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Swede Soup (Rutabaga Soup)

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A hearty swede soup with carrots, potatoes, and sausages. Also known as rutabaga, this root vegetable makes the perfect winter soups.

close up of soup with swede, potatoes, carrots and sausages.

Either creamy or chunky, swede makes really good soups. We’ve had many of them over the years, always in winter, and we love them all, but this chunky version of rutabaga or swede soup with carrots, potatoes, and sausages is our favorite version. Why?

  • Comforting: warming, slightly spicy, very hearty, full of different kinds of veggies and meats.
  • Easy to make: all you have to do is chop some ingredients and cook them.
  • Family-friendly: if you are worried your kids won’t like swede, they would probably love it in this combination.
  • Cheap: rutabaga, carrots, potatoes, and sausage are all cheap ingredients, so you can make a huge pot to feed a crowd for very little money.
  • Meal prep: a dish you can cook in advance and reheat. Or make a large batch, keep in the fridge and enjoy it over several days. It gets better each time you reheat it.

What is swede or rutabaga?

A round-shaped, purple-skinned root vegetable with yellow-orange, crunchy flesh. It is a member of the cabbage family, originates in Scandinavia or Russia, and (at least in Germany) it is notoriously associated with food shortages after the war.

Today’s swede soup recipe is indeed a luxurious version of the Steckrübeneintopf, a million times tastier than it used to be in the old days when the dish only consisted of swede boiled in water. And if you like German-style hearty soups, try the German Beef Soup with Dumplings, Lentil Soup, or the Cheese and Leek Soup.

The veggie is usually quite large, so if you have leftovers, keep them in a perforated or brown paper bag in the fridge; they will be fine for about one week. Use the pieces to make swede and carrot mash; for instance, it’s delicious! Or make this amazing Cornish Pasty Recipe. You could also try this comforting Carrot and Swede Mash.

Recipe ingredients

labeled ingredients for rutabaga soup on a wooden board.
  • Vegetables: Swede, carrots, potatoes, onions. Except for the swede, they are all staple ingredients you probably already have in the house.
  • Meats: Bacon (or pancetta) and sausages of choice. I had cabanossi links this time, which are already cured.
    • Alternatives: You can cook this dish with pretty much any kind of sausage you like, including Italian sausages or bratwurst. You can leave out the sausages altogether; in this case, you could use more bacon if you like.
    • Or use with chicken breast pieces instead.
  • Other ingredients: Chicken stock, lard or oil, dried marjoram, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
red pot with soup with swede, carrots and sausages.

How to make the recipe?

  • Prepare veggies: Peel the swede, carrots, and potatoes. Cut swede and potatoes into regular cubes, slice the carrots, but keep the different vegetables separated. Chop the onions finely.
  • Prepare meats: Chop the bacon into small pieces and cut the sausages into slices. Keep them separated.
  • Saute: Heat lard or oil in a large pot. Add bacon, onions, and carrots and saute them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (1). Add the swede and potato cubes, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to coat them with the bacon drippings.
  • Cook: Pour the chicken stock and add marjoram, bay leaves, salt, and pepper (2). Cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are almost done.
collage of two pictures of cooking onions and carrots and adding stock to the pot.
  • Add the sliced sausages and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft (3).
  • Adjust the taste with balsamic vinegar. Start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste. Add salt as required and add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper; the swede soup should taste somewhat peppery (4).
collage of two pictures of adding sausage to soup and cooking it.

Expert Tips and FAQ

  • Vegetarian or vegan version: skip the bacon and sausages and replace them with a can of beans. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
  • Use enough pepper. It is an essential ingredient in this rutabaga soup; make sure you use enough, you should be able to taste it. The taste should be slightly hot and peppery.
  • Rutabaga has a different consistency than potatoes, don’t expect it to feel as soft as the potatoes or the carrots. Once the potatoes and carrots are soft, the soup is ready; if you cook the swede for too long, it will kind of disintegrate.

Recipe FAQ

What other sausages can I use?

Most anything you like: cabanossi, kielbasa, Italian sausages, bratwurst, etc., either cured or raw. If using raw links or chopped chicken breast, make sure they are cooked through before finishing the dish.
You can also use leftover cooked sausages or add leftover meat from roasts or rotisserie chicken at the end. Allow them some time to heat up, 5 to 10 minutes should do it.

How to store?


Keep it refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat it well on the stovetop or microwave before serving.

Can I freeze it?

I am not a fan of freezing anything with potatoes; I feel they have a weird consistency once thawed. However, you can freeze this swede and potato soup with carrots; it will still taste great. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.

close up of half a pot with soup and sausage slices.

More winter soups:

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close up of soup with swede, potatoes, carrots and sausages.

Swede Soup (Rutabaga Soup)

A heartyswede soup with carrots, potatoes, and sausages. Also known as rutabaga, thisroot vegetable makes the perfect winter soups.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 349kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb swede/rutabaga 450 g
  • 3 medium carrots about 5.5 oz/ 150 g
  • 1.3 lb potatoes 600 g
  • 2 onions 7 oz/ 200 g
  • 1 tablespoon lard or olive oil
  • 3.5 g bacon 100 g
  • 5 ½ cups chicken stock 1.2 liter
  • 2 teaspoon dry marjoram
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 7 oz cured sausages like cabanossi 200 g, Note 1
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar to taste
  • fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Note 2

Instructions

  • Prepare vegetables: Peel the swede, carrots, and potatoes. Cut swede and potatoes into regular cubes, slice the carrots, but keep the different vegetables separated. Chop the onions finely.
  • Prepare meats: Chop the bacon into small pieces and cut the sausages into slices. Keep them separated.
  • Saute: Heat lard or oil in a large soup pot. Add bacon, onions, and carrots and saute them for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add swede and potato cubes, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to coat them.
  • Cook: Add stock, marjoram, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are almost done.
  • Add sausages and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  • Adjust the taste with balsamic vinegar. Start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste. Add salt as required and add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper; the swede soup should taste somewhat peppery.

Notes

  1. You can use cabanossi, kielbasa, Italian sausages, bratwurst, etc., either cured or raw. If using raw links or chopped chicken breast, make sure they are cooked through before finishing the soup.
  2. Use freshly ground black pepper generously; the soup should taste peppery.

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 648mg | Potassium: 1116mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 5111IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg
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