Buttery mashed rutabaga and turnips topped with easy BBQ tempeh, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a sweet and spicy beet relish. This vegan meal prep lunch will have your taste buds doing the happy dance!
I know there are a lot of funky words in this recipe (Rutabaga?? Tempeh?? Turnip?? Come again?) but you guys I am telling you it is worth it to step outside of your comfort zone and give some of these plant foods a try!
We are smack dab in the middle of winter, and here in the northeast, that means there is not an abundance of local fresh produce available. It is, however, officially root vegetable season, and I am now your self-appointed root vegetable guru.
Turnips, beets, and rutabaga may not be on your weekly grocery list, but after you try this recipe you may just be trading in your broccoli for a little turnip love!
Quick nutritional aside: variety in your diet is fundamental to optimal health. We all tend to get into food ruts, purchasing the same 5-10 fruits and veggies each week. Remember that each vegetable has a unique synergistic combination of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals. If you are always eating the same 5-10 fruits and vegetables you are always getting the same nutrients. Let's mix it up a bit!
Starting with rutabaga and turnip.
What is a rutabaga?
- Rutabagas are a root vegetable and a hybrid between a turnip and wild cabbage.
- In most parts of the world a rutabaga is called a “swede”.
- Rutabagas are in the brassica family of vegetables, commonly known as cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts (to name a few).
What are the Health Benefits of Rutabaga?
- Cruciferous vegetables, rutabaga included, contain high amounts of antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds.
- Sulforaphane, specifically, is a phytochemical found in abundance in cruciferous vegetables and is often referred to as an anticancer compound. Sulforaphane possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties not too dissimilar from turmeric. (study)
- Rutabaga is an excellent source of vitamin C, one cup of rutabaga contains 53% of the daily recommended value of vit. C.
- Rutabagas also contain postassium, manganse, fiber, calcium, magnesium, vit. B6, and phosphorus.
What Does Rutabaga Taste Like?
- I grew up eating rutabaga, it is my dads' favorite veggie (odd, I know). I find rutabaga to be nutty and sweet. A cross between a parsnip, a potato, and a turnip.
How do you Cook Rutabaga?
- My favorite way to cook rutabaga is mashed, like in this recipe. I simply peel it, dice it and boil or steam it. Then mash with butter (or vegan butter), or coconut oil, salt, and pepper.
- You can also roast rutabaga (amazing with Chinese five-spice powder) or add some diced to soups or stews. I've added it to beef stew and my 17 vegetable soup (recipe coming soon!).
What about Turnips?
- Turnips have a similar nutritional profile to rutabaga as they are both in the brassica family.
- Taste – I find turnips to be a bit spicier/ more peppery than a rutabaga. They taste like a cross between a radish and a potato
In this recipe, I mashed rutabaga and turnip together. You can certainly add 1 or 2 white potatoes to the mash to help introduce these new veggies to yourself and your family.
What is Tempeh?
- Tempeh is a fermented soybean product, typically made from whole soybeans that have been cooked, fermented and formed into a firm patty or a block.
- Tempeh can be made with any type of bean or grain but is most traditionally found as a soybean product.
- Tempeh is firm and tastes nutty and earthy. I find it to be similar in taste to mushrooms (umami heaven) and is delightful when seared to crispy browned perfection.
- Tempeh is an excellent source of plant-based protein.
Isn't Soy Bad For Me?
In an attempt to not go too far into the weeds here I am just going to present you with a few soy facts:
- By 2012 over 94% of soy grown in the United States was Genetically Modified. This means that not all soy is created equal. First and foremost when you are buying soy products you must buy organic to ensure it is not Genetically Modified (source)
- Over 2000 soy research papers are published each year, but there is a great divide between research done on isolated soy supplements (isoflavone research) and soy foods. You cannot assume that research on the effects of soy foods can be generalized to isoflavone supplements. In other words, when soy is studied as a traditional food (i.e. tempeh, miso, tofu) some beneficial/protective effects have been found, including reduced risk of breast cancer (study). However, there is very little data to support the use of isolated soy phytochemicals (study).
- All of this to say that not all soy is created equal and soy is a highly debated topic. I am personally in favor of using some fermented soybean products (like tempeh) as fermented soy contains secondary metabolites that may have additional beneficial physiological effects beyond soy itself.
- I do not believe that soy has “estrogenic” effects (as often touted on the interweb) but rather contains cell regulating effects from brain health, to heart health, to prostate health and breast health.
Okay, enough science for today.
How to Make BBQ Tempeh Nourishment Bowls:
- I love these bowls as meal prep lunches all week long.
- Prepare your root veggie mash (rutabaga and turnip, or you can add potato as well)
- Crisp up your tempeh – super easy peasy, just saute in a skillet with a little oil, and then add a bit of your favorite BBQ sauce at the end.
- Roast some Brussels – because every nourishment bowl needs some Brussels!
- Pile high with sweet and spicy beet relish – this is the easiest condiment. Just grate some beets, apple, and ginger and toss together with apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and honey. (I had leftover beets from my pink pancakes, perfect reason to make some quick relish!)
There you have it. I store everything separately and then load up my bowls when I am ready to dig in, which has been every single afternoon this week!
A few of my favorite nourishment bowl recipes:
BBQ Tempeh Nourishment Bowls with Buttery Mashed Rutabaga
Mashed Rutabaga and Turnip
- 2 medium rutabaga, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium turnip, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp butter (or vegan substitute)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Beet, Apple, Ginger Relish
- 2 medium beets, grated
- 1 medium apple, grated
- 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Mashed Rutabaga and Turnip
- Place rutabaga and turnip in a medium sized pot. Cover with water. Boil for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain. Add butter, salt and pepper to pot and mash using a masher or a handheld mixer. (alternatively place root veggies, butter, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth) I like a chunkier texture.
- Slice tempeh into 1 inch pieces. Heat a medium saucepan on the stovetop. Add avocado oil and saute the tempeh until crispy and brown, about 3 minutes per side. When browned add BBQ sauce and saute until well coated (about 2 minutes).
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Trim ends off Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Spread out evenly on a large cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 425° oven for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking.
Beet, Apple, Ginger Relish
- Combine grated beet, apple, and ginger in small bowl. Toss with apple cider vinegar, honey, lime juice and salt. Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 10 days (I use a mason jar).
- Add a generous portion of each ingredient in a bowl. Smile.
- Beet relish is AMAZING on sandwiches!
Meal Prep Inspiration Coming Your Way!
I have been making personalized meal plans for my private clients for over 13 years. I know that having a bit of structure around meals can be a supportive way to shift into a healthier way of eating. After a bit of a push (thank you to my clients and readers that have asked for this!) I put together a 30-day Real Food Meal Plan for you! A nutritionally balanced, delicious 30 day meal plan.
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