Oh, I thought it was a coconut!


Me and my rutabaga

Oh, I thought it was a coconut! was the expression on the cashier’s face when I instead directed him to the small image of a rutabaga on his handy produce code chart. As if in disbelief about my root selection, he took a moment to examine the rutabaga and then squinted back at his chart. He shrugged and entered the code for rutabaga in his computer. Next came a bundle of beets and a large turnip (he didn’t waste time with those and simply asked what they were), a sweet potato, and finally a mixed bag of yellow and red potatoes. It was probably the most difficult produce code combination at Wal-Mart that day.

But that is how I make my favorite side dish – Roasted Root. There’s really no recipe other than take a simple roasted potato recipe and make it with any or all of the root vegetables that you can find or tolerate. You can also throw in a few outliers like mushrooms or zucchini or butternut squash. But the main ingredients must always be roots!

Roasted Root, as my good friend from back home and I lovingly named it, is a concoction that dates back a few summers ago to when my friend had a produce share with some neighborhood families. One particular summer day, she had received a plethora of root vegetables and needed to use them up. What better way than to include them in a roasted potato recipe that we both enjoyed. The outcome was absolutely delicious. Even after dinner was well over and we were moving on to dessert, I stood over the leftovers, picking out little “last” bites before putting it away in the fridge. Mmmmm…Mm!

Well, at least to me, it was delicious. And it’s delicious every time I eat it. It never gets old. Toby, on the other hand, hates sweet potatoes and prefers traditional mashed potatoes for his “root” side dish. My kids don’t like the beets or the rutabagas or actually any other part of the roasted dish. And nobody, for that matter has ever looked down at my favorite dish and said, “Will you marry me?” like I have. Why is that?

Two reasons I guess. The first, I am finding that most people eat food to satisfy hunger, whereas I eat food as a hobby. And because eating food is an event for me, I get emotionally involved, in this case with roots. Most people have better and more healthy things to do than get psychologically attached to a rutabaga. That’s probably best. The second reason perhaps, like my cashier friend at Wal-Mart, most people have never heard of a rutabaga and are not interested in venturing out any farther than their comfortably exotic coconut allows.

For people who fall under the first category, well, we can’t be friends. For people who fall under the second category, gently put down your coconut for a moment and let me take your hand. It’s time to roast some root.

Roasted Root Recipe (sort of)

(Disclaimer: I don’t follow an actual recipe, so every time I make Roasted Root, it turns out differently. The recipe below is just a sample of what I might do when I make Roasted Root. Good luck!)


3-4 large potatoes (yellow, yukon gold, red, etc.), washed and cubed

1 sweet potato, washed, peeled and cubed

1 rutabaga, washed, peeled and cubed

1-2 beets, washed, peeled and cubed

1 turnip, washed, peeled and cubed

(OPTIONAL: Carrots, mushrooms, squash, etc. Be creative!!)

Salt, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil

(OPTIONAL: Rosemary seasoning mix or Italian seasoning mix)

Heat oven to 400 degrees (or hotter for crispier veggies). Coat bottom of roasting pan, stoneware roasting pan (my favorite), or 9X13 pan with a generous sprinkling of olive oil.

Toss in cubed roots and seasonings to taste. Drizzle more olive oil over the mixed veggies. Roast uncovered in oven for 45 (+/-) minutes, stirring occasionally.



Filed under Food

8 responses to “Oh, I thought it was a coconut!

  1. Cheryl

    Maybe Darryl will let you pick some turnips in his field of dreams-he knows what they are-haven’t fixed rutubaga for him though–Mom Schmidt

  2. Walt

    Hmmm… so now, instead of Allrecipes.com, we have AllRachelsRecipes.com! Well, I for one,will continue to root for you and your culinary crazes! (Provided they don’t cross the border into Illinois without fair warning from the Kitchen Police!)

  3. dad s

    do we get to taste this on the Thanksgiving visit

  4. your favorite sister

    I want this in one week- leave out the dairy and i will eat it all!

  5. Julia

    Sounds yummy to me! Ireland likes their roasted roots, too, and provided my introduction to the deliciousness. I haven’t been brave enough to serve it at home, but now I’m seeing that I can make it for just me! 😉 Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Well played, my friend, well played!!! Makes me want to go roast some rutabagas. I can see why the cashier would be confused though. It does look remarkably like a green coconut. Hahahahah

  7. Rachel Kreyling Kinsler

    Rachel – I am all about recreational eating and cooking now as well. Love the recipe and will have to try it. I’m a huge fan of beets and sweet potatoes and it has been years since I’ve done rutabega (since mom made them) Love Roasting all kinds of veggies – especially Brussels Sprouts!

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