10 Best Rutabaga Substitute That Will Make You Surprised

You plan to use rutabaga in the next meal because it provides a great flavor – crispy and juicy – and most importantly, it is full of nutrition for a healthy diet. However, it seems that there is no rutabaga available in the kitchen at the moment. What should you do? You’ve prepared all the necessary ingredients to cook the new rutabaga recipe

Well, it’s time to look for a rutabaga substitute amongst those vegetables you store in the kitchen!

Continue reading this post to find out about some rutabaga alternatives that you must know!

What Does Rutabaga Taste Like?

What Does Rutabaga Taste Like

In terms of taste, the rutabaga is mildly sweet, earthy, and a little bit spicy. When being raw, the rutabaga seems to be bitter. After you cook it at boiling temperature, the bitter flavor slowly fades away, leaving only the sweet taste to the food.

Rutabaga comes from the root family, meaning that its texture is crunchy, crispy, and a bit thick. Moreover, it takes a long time to cook the raw rutabaga.

Rutabaga Substitutes – Top 10 Suggestions

1. Turnip

Turnip is a famous vegetable root used widely in Latin and Asian cuisine. You can find turnips in any supermarket worldwide.

In terms of appearance, the turnip catches people’s attention for the purple and white skin. Sometimes the turnip can be called the “turnip bulb” due to its exterior.

What about turnip’s taste? The turnip is widely used, so its flavor is quite palatable for the majority of people to tolerate. It is quite sweet and spicy, with coarse skin and thick layers.

You can eat Swedish turnips raw to enjoy its earthy and sweet taste, or chop it into smaller pieces to cook, bake, or roast with pork, chicken, and beef.

2. Celery Root

The celery is a root vegetable, just like the rutabaga. These plants also share the same structure with long stems and one big bulb body. The celery root provides a starchy, fresh and juicy flavor.

When it comes to smell, the celery root does not have any particular aroma. When first chewing it, what you can figure out first is the juiciness of the plant.

That being said, the celery root does not have a super distinctive taste, making it quite versatile and able to cook with other ingredients. You can try boiling, braising, or baking this baggy root to pork, beef, and the dish’s overall taste is quite better than expected. Based on our experience, the mashed sweet potatoes with celery root is voted as the best recipe for celery.

3. Radish

If you are a big fan of East Asian cuisine, you must be familiar with radishes. In detail, it is widely used in soups and boiling dishes in many parts of Asian culinary culture.

Unlike the celery root, which is quite bland and neutral, the radish is spicy and mildly sweet regarding the taste. When eating the radish for the first time, you can feel the heat rising from the inside.

With such a spicy taste, you may think that the radish is an incompatible substitute for rutabagas. However, that is a wrong idea. The radish, if served raw, is spicy. But when you start to cook it, the sweetness will slowly explode.

Additionally, the radish serves best when being stir-fried.

4. Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi seems to be a weird, strange food that you rarely hear about. If you know the taste of cabbage, you may easily imagine what Kohlrabi tastes, as they are in the same family clan.

Another name for Kohlrabi is “German turnips.” Like the name, this plant provides a taste similar to radishes and turnips, meaning that its flavor is a combination of lightly spicy, crunchy, but juicy and delicate.

Kohlrabi is ideal to use as a topping for soups and salad dishes. We usually season it with vinegar and salt, then mix with other ingredients for a light morning or lunch.

5. Broccoli Stems

Typically, people remove the broccoli stems and keep the stalk because they believe there is nothing to do with the stem. Still, this is such a wrong idea, guys!

In fact, the broccoli stems, just like the broccoli heads, contain lots of minerals and vitamins. This part of the broccoli is also crunchy and slightly sweet. So, you can keep the stems to cook as a substitute for rutabaga.

Nevertheless, the stems are quite thick and take a long time to cook, so it’s best to use the broccoli stems in soups or boiling recipes. As mentioned above, the stems taste quite bland, so it would be best if you stew them with pork bone, starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, and MSG. The amazing soup will make you amazed!

6. Daikon

What is daikon, though? For non-East Asians, Daikon seems to be a strange food. This plant originates from the East Asia area and is commonly used in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisine. If you are a big fan of those culinary cultures, you may hear about this food once.

Daikon is a root vegetable, just like the rutabaga. Looking from the outside, it is white and similar to radish. Thus, people also call the daikon “Japanese radish” or “white radish.”

Compared to the rutabaga, the daikon seems to be sweeter and milder. The rutabaga tastes quite sharp and spicy for some people, while the daikon seems to be more palatable.

In terms of smell, the daikon has no strange or uncomfortable aroma. It is also juicy and crispy but not too rough to eat raw. You can eat daikon raw or season slightly with vinegar to use as garnish.

The flavor of rutabaga and daikon is compatible, so we can use them interchangeably like the rutabaga can become a substitute for daikon and vice versa.

7. Jicama

Jicama is another root vegetable on the list. You may wonder why we choose many roots on the post, so here is the answer: the root vegetables, like daikon, celery, jicama, share the same starchy texture as the rutabaga. Their taste is half sweet, half pungent, just like the rutabaga as well.

Therefore, you may imagine how jicama tastes, right? Yes, jicama is sweet, spicy, and juicy like the rutabaga. When putting the rutabaga and jicama on the scale, jicama seems to have the sweeter flavor.

Jicama is famous in Mexico and other Caribbean countries. It is widely used in the dishes there because they provide a sweet, nutty, and crispy flavor. Especially, every part of the jicama is edible!

8. Salsify

Salsify is a Mediterranean root vegetable we want to introduce to you on this list. Originated from the Tragopogon porrifolius plant, it belongs to the same family clan with turnips. Thus, it shares a lot of similarities with turnips.

To describe the salsify in a term, it is a “long brown stick with white scent on the exterior.” How about the taste then? Well, if you search the salsify on the Internet, you may find its nickname “vegetable oyster” immediately. There is a reason why it was named like that – it tastes quite like an oyster. Yet, for some people, it tastes more like artichoke than oysters.   

In our opinion, how similar it tastes is still a subjective question, though. However, based on this public’s opinion, we can figure out one point: the salsify seems to be tasty, palatable, easy to endure with, and has a comfortable smell.

Indeed, salsify is such a good substitute for turnips and rutabaga.

9. Carrots

Needless to introduce the carrot anymore, since who doesn’t know carrots, right? It can be found in any, literally, any store worldwide.

Like other greens on this recommendation list, carrots are quite crunchy and sweet, but the level of sugariness is not remarkable. It is extremely healthy for our body due to the number of minerals and vitamin A inside. So, it is sweet, but not uncomfortably, it is crispy and full of nutrition – seems to be a good choice to use in your meal, right?

How compatible are rutabaga and carrots, anyway? The carrot and rutabaga have a similar texture – slightly crispy, juicy, full of nutrition, and the flavor is the same – mildly sweet.

As a small cooking tip, the combos that can be used interchangeably are carrot – turnip – rutabaga. Yes, carrots can be a rutabaga and turnip alternative.

10. Parsnips

Just like its brother – salsify, parsnip is a root vegetable. Compared to the above choice, the parsnips provide a bland and neutral flavor. Apparently, there is no sign of sweetness in this vegetable.

The most distinctive flavor we can feel from the parsnips is the earthiness and nuttiness. The starchy texture reminds us of potato, but less sweet.

Parsnips is a super versatile garnish. You can use it in soups, stew, roasted, pureed, baked recipes.

What Are Tips To Remember When Substituting Rutabaga?

  • Rutabaga and other root vegetables on this list can be cooked or eaten raw, but there is one reminder: please peel them first before eating. Otherwise, you can get food poisoning!
  • Root vegetables contain a high amount of vitamin C and potassium, which are good for your health. However, consuming excessive amounts of potassium can harm your body.   
  • The fresher, the better – we recommend you to choose the crispy, ripe, fresh vegetable to replace rutabaga. Typically, people eat rutabaga for its crunchiness, so if you find an alternative, that food must be as crunchy as the original.

Final Thoughts


We have discovered some rutabaga alternatives and compare the similarity of each plant regarding taste, smell, and texture. Each rutabaga substitute has its distinctive flavor, so there is no “best” choice here. 

Overall, we consider that broccoli and carrots seem to be the most preferred swede substitute because they are cheap, full of nutrients, easy to find in stores, and suitable for many recipes. 

Could you apply our guidance in cooking? Is there any difficulty? Share with us your experience!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments

Leave a Reply: