldn’t fry them up for the hub and me if I did. The glycemic index is too high and the inflammatory properties aren’t fun to deal with.

That said, I miss my white potatoes. Turnips don’t fill the gap. Neither do parsnips. So one day, out of desperation, I bought a rutabaga. It sat on the counter and eyed me with a waxy stare for a couple of weeks until I decided I had to put it out of my misery. So I stir fried it with some other veggies, and hey, it tasted a lot like a white potato! And sort of like a parsnip. And I like parsnips nearly as much as I like potatoes. Visions of fried rutabaga danced in my head (wish you could have been there!).

So here’s my recipe for some mighty tasty fried rutabaga with onions — a great side dish with meatloaf or burgers, and a wonderful option for your Meal One/breakfast veggie, whether you cook it fresh in the a.m. or warm up leftovers.

Rutabaga – decide how many you’ll need for the number of people you’re feeding. One medium rutabaga will make a good portion for one to two people. Add a few more than you think you’ll need if you want leftovers.

Sweet white onion – (optional) Again, decide how many you need. My ideal combo is as many onions as rutabagas.

Coconut Oil — one thumb size per person if you’re doing Whole30. If not, you might want to use less.

Ghee — one thumb size per person if you’re doing Whole30. If not, you might want to use less.

Salt and Pepper to taste

If you’re only frying one or two rutabagas, cooking will take about 15 mins. If your pan is really full, it will take longer.

This is a California Golden Rutabaga. It doesn't have any purple skin and is smaller than the purple ones. The hub and I like it better than the purple, but the purple are good, too.

This is a California Golden Rutabaga. It doesn’t have any purple skin and is smaller than the purple ones. The hub and I like it better than the purple, but the purple are good, too.

  1. Trim the ends off the rutabaga, set it on one end on a cutting board, and peel it from top to bottom using a downward slicing motion. It helps to curve the knife blade to follow the contour of the veggie. This gets easier with practice, but even if you’re slow, it’s a fast and easy way to get the peel off these unwieldy monsters.

    Peel it from top to bottom following the contour of the rutabaga. It gets easier and faster with practice.

    Peel it from top to bottom following the contour of the rutabaga. It gets easier and faster with practice.

    The naked truth about naked rutabaga -- they'll peel it off for anyone.

    The naked truth about rutabaga — they’ll peel it off for anyone.


  2. Slice the rutabaga into thin slices about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.

    Slice it really thin to cook it quickly. Thick slices take a little longer, but taste a little sweeter. Try it a couple of ways to see what you like.

    Slice it really thin to cook it quickly. Thick slices take a little longer, but taste a little sweeter. Try it a couple of ways to see what you like.

  3. Melt the coconut oil and ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat.

    I use this brand of coconut oil, but you can use whatever you like.

    I use this brand of coconut oil, but you can use whatever you like.

  4. Add the sliced rutabaga and let it fry until the bottom layer begins to brown. Keep an eye on it because it will burn. Once the browning begins, turn the slices with a spatula/turner. You’ll need to revisit this several times and turn the slices to make sure they all get cooked and browned. (If you have a really full pan, you might want to cover it to help the slices cook through a little quicker.) Adjust the heat, if needed.

    Just starting to brown. Time to turn!

    Just starting to brown. Time to turn!

  5. While the rutabaga is cooking, peel and quarter the onions. When the rutabaga looks like it’s about half done (just starting to soften), add the onions and turn the entire mixture with the turner to mix.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Continue frying until the rutabaga slices are nicely browned and soft, and the onions are caramelized and brown (they’ll be so sweet and delicious!).

    Voila! Who knew a rutabaga could look this delectable? Hot, caramelized, and ready to be plated (if they don't get eaten right out of the pan).

    Voila! Who knew a rutabaga could look this delectable? Hot, caramelized, and ready to be plated (if they don’t get eaten right out of the pan).

  8. Get a fork and eat right out of the frying pan, er… no… I mean… put the pan on the table and let the family dig in!
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2 thoughts on “Pan-fried Rutabaga and Onions (great substitute for fried white potatoes)

  1. Andrea says:

    Thank you! Fun and entertaining to read, down to earth style, easy understandable instructions, and great step by step pics. Most importantly, you’re actually inspiring me to get to the store, buy something new, and try it. I’ll have to google Whole30. I’m slowly learning, changing, aspiring to get my family on the road to healthier eating. Looking forward to your next post!

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