Debra Sellers

Associate Dean

Department: Human Sciences Administration


My recipe story: I know, I know… at first glance you thought this was some kind of unique take on mashed potatoes and then the word “rutabaga” threw you off. Thanks for being gracious enough to keep reading as this is an absolute “must-have” holiday food in my family – and, as you can see from the picture, it is always the “Side of Choice!” We believe this dish (although calling it that might be a stretch) came to us from Grandpa J, who claimed Finnish ancestry – and the “history of the rutabaga” (!) leads us to believe this is true. I know it doesn’t look or sound like much, and it is simple to prepare – but it is delicious! Most importantly, when I smell it cooking, I take a deep breath and squint my eyes for a moment. That’s when I go back in time and see Grandma and Grandpa in their little kitchen on Pine Street creating the family memories that I now cherish.

Mashed Rutabaga Recipe

There are no precise measurements with this recipe–it is all judgement and taste!

  • Buy one or more rutabagas (you can actually find them at Hy-Vee!)
  • Peel the rutabagas (they are waxed to keep them fresh).
  • Slice and dice into small chunks.
  • Boil until soft.
  • Drain.
  • Add butter and mash to desired texture (some like their mash smooth; I like mine a bit lumpy).
  • Add salt to taste (some people add pepper).
  • Serve hot!
As you can see, this is the side of choice at gatherings!