Root(abaga) For The Home Team: 4 Scandinavian Favorites

Rutabagas aren’t called swedes for nothing. Scandinavian chefs have had a reliable working relationship with the root vegetable for centuries, using it in a host of time-tested recipes. Rutabagas aren’t afraid to innovate either; they can be used in dishes that would make even the cleanest IKEA showroom envious. From old standards to future classics, here are a few of our favorite rutabaga dishes from the land of the midnight sun.

Rotmos

No Scandinavian food list would be complete without the legendary rotmos (root mash). One of the select few Swedish dishes that actually uses cooked vegetables (Swedes tend to eat their veggies raw), rotmos is served as a side or part of a larger dish. For a traditional take, boil rutabagas alongside potatoes, carrots, turnips, and parsnips and season with nutmeg or parsley.

Lapskaus

A Norwegian take on sailor’s stew, lapskaus utilizes rutabagas and carrots to bring light sweetness into a typically savory-focused dish. Cooking lapskuas is simple but somewhat time-intensive (it can take upwards of an hour to fully cook the meat and vegetables), so be sure to plan accordingly.

  • Fun Fact: Sailor’s stew originated in Denmark in the 1700s before spreading to Scandinavia and beyond!

Lanttulaatikko

This Finnish favorite is generally served around Christmas, but can fill in on any menu that’s looking for a one-of-a-kind side dish. Think of lanttulaatikko as a seasonal take on a casserole, as it utilizes ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg to lighten up an otherwise hearty dish. Don’t be afraid to go heavy on the bread crumbs; they can help your rutabaga go to unexpected new heights.

Rutabaga and Apple Salad 

Known as “Kålrabi salat med epler” in its native tongue, this new school Norwegian dish combines other cold weather crops like cabbage and apples into one comforting, late season salad. To prepare, julienne your rutabaga, add sliced cabbage and apples, and toss in a light vinaigrette. If you want some extra crunch, try adding your favorite nuts!

  • Pro Tip: Since raw rutabagas can lean towards bitter flavors, pair with sweet apples like honeycrisp or jazz to compensate.