Recipe: Cilantro Garlic Rutabaga Chips

Finding healthy ways to eat isn’t hard. Finding healthy ways to eat that still including really enjoying your food can be tougher for some people.  The recipes I provide here try to give you truly healthy eating that also tastes good.  While tasting good is key, sometimes how a food eats is just as important.  We Americans have a need for crunching things, and those things can’t always be raw veggies for most people.  The good news is, there are lots of ways to solve that need and still be healthy.  Case in point, Garlic Cilantro Rutabaga Chips.

FYI – if you would prefer this in video form, I did an episode of my podcast on rutabaga chips, so check it out on YouTube or subscribe to the iTunes podcast.


  • 1-2 medium rutabagas
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 table spoon turmeric
  • 1/2 table spoon paprika

cooking for life

So what is a rutabaga, first of all.  It’s a cross between a turnip and cabbage, and is a root vegetable.  It doesn’t have too strong of a flavor, which makes it ideal for chip making.  Select medium-sized rutabagas with a firm feel to them. Some have purple on the outsides and some don’t – don’t worry too much about that.
Before we deal with the root itself, let’s make the seasoned oil so it gets a chance to really take on the flavors we are going to add.  This batch is a cilantro and garlic rutabaga chip (with sea salt, turmeric and paprika), but you can really season them however you want.  I’ve done them similarly but with dill instead of cilantro.  You can put in sea salt and cayenne for a spicier chip.  You could make curry chips.   You could just do salt and oil.  It’s really up to you and what you enjoy.  The key is to keep them healthy, so stay away from sugars (any kind of sugar, e.g. honey, maple syrup) or heavy sauces that likely hide a ton of sugar (e.g. BBQ sauce).  The idea is to get the flavor profile with the spices themselves instead of a sauce with spices in it. Most herbs and spices have health benefits (like turmeric for anti-inflammatory benefits, cayenne for metabolic and anti-inflammatory benefits, ginger for digestion, Ceylon cinnamon for sugar regulation, etc).  We’re also going to use garlic, which is very healthful and good for your gut along with cilantro, which helps the body detox from things like heavy metals (which most people have too much of in their system in today’s world).
Start by washing your cilantro, and then separating the stems and leaves.  We’re primarily going to use the leaves, but the stems pack a lot of flavor, so I have a trick use for them before throwing them out.  Be sure to pat the cilantro dry before picking the leaves off or your job will be much harder and your seasoning will not mix well when you add the oil.
Oil and seasoning coming together

How much Cilantro to use is up to you – you can’t really overdo it, but I suppose if you don’t like cilantro (I know a few people who don’t care for it), then you wouldn’t want to use much (or use something else, like dill).  Set the leaves aside for a moment.  Take the stems into a bunch, and crack them in a few places to open them up.  Get a large bowl, put the stems in, and pour oil over them.  What kind of oil is largely up to you, but make a healthy choice.  Use olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil or sesame oil.  Stay away from canola and vegetable oil.  You don’t need a ton of oil – it needs to be enough to coat the chips.  Usually a quarter to half cup is sufficient.  Add to this mashed up garlic (use a garlic press, or crush and mince it).  I typically use 3-4 large cloves.  Again, feel free to adjust this up or down to your taste.  Same goes for the spices.  I added about a table spoon of salt, and a half table spoon of paprika and turmeric.  Use the cilantro stems to stir it all up, taking care not to mix the stems in.  We need to pull them out soon, so don’t make that job harder on yourself.

Chop up the cilantro leaves, and mix about 3/4 of them into the oil.  Again, stir things up.  Let that oil sit for an hour or so to really take on the flavors.  It’s not mandatory, but the longer it sits, the more flavorful it will be.
Now back to the root of the issue.  You can’t misspell rutabaga without root.  OK, that wasn’t funny.  Use a peeler to take off the outer layer of the rutabaga.  Now you have to make chips, which you can do a couple of ways.  You can use the peeler and just peel right across the rutabaga.  That will make consistent but thing chips.  You can use a mandolin (a board with a blade you can adjust the depth of to make consistent slices) set to either 1/16″ or 1/8″, depending on how thin and crispy you want your chips.  If you use 1/16″, be more vigilant while cooking the chips as they’ll cook faster and can go from undercooked to burnt very rapidly.  As a note, you can peel or slice your chips right into the seasoning bowl, but if you do, pull out the cilantro stems before.  If you make the chips elsewhere, pull out the stems before adding the chips in.

Next, combine the chips into the oil and seasoning mixture, and work them together with your hands. OK, before doing that, wash your hands. Wait, go back to the whole beginning and wash your hands. OK, now wash them again before mixing things up.  Good work.  Now the key is to make sure that each chip is oiled/seasoned on both sides.  Be mindful of chips being stuck together.  Once you work everything through nicely, set the bowl aside for an hour if you have the time. Again, this isn’t super necessary, but the longer they sit, the more flavorful they’ll be.  I just made a batch of these with dill and let them sit for about 8 hours before cooking them, and they were out of this world.

Now, get the oil off your hands.  Stop for a moment and appreciate how nice your hands feel.  Wait, you have a piece of cilantro stuck to one of your fingers.  Got it?  Good.

Chips arranged on a baking sheet, ready for the oven.

Now we have to set the chips up for baking.  Preheat your oven to 350˙F and get out of baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper (I find this works better than aluminum foil as it lets the oil pull away from the chips rather than making them sit in a pool of oil, which leads to less crispiness and heavier chips that aren’t as healthy for you. There also a benefit to reducing your exposure to heavy metals, so it’s win-win.).

Try to avoid overlapping chips or piling chips on top of chips. If you do, you’ll get softer, soggier chips.  this might mean you need two trays.  So be it.  If you have a wire rack you can bake on, you can use that, too, but be sure there’s something under it to catch oil drippings, and make sure you can easily clean it (i.e. don’t just use the oven’s rack – and if you tried, you’d get all burned from trying to lay the chips on it when the oven is heated up).  Now is also the time to use any remaining cilantro to sprinkle some fresher (i.e. less oily) cilantro on the chips (as in this photo).  This is optional, of course.

Done. Some more so than others.
Be sure to rotate the trays to help avoid this

Once the over is at 350, pop the sheets in.  At 10 minutes, turn the trays around.  If you have two trays on different levels, also flip which is on top and which is on the bottom level.  The key is to help the chips cook evenly.  If you have a convection oven, that can be helpful here.

If you made chips using your peeler or cut to 1/16″ with something like a mandolin, keep an eye on them every minute after 10 minutes.  If you cut them a little thicker, start your checks at minute 15.  For 1/8″, I typically find them to be done around 18 minutes.  For 1/16″, it’s usually more like 14 minutes.

Nice, crisp chip

That’s it.  They’re done.  Let them cool for a minute or two (you can eat them warm or cool).  I don’t recommend treating these like store-bought chips that will keep for a few days.  Eat them the day you make them.  You won’t have a problem doing that.  They’re really good, and you will likely be more concerned with wether you got enough and if it’s ok to lick the parchment paper.  No, it isn’t.

These healthy chips are one way to deliver on the clean14 challenge if you have vowed to cut out junk food from your diet.

Recipes like this really show how you can eat fun and tasty food while you enlighten.your.body.

About bryan falchuk

bryan falchuk is the founder of, a certified personal trainer, behavior change specialist and the best-selling author of "Do a Day". bryan coaches people on their whole health - the physical, mental and emotional combination of wellness that we need to thrive and change our lives.

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