Chefs on the FarmBy Amy Pennington author of Urban Pantry

My mom made mashed rutabagas with bacon every Thanksgiving and it was one of my favorite dishes. Rutabagas have an almost sweet flavor to them, and countered by their earthiness, they don’t need much to make them taste delicious. This recipe leaves out mom's bacon and uses a vegan cashew cream instead of heavy cream to please any vegetarians you have at your Thanksgiving table. As well, this substitution cuts down on some of the calories from butter and bacon fat in my mom’s version. Herbs and salt play a major role here, so don’t scrimp. Marjoram has a strong herbal note and is a refreshing alternative to the Thanksgiving standards like rosemary, sage and thyme.

Rutabaga Gratin

Rutagaga GratinCashew cream

  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Salt


  • 4 rutabagas (about 2 pounds), cut into about ¼-inch-thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Bread crumbs, homemade and ground coarsely


Prepare the cashew cream first. In a medium-sized glass bowl, pour the boiling water over the cashews and let sit for at least 15 minutes and up to 30. Stir in the nutritional yeast. Purée the mixture in a blender on the highest setting for about 3 minutes, until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cover the bottom of an 8-inch-round baking dish with a single layer of rutabaga slices, overlapping their edges and working in a circle. Sprinkle with some salt, some of the chopped herbs, and a few grinds of black pepper. Add another layer and season with salt, herbs, and pepper. Pour in about one third of the cashew cream – enough to cover these two layers.

Continue until the baking dish is full or you run out of rutabaga. Pour in the remaining cashew cream, almost to the rim of the baking dish. Grate nutmeg over the top layer and sprinkle with bread crumbs until covered. Drizzle with a generous dose of olive oil. Place in the oven, in the center of a sheet pan, to catch any cream that spills over. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until rutabagas are just cooked through and bread crumbs are toasty and brown. Serve immediately and ENJOY!


-- Recipe and images provided by Amy Pennington, author of Urban Pantry, Skipstone ©

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