Interested in trying rutabaga? Although this vegetable is commonly served cooked, you can eat raw rutabaga too! It tastes delicious in this rutabaga salad with fresh, crunchy apples, finely chopped kale, and a honey vinaigrette.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my affiliate disclosure.
If you aren’t familiar with rutabagas, they are very similar to turnips! In fact, they are also called Swedish Turnips, or swedes for short, and are a popular vegetable in Scandinavian cuisine.
Since I live in Minnesota, a state with a strong Scandinavian influence, I’ve taken a liking to this unique veggie over the past couple of years. They’re always popping up at farmers market and stores all over town, so it didn’t take long for me to give them a try.
You all know that I love cool veggies that don’t get a lot of publicity (#EatMoreBeets #KohlrabiForDays), so I’ve been dreaming up ways for you to try rutabaga! I’m hoping this Raw Rutabaga Salad with Apples will convince you to give rutabaga a chance.
What Does Rutabaga Taste Like?
Rutabagas taste like milder turnips. They add an earthy taste and slightly bitter punch to recipes, but in a less aggressive way than turnips. Some people argue that rutabagas also have a subtle sweet taste, especially smaller ones.
Personally, I wouldn’t go so far as to call them sweet, but I think bittersweet would be an appropriate adjective! For those of you who haven’t seen a rutabaga before, let alone tried one, check it out below.
Can Rutabaga be Eaten Raw?
Rutabaga is typically cooked, but you can eat it raw! You can peel them if you prefer to get rid of the outside layer or if they have a coating of wax on them. However, outside skin without wax is edible.
For this raw rutabaga salad, I peeled my rutabaga and used a julienne peeler to make thin slices. Since it had been a while since I made my Breakfast Rutabaga Noodles, I was surprised by the faint yellow color of the flesh. It’s pretty!
But, I knew that the pale rutabaga paired with the white flesh of apples would not make for the most colorful dish. That’s why I threw in some finely chopped kale at the end. This led a festive look, which means you should probably make it during the holiday season ;-)!
How to Make Rutabaga Salad
- Peel the rutabaga, and use a julienne peeler to slice it into thin strips. Alternatively, you can just slice the rutabaga into matchsticks with a knife or grate it with a box or hand grater if you don’t have a julienne peeler. Do the same with the apples.
- Add the rutabaga and apples to a mixing bowl, then add the chopped kale, walnuts, and dates. Mix well.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until coated!
The final product is a crunchy, slaw-like salad that’s punctuated with just the right amount of earthy flavors and a sweet aftertaste. YUM!
- Equipment: Here is the julienne peeler that I use if you are interested in getting the really thin veggie strips that you see in my photos. I personally love this tool for raw slaws that use firm veggies like this rutabaga salad, but of course you can just use a knife to make matchstick cuts instead. For more information, check out my tutorial on How to Use a Julienne Peeler.
- Substitutions: Feel free to substitute another kind of dried fruit in place of the dates. I think dried apricots would be delicious! You can also swap pecans or pistachios for the walnuts.
- Storage: Rutabaga salad is best served right away, since the apples can start to brown after a while. However, I’ve had luck storing the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
More Rutabaga Recipes
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear how you like it! Please rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments section.
Raw Rutabaga Salad with Apples
- 1 rutabaga - trimmed and peeled
- 2 small apples - or 1 large apple
- 1 cup finely chopped kale
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 5 pitted dates - sliced; more to taste
- Prepare the rutabaga and apples by slicing them into matchsticks with a knife or by using a julienne peeler. You can also grate the rutabaga and apples with a hand or box grater. I prefer to peel the rutabaga but keep the peels on the apples. Combine the slices with the finely chopped kale in a large bowl. Add the walnuts and dates.
- In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss until coated.
- Enjoy chilled for about 20 minutes or at room temperature!
- This dish is best served right away or chilled for a short time period (~20 minutes), since the apple can start to brown after a while.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Feel free to substitute other dried fruit for the dates, such as dried apricots, or other nuts for the walnuts, like pecans or pistachios.
Enjoy your weekend! – Lizzie