11 Best Substitutes for Rutabaga to Save Your Meal

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Suppose you’re wondering what to use instead of rutabaga.

In that case, there are a few options to bear in mind that will complement your original recipe. 

First, before looking for a substitute for rutabaga, it’s worth noting its other names.

The root vegetable is sometimes known as swede or ‘swedish turnip.’

Rutabagas on a cutting board
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Traveling across Britain, you’d find this vegetable labeled ‘swede’ in England and ‘neeps’ in Scotland!

While this sturdy vegetable has many names, it’s actually not a turnip.

Rutabaga has a milder, sweeter flavor than turnips, though it’s often utilized similarly in recipes.

Rutabaga has a very hard consistency before being cooked.

However, after being baked, boiled, or sauteed, the rutabaga’s texture is transformed.

Like many root vegetables, this makes it incredibly versatile.

Depending on how you prepare it, the rutabaga can be crispy and crunchy or soft and smooth when boiled and mashed. (Rutabaga fries, anyone?)

When considering what to swap for rutabaga, consider its purpose in the original recipe.

For example, suppose the recipe calls for it to be mashed.

In that case, it’s best to use an alternative root vegetable that tastes delicious when mashed. 

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11 Best Substitutes for Rutabaga

Be aware that when swapping rutabaga for other vegetables, you may have to adjust the cooking time.

The longer cooking time is because rutabaga has low water content, so it often takes longer to cook than other vegetables.

Check the cooking times for other ingredients before using them.

If in doubt, use a replacement that you already cook with frequently.

This way, it will be easiest to adjust the recipe and cooking times without additional research. 

1. Potato

Holding potatoes
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The versatile potato is a good substitute for rutabaga in almost any recipe!

Potatoes are delicious when roasted, fried, boiled, or mashed.

Since most of us are familiar with cooking with potatoes, they’re easy to use as a replacement as we know how to cook them and what to expect.

And, of course, since they’re nearly always on hand, they’re an easy last-minute replacement. 

Potatoes are very earthy and a little sweet and take on the flavor of most seasonings very well. 

2. Turnip

Turnips
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The most challenging part of cooking with rutabaga is that it has a very tough texture that is hard to cut, which it very much has in common with turnips.

Therefore, turnip is one of the best options if you’re looking for substitutes for rutabaga that doesn’t change the original recipe very much.

Turnips have a similar taste and texture to rutabaga, though they are sweeter and a little less starchy.

Turnip tastes delicious when roasted or turned into a creamy mash., 

3. Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi on a cutting board
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Like turnips, kohlrabi is an excellent substitute for rutabaga if you’re looking for an option that doesn’t compromise on a specific taste and texture – the two are very similar.

Kohlrabi is also known as a German Turnip.

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw, so it’s an excellent topping for soups or salads, but it can also be boiled, roasted or mashed. 

4. Parsnip

Parsnips on a wooden table
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Although parsnip is distinctively different from the rutabaga, the two root vegetables serve a similar purpose in several recipes.

Parsnips are great substitutes for rutabaga if you enjoy earthy but sweet flavors.  

For recipes that call for roasting or mashing, parsnips work very well, though inventive cooks can also try them in stir-fries. 

5. Salsify

Salsify
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While lesser known than some other substitutes for rutabaga, salsify is actually also in the same family as turnips.

The best time to use salsify is in recipes that call for it to be roasted or mashed.

These techniques really complement salsify’s sweetness and creamy texture. 

6. Carrot

Carrots
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Carrots are a little sweeter and crunchier option, but they can still work well as substitutes for rutabaga.

As with many root vegetables, carrots are versatile and easy to swap into various recipes.

They’re also likely one of the most popular rutabaga alternatives since most households have them on hand. 

7. Celeriac

Celeriac in a dish
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Also known as celery root, celeriac is a tasty root vegetable and is delicious in many recipes.

Celeriac is another versatile option, working well in everything from stews and salads to roast dinners or a creamy mash.

This swap can be eaten raw or cooked.

It’s a good swap for anyone looking for foods with a low-fat content since it’s incredibly healthy and fibrous – though all these delicious vegetables are nutritious and nourishing. 

8. Cabbage

Cabbage
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Cabbage has a delicate tastethat makes it less bitter than rutabaga.

In addition, its mild flavor makes it an easy replacement for use in stews, soups, and casseroles.

To avoid overcooking cabbage, remember that you don’t need to cook it for as long as most root vegetables. 

9. Daikon

Daikon
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Daikon is a white radish that is often available to buy in Asian supermarkets.

Its mild and sweet yet slightly peppery flavor makes it straightforward to use in many dishes.

However, daikon is particularly delicious in stir-fries and curries. 

Daikon cooks more quickly than rutabaga, so bear that in mind to avoid overcooking. 

10. Black radish

Black radishes
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In keeping with substitutions within the radish family, another to consider is the black radish.

While they do taste quite different from rutabaga, they’re an excellent replacement for those who prefer more of a kick in their cooking.

Black radish has a sharper, spicier flavor than the other options on that list, which makes them a fun addition to salads.

However, you can also use radishes in soups and stews.

11. Broccoli stems

Broccoli stems
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Broccoli is a vegetable many of us already have in the kitchen, so it’s a great last-minute swap.

The stems are milder than florets and work well as an alternative to ingredients like celery. 

Suppose you’re cooking up a stew, soup, or casserole and need a rutabaga replacement.

In that case, broccoli stems work very well here. Make sure you cut or peel off the hard outer layer. 

Or suppose you’re used to only using broccoli florets and throwing away the stems.

In that case, this doubles as a helpful cooking tip if you’re mindful of food waste or saving money.

Hey! Want more expert food substitution guides? Check these out!

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