A hearty root vegetable stew with rutabaga (swede), carrots, parsnip, celery root and potatoes. This rutabaga stew recipe is hearty, healthy and nutritious, making it an easy choice when looking for a comforting and warming bowl of soup on a cold winter day!
Rutabaga — deserves a comeback
Rutabaga, also referred to as swede, is in the same family as its smaller, white-fleshed cousin, the turnip (Rübe). Swedes on the other hand are large with a rough beige and purple skin and light yellow flesh, which deepens in color when cooked. Thanks to its mild, slightly sweet and nutty flavour, it pairs perfectly with other roots and tubers, making it a perfect base for a vegetable stew. Once considered a poor man’s meal, this versatile tuber is not only cheap but also widely available in the fall and winter months, making it a terrific seasonal choice. It’s also considered low in calorie and carbohydrates, making it also a figure friendly choice, while also delivering large amounts of vitamins (C, K, E, plus a number of B vitamins, including folic acid, and beta-carotene). With so much to offer it definitely deserves a comeback!
Rutabaga stew — a hearty and classic soup recipe
Rutabaga stew (also referred to as root vegetable stew – Wrukeneintopf in North Germany) is considered a classic German stew, especially in the north, which is made from swede, carrots and potatoes and some kind of smoked meat or sausage. This version of the classic stew is completely plant-based, which is both vegetarian and vegan friendly. Of course, if you want to add some of that traditional flavor back to the stew, you can add a little smoked bacon and fry it with the onions, or add your favourite sausage, just before you let the stew simmer and work it’s magic.
Why I love this root vegetable stew
Comforting and nutritious: warming, hearty, and healthy thanks to all the different kinds of root vegetables which deliver vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.
Easy to prepare: a one-pot meal with a simple method and not much work other than chopping the ingredients. Easily adaptable too!
Affordable: rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, are all relatively cheap ingredients, so this big pot of stew along with some crusty bread feeds a crowd for very little money.
Make ahead: when it comes to meal prep, this dish can be cooked in advance and reheated. And you can enjoy it over several days.
How to adapt this rutabaga stew recipe
Simple stew recipes like this are fantastic as you can simply trade ingredients in and out depending on what you have on hand, as well as change the amounts of each vegetable. The rule of thumb would be to have around 8 or 9 cups of diced vegetables. Here are a few ideas:
- Keep it simple and use swede, carrots and potatoes
- Try butternut squash; it’s a good substitute for sweet potato
- Add a chopped tomato or two to add a little extra umami flavor to the soup
- Use whole grain barley (soaked overnight) or skip the pearl barley entirely for a lighter soup
- Go for a more classic version and fry some pork belly or smoked bacon with the onions and the add some sausage to the vegetables before you let it simmer
- Switch up the herbs and use bay leaves, thyme and marjoram
- Puree the soup rather then leaving it as a stew. Or go the half and half route.
Looking for other swede recipes?
Try one of these recipes with rutabaga:
Root Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 kg rutabaga, peeled and cubed (2 cm)
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cubed (1,5 cm)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed (1,5 cm)
- 1 small piece celery root, (250 g), peeled and cubed (1,5 cm)
- 1 medium sweet potato, (300g), peeled and cubed (1,5 cm)
- 2 medium potatoes, (250 g), peeled and cubed (1,5 cm)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (1 litre)
- 3 cups water (750 ml)
- 1/2 cup pearl barley (100 g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2-3 generous handfuls kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (or use savoy cabbage, cavolo nero, or fresh spinach)
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill leaves
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice or a dash of apple cider vinegar
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent (5-7 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the root vegetables and cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes.
Add the broth, water, barley, thyme, salt, pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then cover, and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 minutes, or until vegetables are fork-tender (al dente)
Stir in the kale und continue cooking until wilted (2 minutes). Then stir in the parsley and dill. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with a small squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with freshly grated parmesan and a crusty bread roll, if desired. Enjoy!
- If you want to switch up the vegetables for this recipe, plan with around 8 cups of root vegetables.
- Adding a squeeze of lemon to your bowl of soup is a great way to balance out the sweetness of the root vegetables. Alternatively, use apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon should be sufficient for the entire root vegetable stew).
- If using homemade vegetable broth then feel free to use 1.75 litres broth rather than a mix of broth and water.
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