Skip to Content

12 Best Rutabaga Substitutes: Upgrade Your Recipes In 2024

Are you making a meal that asks for rutabaga but can’t locate it at the grocery store? Relax! Rutabaga substitutes do exist in this world!

Most people don’t give rutabagas a second thought while they’re shopping for veggies. They are delicious when roasted, mashed, or used in soups and stews because of their distinct taste profile – somewhat sweet and nutty.

If you can’t locate this ingredient or don’t like it, you can use alternative veggies.

I’ll discuss the greatest rutabaga alternatives and how to utilize them in recipes.

12 Best Rutabaga Substitutes featured image | Girl Meets Food

What is a rutabaga?

Rutabaga (swede, Swedish turnip or yellow turnip) is a brassica root vegetable. This cabbage-turnip hybrid tastes sweet and nutty.

Rutabaga is commonly used in British and Scandinavian stews, soups, and roasted vegetables.

Characteristics of each rutabaga variety can vary. Common types include:

  • American Purple Top: The most common North American rutabaga with a purple top and yellowish-orange flesh.
  • Laurentian: This smooth-skinned Canadian cultivar features yellowish-white flesh.
  • Marian: European Marian has purple tops and yellowish-white flesh.
  • Wilhelmsburger: German-grown Wilhelmsburger has silky skin and yellowish-white flesh.
  • Golden Globe: This smooth-skinned type features yellowish-orange flesh.

Rutabaga is versatile and healthful, no matter the variation. Rutabaga makes a tasty soup or nutritious side dish.

Best rutabaga substitutes

Raw rutabaga vegetables | Girl Meets Food

Let’s break down some of my best options to discover the finest swede substitute out there!

  • Turnips

As root vegetables, turnips can replace rutabaga in soups, stews, casseroles, and roasted vegetable medleys. They taste a bit sharper than rutabaga.

When I cooked turnips instead of rutabaga for a parmesan bake, it was noticeable that they have a more radish-like taste.

Curious about this veggie? Discover your best turnip substitute in soup, stew and a wide variety of other recipes.

  • Parsnips

Parsnips taste sweet and nutty similar to carrots but are harder in texture. Parsnips are healthier than rutabaga due to their fiber, folate, and potassium content. Soups, stews, roasted vegetables, and casseroles use parsnips.

Given their similarities to carrots, I reasoned that they would be a suitable substitute for rutabaga in a creamy carrot soup. I was right! The soup was absolutely delicious!

  • Carrots

Although carrots don’t taste like rutabaga, they can be substituted in some soups, salads and roasted dishes. These sweet, crispy snacks are an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.

  • Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a sweeter alternative to rutabaga. Stews, casseroles, and roasted vegetable medleys employ them because of their similar texture and sweeter flavor. Sweet potatoes include vitamin A, potassium, and iron.

Roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, and quinoa make up my go-to sweet potato recipe. I think it makes a great alternative to roasted rutabaga salads.

You can also check out these sweet potato substitutes to discover similar vegetables and original recipe ideas!

  • Butternut Squash

After rutabaga’s nutty and sweet taste? Try butternut squash instead! It’s versatile in the kitchen and packed with nutrients.

Butternut squash is a standout ingredient in any soup. But can it substitute for roasted rutabaga?

Absolutely! I’ve tried it with some olive oil, garlic and black pepper and it was very flavorful, although a bit sweeter and higher in calories.

  • Potatoes

Potatoes offer a similar texture but they don’t have the same sweet and nutty taste. Nonetheless, they can be used as a side dish alternative to roasted or mashed rutabaga.

A classic potato salad with a creamy dressing is an unbeatable option!

  • Kohlrabi

Salads, soups, and roasted vegetable dishes can use kohlrabi’s somewhat sweet, nutty flavor and crisp texture similar to rutabaga.

In my opinion, kohlrabi is a versatile vegetable that deserves more recognition. Try it as a substitute for rutabaga and you might just fall in love with its unique flavor and texture.

The list of alternatives for kohlrabi also includes rutabaga and attests to their similarity!

  • Celery root

Celery root, commonly called celeriac, has a texture comparable to rutabaga. Soups and stews can employ this somewhat sweet and nutty ingredient. It can also be an excellent side dish if roasted or mashed into a puree.

  • Jicama

This alternative root vegetable tastes somewhat sweet and crunchy. It replaces rutabaga in salads, stir-fries, and roasted vegetable recipes. Thanks to being high fiber and low calorie, jicama is a great food to include in a balanced diet.

  • Daikon radish (white radish, Chinese radish)

The mild flavor of daikon radish makes it an excellent swap for rutabaga. Soups, stews, and roasted vegetable dishes benefit from its somewhat sweet flavor. Daikon radish is also a great substitute for rutabaga due to its similar nutritional profile (few calories, high vitamin C content). It’s also a good substitute for Korean radish..

I’ve written an article on daikon radish alternatives too. Check them out for more inspiration!

  • Black radish

Black radish is similar in consistency and taste, with a hint of heat. Chopped or roasted black radish gives salads and slaws a pleasing crunch and a uniquely pungent flavor.

  • Broccoli stems

Leave the broccoli stalks in the vegetable tray! They have a milder flavor than rutabaga while being almost the same consistency. Broccoli stems also include a high quantity of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.

Rutabaga substitute FAQs

Baked rutabaga and other vegetables are on the baking sheet | Girl Meets Food
How many calories are in rutabagas?

One cup of raw rutabaga cubes contains about 52 calories.

What’s another name for rutabaga?

Another name for rutabaga is swede, Swedish turnip or yellow turnip.

Are rutabaga and turnips the same?

No, rutabagas and turnips aren’t the same vegetables. Rutabagas are larger and have a sweeter taste than turnips. The flesh of turnips is white, whereas that of rutabagas is yellow.

Which members of the cabbage family are good substitutes for rutabagas?

Kohlrabi, turnip, black radish, broccoli stems and daikon are members of the cabbage family and good substitutes for rutabagas.

Does rutabaga have a bitter flavor?

Yes, the flavor of rutabaga can have some bitter notes.

Can rutabaga be eaten raw?

Yes, rutabaga can be eaten raw but it’s usually cooked.

Should I adjust the cooking time for rutabaga substitutes?

Yes, you should adjust the cooking time for some rutabaga substitutes. More sugary veggies, including sweet potatoes and butternut squash, can be ready quicker than rutabaga.

BOTTOM LINE: while rutabaga is tasty and distinctive, there are some foods that can give your recipes a similar taste and texture. Turnips, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash are among the many alternatives, each with its own flavor and nutritional advantages. See which substitution works best in your next recipe!

I hope you’ve found some excellent substitutes for your favorite recipes! 

Are you interested in more cooking ideas? Learn how to replace arugula and find out the best alternatives to artichoke hearts!