This delicious, creamy swede mash is a great alternative (or addition!) to potatoes as part of a roast. We love it because aside from being incredibly tasty, it only has two ingredients and takes just 25 minutes to make!
🌟 Why this recipe works
So simple – it's basically just swede! Depending on where you come from, you may have heard the humble swede referred to as a few different things.
Just to be confusing, in Canada the swede is called a turnip while the vegetable English people know as a turnip is called a ‘white turnip’. In Scotland the swede is called a neep, hence the favourite dish for Burns night ‘neeps and tatties’ (a tattie is a potato!). Swede is also sometimes called a Rutabaga in the US, or a Swedish Turnip.
Easy – all you need is swede, butter and seasoning! You just have to boil it, mash it with the butter and serve. It basically can't go wrong and makes a great addition to a vegan roast dinner, as well as being a quintessential part of a Burns' Night meal – neeps and tatties.
Tried and true – it's been an essential side dish for our Christmas dinner for over a decade now and Dan's Mum has been making it for years too.
📋 Mashed Swede Ingredients
There are only two ingredients for this recipe (plus seasoning!):
Swede – the main ingredient! Swedes, and other root vegetables, sweeten around November time when the ground is frosty. This means that they are at their best around the festive season, which makes them a perfect addition to a Christmas feast!
Vegan butter or margarine – whether you get a vegan butter or margarine, it's up to you. We like to either use Flora for margarine or Naturli for vegan butter. Both are easily available in the UK. In the US, we like the Earth Balance brand.
Salt and pepper – got to have a good bit of seasoning to really enrich the sweetness of the vegetable.
⏲ How To Cook Swede
Swede is a very dense vegetable. For this reason, when you’re making mashed swede it’s important to cut it into bite sized chunks to boil it. If you don’t, it can take a very long time to cook!
If you want to try another way of cooking swede, it’s also great roasted. You can try the method we used for our sticky maple roasted carrots and parsnips. It works really well for swede. As with boiling, when you’re roasting, you’ll also want to chop the swede up nice and small so that it can cook through easily.
Another great way to cook swede is to let it cook slowly in a stew or curry, it’s a great addition to any hearty dish as it is nice and filling. Like this Vegetable Noodle Soup by Vegan Yack Attack.
And last but not least, swede works really well as part of a hearty winter vegetable soup. Chuck it in a pot with some stock, seasonings and whatever veg you have lying around and you’re onto a winner.
You could even try subbing out some of the pumpkin in our vegan pumpkin soup for swede. You’ll get a different flavour, but it’ll be very tasty!
🔪 How To Make Swede Mash
This swede mash recipe is super quick and easy to make, so it’s great for busy evenings when you just want some food in your belly immediately.
1. First peel the vegetable. Do this with a peeler in much the same way as you would with a potato. Swede skin is pretty tough so just make sure that your peeler is up to the job! Some people find it easier to peel swedes with a knife. Do whatever works for you, just be careful while you’re doing it.
Next chop it into small chunks. As swedes are tough and round, they can be tricky to chop! We’d recommend making sure you use a really sharp knife. Chop into quarters first so that you have a flat edge to lay on the chopping board, and then chop each quarter into chunks.
2. Get a pan that’s enough to fit all of the swede in, fill it with water and bring it to the boil.
Once the water’s boiling, pop your swede in. Don’t drop it in from a great height otherwise you’ll splash boiling water on yourself, and honestly that’s just not fun.
3. Boil for around 20 minutes. To check if it’s done, pierce it with a fork. If it’s done, the fork should go in easily. If not, give it another 5 minutes or so.
Once cooked, drain using a colander, and then put it back into the pan.
4. Add the butter, and then mash with either a potato masher, potato ricer or a fork (this option will take longer) until smooth.
Mashed swede won’t get as smooth as mashed potato, but make sure that there aren’t any visible lumps.
👩🍳 Expert tips
Picking the right swede – when you’re choosing a swede we’d recommend finding one where the skin is undamaged, as this means the flesh inside will be at its best.
It’s also worth remembering that the smaller the swede, the sweeter the flavour and the more tender the texture of the flesh.
Carefully does it – remember to be extra careful when cutting hard root vegetables like swede. Use a very sharp knife and proceed with caution.
Masher – it's easiest to use a potato masher to mash the swede. Unlike mashed potatoes, it's harder to get very smooth swede mash. That's simply because swede is much denser. Make sure to cook it until softened before mashing.
Plant milk – while it's not necessarily needed, you can add a splash of plant milk to make the mash even silkier.
Fresh herbs – trying sprinkling in some fresh rosemary or fresh thyme to make it even more delicious.
Other vegetables – boil a chopped carrot with the swede, then mash all together to make carrot and swede mash. You could also try this with sweet potato or butternut squash too.
Spices – root vegetables work with so many different flavours.Try adding curry powder, chilli or cayenne powder or even horseradish (vegan friendly) to mix it up a bit.
The best method we’ve found for peeling a swede is to use a potato peeler. Make sure it’s a good quality one that’s nice and sharp, as swede skin is pretty tough. If your peeler isn’t up to the job you can also carefully cut the skin off using a sharp knife.
We also find it easier to peel a swede if you cut it into quarters first.
The most important thing about cutting a swede is that you do it with a very sharp knife! Blunt knives actually make chopping tough veg like swede more dangerous, as they are more likely to slip.
Use a chopping board, and put a folded towel underneath it to make sure the board doesn’t slip.
Absolutely! We really like making it ahead of time so that we can save on Christmas Day or Sunday dinner stress.
Swede hack: Use an ice cream scoop to portion out the swede onto a baking tray. Pop the tray in the freezer, and then once the swede has frozen move it into a ziplock bag or reusable freezer bag. This is much more manageable than dealing with an enormous block of frozen swede!
🍛 What to serve with swede mash
More recipes to try
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- 700 g swede – peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 3 tablespoon vegan butter
- Salt and Pepper
- Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil.
- Carefully pop the chopped and peeled swede into the water.700 g swede
- Boil for 20 minutes. Pierce with a fork to check if it's ready. The fork should enter the swede easily. If not, give it 5 minutes longer.
- Once cooked, drain using a colander, and then put it back into the pan.
- Add the vegan butter, salt and pepper, then mash with either a potato masher, potato ricer or fork until smooth. It might take up to 10 minutes!3 tablespoon vegan butter, Salt and Pepper
- Make sure there aren't any visible lumps, and then serve as part of a roast dinner or with roasted veggies on top.
- You could add a splash of oat milk to help create a smoother texture.
- Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.