Swede, or rutabaga, is a seasonal root vegetable with more uses than you might think. Find out how to cook swede, as well as how to prepare it for roasting and other recipe suggestions.
If you sign up to a vegetable bag or box scheme chances are you're used to receiving seasonal vegetables.
Swede - or rutabaga - arrives in my vegetable bag frequently during the colder months of the year.
And at first I didn't know what to do with it. My swede would languish at the back of the fridge until I forced myself to use it up.
But over the years - both at home and working as a vegan chef - I have come to love swede. I have found many different ways to use it. And my heart no longer sinks when it arrives in my vegetable bag.
Because I have a host of delicious vegan recipes that are all great ways to use up swede.
- What is swede
- Other names for swede
- Is swede good for you?
- How long does swede last?
- How to cook swede
- When are swedes in season?
- Can you eat raw swede?
- How to peel swede
- How to chop swede
- How to store prepared swede
- Mashed swede
- What ingredients do you need to make roasted swede?
- Serving suggestions
- How to prepare swede for roasting
- Roasted swede recipe
What is swede
Swede (also known as rutabaga and neeps) is a large-ish root vegetable that is common in northern and eastern Europe and in the United States.
A swede belongs to the same vegetable family as cabbages and turnips.
It is said that they originate from Scandinavia with the first recorded instance of them occurring in the 17th century. Source.
Other names for swede
- Rutabaga - United States
- Swedish turnip
- Neeps - Scotland. On Burns Night Scots eat mashed neeps with haggis
- Turnip - sometimes swede is known as turnip - although to me a turnip is a smaller, white root vegetable
Is swede good for you?
Yes. Swede is a good source of fibre and contains vitamins A and C. It is low in fat and also contains has a number of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. Source.
How long does swede last?
Stored correctly unprepared swede will last quite a long time.
When stored in the fridge a swede will last for several weeks, and often much longer.
How to cook swede
For such an unassuming vegetable you may be surprised to learn how many different ways swede (rutabaga) can be cooked.
It can be:
When are swedes in season?
Swedes are in season in the UK from September to February - sometimes longer.
See my monthly seasonal vegetable guides.
Can you eat raw swede?
Yes. Grate your swede and add it raw to salads.
This use is best for small, young swede. If your swede is quite old you will probably want to cook it first.
How to peel swede
Peel young swedes with a regular potato peeler
However, a larger specimen might prove tough for your peeler to handle. In this case you may need to use a sharp knife to cut the skin away.
How to chop swede
This may sound silly - after all the answer is "with a knife".
However, a large swede can be extremely tough. Chances are, a small or blunt knife won't cut through it. Or worse - the knife will get stuck.
We sometimes received enormous swedes when I was working as a vegan chef in a kitchen using surplus food. The kitchen knives got stuck in them on more than one occasion!
Use your largest, sharpest knife to avoid this situation.
Put your peeled swede on a chopping board. Use a large, sharp knife to carefully cut it in half.
Place the flat edge down on the board and cut your swede into chunks or wedges.
How to store prepared swede
Store unprepared swede in the fridge.
Once it's been peeled and chopped you can either:
- store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days
- freeze in a freezer bag or box for up to three months - remember to label and date your container
To store roasted swede once it's been cooked allow it to cool completely first. It can then be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
If you want to freeze cooked swede it is completely safe to do so but bear in mind that roasted swede will be softer once it has been defrosted.
To mash your swede:
- Peel and chop your swede
- Place in a large saucepan of boiling water
- Cook for 20 minutes, or until soft)
What ingredients do you need to make roasted swede?
You will need:
- a medium-sized swede
- olive oil
- sea salt
- black pepper
You will need:
- chopping board
- large sharp knife
- roasting tin
Roasted swede is delicious - in fact most vegetables are at their best when roasted.
Here are some ways to serve it:
- as part of a vegan roast dinner
- in a Buddha bowl with grains and other veggies
- with veggie sausages and greens for a mid-week meal
- in a curry
How to prepare swede for roasting
For full recipe scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Peel your swede with a peeler or a sharp knife.
2. Cut your swede in half with a large, sharp knife.
3. Lay your swede on the board, cut side down.
4. Chop into chunks.
5. Place in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
6. Roast for 20 minutes, stir, then return to the oven for another 20 minutes until cooked through and crispy on the outside.
Pin how to cook swede for later
Roasted swede recipe
If you have made this recipe and loved it please consider leaving a comment and rating below.
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- Medium roasting tin
- 1 medium swede rutabaga
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch sea salt
- pinch black pepper
- Peel your swede with a peeler or a sharp knife and cut it in half.
- Place on your chopping board cut side down and chop into chunks.
- Put the chunks of swede in a baking tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Roast for 20 minutes, stir, then return to the oven for another 20 minutes until cooked through and crispy on the outside.
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