This homely root plant has an unhappy history, given that millions of Europeans had little else to eat during the second world war. That experience left generations with a bad taste for this savory, nutritious and versatile vegetable with a comical name. (Rotabagge is the Swedish word for “root bag.” In England, Australia and New Zealand, they often are called “Swedes.”)
I grew up with a mother who made thick potato soup and I loved it. In my flirtation with rutabaga soup, I have tried to recreate that personal favorite while adding lots of roasted fresh vegetables
Rutabagas can be tough to find at groceries or at farmers markets so keep your eyes open. If the grocery checkout clerk asks what they are, reply, “If you don’t know, they should be free.”
The Ithaca, New York Farmers Market hosts the International Rutabaga Curling Championships each year.
- 2 medium rutabagas
- 3 large carrots
- 1/2 large onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large handful of fresh spinach
- 1 apple
- 48-64 ounces of broth and/or Imagine potato leek soup *
- 2–4 T flour and/or corn meal *
- 2 T flaxseed meal
- Seasoning to taste
- Optional: Add other veggies, if you want. I’ve included red cabbage, bell peppers, cauliflower and other stuff I had on hand.
* Depending on how thick you want the soup to be.
Caution: Rutabagas are dense and challenging to cut, so use a knife with some heft and keep your favorite fingers behind the blade.
Peel and cut the rutabagas, carrots, onion and celery (and any other veggies) into bite-size chunks. Place in a glass casserole dish and toss with seasoning and olive oil. Roast (bake), covered, at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Cut the apple into chunks.
Combine flour, broth or soup, roasted vegetables and apple into a stock pot. Shred the spinach into small pieces and add to the brew. Simmer for 15–20 minutes and add spice to suit your preference.
Variation: Make rivels by rolling egg yolk and flour together into small noodles, and toss those into the mix.
Dish it up and enjoy. The natural sweetness of the rutabagas will delight you.