Move over zucchini and spaghetti squash! There's a new contender for best, most versatile low-carb noodle, the humble rutabaga, also known as the brown turnip. After years of doing embracing the low-carb lifestyle, I had accepted that my best veggie-based sub for pasta was zucchini noodles. Spaghetti squash had too much of a sweet taste, so I only use it for Asian noodle dishes like yakisoba, cold ramen, pad Thai, Japchae, chow mein and pancit. Only just now, did I find out that the rutabaga can be spiralled and makes a wonderful, neutral tasting substitute for pasta that doesn't get soggy in hot sauces.
My History with Rutabaga for Low-Carb Cooking
I am not new to using the rutabaga as a low-carb sub in meals. I've it primarily for my low carb-versions of my favourite potato recipes, like low-carb mashed potatoes, potato salad, hash browns, Greek roast potatoes, Korean braised potatoes, baked fries, and chips.
For some reason, it never occurred to me to spiralize rutabaga into noodles, possibly because many of the rutabaga in stores are huge and wouldn't fit well in mine. Well, better late than never!
My First Attempt at Cooking Spiralized Rutabaga Noodles
I chose a smaller rutabaga to use for a recipe, peeled the tough skin off, then inserted into my device. It spiralized beautifully into wide fettuccine-style noodles. There was a lot left at the stump end when I could no longer spiralize it, but I just grabbed sharp knife and sliced up what was left so as not to waste it. Just a quick note: it will spiralize easier if the rutabaga is still hard on the outside. They can still be spiralized when they start to get soft, but you might want to cut off the softer outside if your spiralizer isn't a heavy duty one.
I boiled my rutabaga noodles then added it to my pad Thai instead of my usual spaghetti noodles. When my Chris and I took our first bite, we were floored. They worked just fine in the pad Thai, but what intrigued us was how much they retained their structure in the cooking process. We then realized they would be the perfect substitute for our favourite low-carb pasta recipes like bolognese, pesto, Alfredo, puttanesca noodles, and more besides.
Two Easy Ways to Cook Rutabaga Noodles.
1. Boiling. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Drop the noodles in and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and stir into your favourite sauces as soon as they are hot and ready.
2. Sautéing. Heat your chosen oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté rutabaga noodles, stirring constantly, until the noodles start to turn bright yellow, around 4-5 minutes. Add water (⅓ cup water for 1 lb rutabaga noodle) and cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium and steam noodles until they soften to an al dente texture, around 7-8 minutes. Remove lid and toss noodles until water has evaporated. Transfer noodles to a bowl and keep warm then wipe out your skillet to prepare whatever sauce you plan to use with them. Once your sauce is ready, return rutabaga noodles to the pan, toss to combine and season to taste.
Moving Forward Using Rutabaga Noodles
While the rutabaga worked fine in my pad Thai, I think I still prefer the slightly sweeter spaghetti squash noodles for Asian style dishes that have a sweeter flavour profile. My plan is to start using rutabaga as my go-to for any dish that traditionally uses European style pasta or egg noodles. The possibilities are endless! :D
Are you going to try using rutabaga noodles in your low-carb, keto cooking? If so, please let me know how it goes in the comments. Or if you share pics of your creations on Instagram, please tag me so I can see them. Have fun! :)