Roasted Rutabaga and Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Holy rutabaga!  This weekend I decided it was time to brave cooking with one of the few vegetables I have yet to master: the rutabaga.  Ok, that’s not even close to true because there is no way I have begun to explore the vast world of veggie variety.  You have to start somewhere, right?  So, rutabaga. It’s slightly intimidating, a giant circle of waxy yellowish-brown skin with a hefty weight.  My mom always made me chop them up for Thanksgiving to throw into a root vegetable hash.  That’s my only experience with this vegetable.  And I always used a knife to peel the skin off, because I always thought the skin was super thick and a peeler wouldn’t work.

What a fool!  You can use a vegetable peeler on the skin of the rutabaga.  Maybe I would have given this large root another glance if I wasn’t afraid I’d chop my fingers off preparing it.  This was also my first time tasting a rutabaga because I have only had it with a bunch of other veggies, masking it’s flavor.  It tastes like a turnip, with a slight note of cabbage and brussel sprouts.  I absolutely love how it’s lightly sweet and not an overpowering flavor.  Once roasted, it is firm yet tender unlike squash that tends to get slightly mushy and easily breaks apart.

I paired the roasted rutabaga with some fresh mozzarella and tossed it all in a light mustard balsamic vinaigrette to created a delightfully light and fresh salad that is perfect for Spring.  To boost the protein content, added two grilled drumsticks on the side, but this salad is just as delicious without any meat at all.  Get your greens on this Spring and start eating more salads!

Roasted Rutabaga and Fresh Mozzarella Salad

For the roasted rutabaga:
1 rutabaga (about 2 lbs)
2 Tbsp pasture-raised butter
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1.  Peel the rutabaga with a vegetable peeler.  Dice the peeled vegetable into 1/2″ cubes.
2.  Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a rimmed baking pan with tin foil, then parchment paper (this makes for easy clean up!).  Add the diced rutabaga to the pan.
3.  Melt the butter and pour it over the rutabaga.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed rosemary.  Toss to evenly coat.
4.  Bake for 40 – 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until fork tender.

For the mustard balsamic vinaigrette:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, zested
1/4 cup scallions, chopped fine
1/2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk everything together until well blended.

To prepare the salad:

8-10 cups spring greens
1 cup roasted rutabaga
1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
1 recipe mustard balsamic vinaigrette
salt and pepper, to taste

Toss the lettuce with the dressing, then add the roasted rutabaga and diced fresh mozzarella.  Toss again and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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