Rutabagas. Even the name sounds questionable. But scalloped rutabagas? How can anyone take something so creamy, cheesy, and comforting as scalloped potatoes and
sabotage “SIBO-ize” it with rutabagas?
If you’re the kind of person who thinks “what if” in the kitchen as often as I do, that’s how.
And we were pleasantly surprised: the humble rutabaga makes a pretty darn fine substitute for potatoes… lending the same mouth feel, absorbing the creamy cheesy gooeyness as well as potatoes, and dare I say it, adding a wonderful dimension of flavor.
So go ahead… give it a try. You might just be as delighted as we were…
Starter Note 1: depending on your taste and dietary preferences, your choice of cooking “liquid” will lend different flavors—or convert this into a healthy vegetarian dish.
Starter Note 2: when slicing rutabagas, nothing beats a food processor, but a mandoline slicer is the second best option (pictured at right; they come in a wide selection—from affordable plastic, to ceramic and stainless steel). If all else fails, or if you can’t get the blades to work properly in your mandoline like me, an old box grater works too. 😉
Serves 2-3 as a main dish; 4-5 as a side dish.
3 medium (about 3″ in diameter) rutabagas, peeled and sliced very thin
3 TBL butter, divided
1 wedge aged parmesan cheese*, grated fine (I prefer using a microplane)
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 sprigs of chives, minced
1-1/2 cups of liquid: lactose-free milk/half-n-half (see Side Note 3* below), chicken broth, or home-made vegetable broth
*Note: thanks to a reader for pointing out that not all wedges are created equal! 🙂 I used a wedge of parmesan that was roughly 5-6 inches long, 1-1/2″ tall, and about 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide at the thickest end. In the end, you want to wind up with between 2-3 cups of grated parmesan, depending on how “cheesy” you like your final flavor (in my opinion, there can never be too much). 😉
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Place sliced rutabagas into a medium sized saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer until crisp-tender (do NOT boil until soft / done, it will make assembling your dish more difficult and the final result will be more mushy).
While the rutabagas are cooking, use 1 TBL of butter to coat the bottom and sides of a 4-5″ deep casserole dish.
Remove rutabagas from hot water and drain well.
Place a 1/2″ layer layer of rutabagas on the bottom of your casserole dish. Dot with butter, sprinkle a layer of grated cheese over the top, a dash of salt, a grind or two of fresh pepper, and top with a few chives. Repeat these layers (rutabaga > butter > cheese > salt/pepper > chives), until all ingredients (except the liquid and the nutmeg) are used up.
Pour your preferred liquid into the casserole in a circular motion around the ingredients. Tip the casserole to see how much liquid is being absorbed; you want the liquid to come roughly halfway up the ingredients; add more liquid only if needed.
Grate fresh nutmeg over the finished top of the casserole, cover with foil (or your casserole lid), and bake for 45-60 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and the ingredients are bubbling.
Option: turn this into a full meal by adding chopped bacon (3-4 slices) or 1 cup of diced natural-cured (not sugar cured) ham, sprinkled into the layers of other ingredients.
*Side Note 3: some people with SIBO aren’t able to tolerate lactose-free milk or half-n-half in the early stages of gut healing (and others are never able to). Your safest bet is either chicken or vegetable broth. However if you’re leaning towards vegetable broth, be prepared to make your own (we love this recipe)—we’ve been unable to find any grocery store brand that doesn’t contain onions and garlic. (If you do find one, please leave a comment!)