In this Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup recipe, rutabaga is first roasted with parsnips and carrots to bring out a little sweetness, then simmered with thyme, nutmeg, and cardamom for a resulting flavor that elevates this humble root vegetable to delicious new heights.
In the darkest corner of your local grocery store’s produce section lurks a root vegetable whose appearance alone can give a grown man pause.
Just the mention of its very name sends small children running and screaming to the candy aisle.
Perhaps due to its less-than-comely appearance and the fact that it was a food of last resort during several European famines, rutabagas seem to carry an unpleasant connotation that they can’t seem to shake.
If handled properly, however, the taste of rutabaga is anything but unpleasant.
What is a Rutabaga?
The rutabaga–or swede, as is it also known–is a root vegetable that originated as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip.
Thanks to its turnip roots (pun intended) rutabaga has a slightly bitter flavor, but it sweetens considerably when you cook it.
They might not be the prettiest vegetable on the outside, but rutabagas are highly nutritious on the inside. They are loaded with Vitamin C and also contain high amounts of magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
How to Cook with Rutabaga
You can treat a rutabaga pretty much any way that you would a potato. It makes some great oven fries, and it is also delicious when boiled and mashed, as in my Bangers and Mashed Rutabaga recipe.
Rutabagas are relatively easy to peel with a standard vegetable peeler. Along with the purplish outer skin, I also try to remove most of thick inner white skin so it cooks evenly.
From there you can just slice and/or dice rutabaga according to whatever recipe you are making.
How to Make Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup
Once you’ve managed to peeled your rutabaga, cut it into cubes. Also cut some parsnips and carrots into large chunks.
Spread the rutabaga, parsnips, and carrots on a large baking sheet and toss them with some olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.
Roast the vegetables in a preheated 400°F oven for 35-40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the rutabaga is tender and slightly browned.
Meanwhile, dice some onion, celery, and garlic.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic along with a pinch of salt and sauté until tender.
Add the roasted vegetables and about 6 cups of veggie stock to the pot along with some thyme, nutmeg, ground cardamom, more sea salt, and pepper.
Bring everything to a low boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Once the soup is done, remove the thyme sprigs and use an immersion blender, or standard blender, to puree until smooth.
Stir in some coconut milk and cook on low for a few minutes until it is heated through.
How to Make Curly Green Onion Garnish
While you are waiting for the soup to simmer, you can take the opportunity to make a striking curly green onion garnish for major Fancy Boy Bonus Points.
The process is simple: separate the green tops from the onions (reserve the onion whites for another use), then slice the greens lengthwise into thin strips. The thinner you can get the slices, the curlier the onions will be.
Place the slices in a bowl of ice water for about ten minutes. They will magically transform into pretty little curls.
Garnish the soup with the green onion curls, some more ground nutmeg, and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!
Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup
- 1 1/2 pounds rutabaga peeled and cubed
- 3/4 pound parsnips peeled and cubed
- 2 carrots cubed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil separated
- 1 onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- fine sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- green onions sliced
- freshly ground nutmeg
- olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place the rutabaga, parsnips, and carrots on a baking sheet. Toss with two tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 30-35 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and slightly brown.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.
- Add the onion, celery, and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is tender, about 5-6 minutes.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the pot, and pour in the vegetable stock. Add the thyme, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a low boil, then cover the pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Use and immersion blender or carefully transfer the soup to a standard blender and puree until smooth.
- Stir in the coconut milk and cook for a few minutes until heated through. Season the soup with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with green onions, ground nutmeg, and a drizzle of olive oil.
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Wednesday 21st of December 2022
This sounded delicious. I just made it and it did not disappoint! Such a unique flavor profile. The three adults in this household licked their bowls after finishing their portions. lol I only had lite coconut milk and it worked out fine. I can imagine the full-fat version would kick this up a notch in scrumptiousness. Thanks for a great recipe. BTW, this summer was the first time I'd had a parsnip. And this was our first foray into cooking and consuming a rutabaga. It was a great maiden voyage. :) I'm very happy to have two new veggies in my cooking repertoire!
The Sophisticated Caveman
Wednesday 4th of January 2023
Thanks so much for the comment! Great to hear that you and the family enjoyed your first rutabaga experience--truly and underutilized vegetable in my opinion!
Friday 18th of November 2022
Was searching the internet for rutabagas in soups and found yours. It sounds deelish. But I have to tell you that your photo on this page is of a purple top turnip not a rutabaga. A rutabaga does have a purple-ish top but the veg is yellow not white. Sorry Will be trying this soup over the weekend!!
The Sophisticated Caveman
Friday 9th of December 2022
Thanks, Kathleen! Maybe the lighting in the photos makes these look a little white, but I can guarantee they were rutabagas! Hope you enjoy the soup!
Saturday 19th of March 2022
This was super lovely! I made it without the celery as I didn't have any and wanted to use up a rutabaga and parsnips kicking around. It seemed like a ton of nutmeg to me but it all came together really well. I subbed 1 tsp dried thyme for the sprigs.
The Sophisticated Caveman
Monday 28th of March 2022
Yum! Glad to hear that the celery worked out for you (sounds like it would make a great addition). Thanks for the comment!