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Best Rutabaga Substitutes

Best Rutabaga Substitutes

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Rutabagas are root vegetables with significant nutritional content. These yellow-fleshed root crops contain very low sodium levels and high vitamin C levels. At the same time, they are free of any fat and cholesterol, making them ideal vegetables for any casserole, soup, or stew dish. The vegetable’s versatility as an ingredient may have you wondering if other crops can fill in for rutabaga in your dishes. So, what are the best rutabaga substitutes?

Turnips are a common root crop that can work just as well as rutabaga in most recipes. Other rutabaga substitutes include certain types of radishes, celeriac, broccoli stems, and kohlrabi. This article highlights the best rutabaga substitutes you can use if this root crop is not readily available in your area.

Vegetables Similar to Rutabaga

If you want to match rutabaga’s nutritional value when the root crop is not available in your area, you can easily find substitutes. While rutabaga alternatives have unique flavors that may not exactly match rutabaga’s mildly bitter taste, their unique flavors may offer something entirely different while keeping true to rutabaga’s nutritional content.

Rutabaga is a root vegetable that you can eat raw as a direct way to get its potassium and fiber content. Most root vegetables that are edible upon harvest share similarities with rutabaga. There also are some vegetables that are unrelated to root crops but are great alternatives for rutabaga. Here are the best rutabaga substitutes for your dishes:

1) Turnip

Turnips as an alternative to rutabaga

Turnips are root crops that may be the perfect rutabaga replacement, considering that rutabaga vegetables are crosses between turnips and cabbages. Turnips have a similar mildly bitter flavor and firm texture, ideal for salads and soup dishes.

While the dietary fiber and potassium content of turnips may not come close to rutabaga, they remain fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and high in vitamin C — all like rutabaga. You want to make sure your rutabaga substitute matches its main nutrient content claims, so you can maximize the vegetable’s benefits, even without actual rutabaga.

Turnips are available year-round, making them fine alternatives when rutabaga crops are not in season. Farmers usually harvest rutabagas between October and November.

Be sure to get younger turnips if you intend to substitute rutabaga with this vegetable. Mature turnips tend to have stronger flavors and much thicker skin. Turnips usually mature around the time rutabagas are in season.

2) Radish

Radish as an alternative to rutabaga

Some radishes can act as rutabaga substitutes if they are more available in your area than rutabaga. East Asian white radishes, particularly Japanese daikon, are a sweeter and milder vegetable than the bitter rutabaga, which may make it an ideal palate cleanser. Its crisp texture still makes it an ideal ingredient in curries, salads, or stir-fry dishes that require rutabaga.

Other East Asian radishes include Korean radish, which also has white interiors yet is more bulbous in shape, and Chinese radish or watermelon radish, which has bright pink interiors. These radishes may substitute well for rutabaga if the vegetable isn’t immediately available.

Black radish is perhaps the best type of radish that you can substitute for rutabaga. Black radishes have nearly identical nutrient content claims as rutabaga, such as being fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and high in vitamin C. At the same time, black radishes are free of any saturated fats, too much of which may complicate heart health.

3) Celeriac

celeriac as an alternative to rutabaga

Celery root or celeriac is a smooth vegetable that offers the same fat-free and cholesterol-free nutrients that you can get from rutabaga. Additionally, celeriac is an excellent source of phosphorus, fiber, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, and vitamins B6, C, and K.

Much like other root vegetables, good celeriac has a firm exterior and white interior. This vegetable is an ideal ingredient for coleslaw, salads, and soups. You can also enjoy this crop raw, sauteed, sliced, pureed, or roasted. Its versatility almost matches rutabaga’s, making it an ideal substitute.

4) Broccoli Stems

Broccoli’s nutritional value includes low fat, no saturated fats, no cholesterol, low sodium, good fiber, good potassium, and high vitamin C. These nutrients are equally available in broccoli stems as they are in broccoli heads. Broccoli stems may offer similar crisp textures that you might look for in a rutabaga substitute.

Broccoli stems may be sweeter and milder than rutabaga, which is a preferential flavor. You may either like or dislike broccoli stems when you use them as rutabaga substitutes in salads or stir-fry dishes. Still, broccoli stems are ideal substitutes for the root crop because you can use the same amount of broccoli stem as you would use rutabaga.

5) Kohlrabi

German turnips or kohlrabi are not actual turnips or root crops. These vegetables are more related to cabbages and broccoli than they are to turnips. Still, they offer similar nutrients as rutabagas, making them ideal substitutes should you ever need them.

Kohlrabi vegetables are slightly peppery to taste and are milder than rutabaga. You can use this peppery vegetable as a substitute for rutabaga in casseroles or soup dishes, adding some spice instead of mild bitterness.


The best rutabaga substitutes include turnip, some radishes, celeriac, broccoli stems, and kohlrabi. While the overall experience you can get from these substitutes doesn’t exactly match what you get from the rutabaga, rutabaga alternatives usually offer similar flavors and nearly identical nutritional content that you will find in rutabaga.

If you enjoyed finding rutabaga substitutes for your next dish, check out the foodies category on our website. From basmati rice alternatives to annatto powder replacements, we collect some of the best substitutes to common ingredients should they be unavailable in your area.

The Campbells love finding sustainable and fun ways to increase their independence from traditional brick and motor supermarkets. Aquaponics provides a full lifecycle food source for families and a great hobby. #aquaponicslifestyle

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