Try this simple Buttery Mashed Swede recipe for a quick and tasty side dish. With minimal ingredients, the full earthy flavour of Swedish turnips (also known as rutabaga and neeps) is allowed to shine. And let’s be honest, there is very little in life that doesn’t benefit from a dash of butter!
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I’ll be quite honest and admit that swede isn’t my favourite vegetable. I can eat it but I wouldn’t choose it. So I won’t patronise anyone and pretend to wax lyrical about how much I love this mashed swede.
But don’t be concerned. Just like with all of my recipes, I have enough brutally honest people in my life to get honest feedback about anything I cook or create. And this recipe has the seal of approval. To be frank, it’s so simple, it would almost be impressive to mess it up.
How to Serve Buttery Mashed Swede
One of the most common times to see mashed swede served is as part of a traditional Scottish dinner served on Burn’s night. And in many a Scottish restaurant catering to tourists. (I went to one of these in Edinburgh and yes, I did indeed have a deep fried mars bar too). Swede is the neeps in “Haggis, Neeps and Tatties” and most often served with a whiskey laced sauce.
This is of course a brilliant way to serve the swede but it really can accompany any roast lunch or more simple meat and two veg with gravy type dinners.
I’ve served it here with a roast pork dinner. Try these recipes to recreate the meal:
Easy Swede Mash Ingredients
There isn’t much variety when you go to buy swede, only the size is going to differ slightly. They’re rather rough looking but very easy to peel with a regular vegetable peeler.
Unless you’ve found the smallest possible swedes, you will likely only be using part of a swede for this recipe. Unless you’re intending to drastically increase the batch size. Cut swede will keep very well in the fridge, especially if you cover the cut side with foil or clingfilm. Or it can be peeled, cut and frozen.
You can buy frozen swede which is a great way to avoid any possible food waste. It would be ideal for this recipe.
You can also buy prepared swede in the chiller section of many supermarkets. This isn’t necessarily the most financially economical option but it does speed up preparation so you have to choose what works best for you.
Are Swedes, Turnips, Neeps and Rutabagas the Same Thing?
Swede can be a little confusing as it is known by several different names depending on where you are in the world and even where you are within the UK.
In the US, they’re called rutabagas which comes from the Swedish word for turnip. Which also makes sense. The term yellow turnip is also sometimes used.
And then in Scotland, as discussed, they’re called neeps.
The better butter you use, the better the butter flavour will be. I only use salted butter so that is what I’ve included in the recipe. If you use unsalted, you will likely want to add more salt to the final recipe.
I very much grew up with this kind of mashed veg and it usually included a good dollop of some kind of cheap margarine. It wasn’t gourmet but it did the trick. If this is all you have, then use it – the butter police will never know.
I use two types of salt in this recipe. The first is fine/table salt in the swede cooking water. The second is sea salt flakes which is used for the actual seasoning of the mash. Sea salt flakes (I like to use Maldon) is more expensive than table salt but the flavour is more mild and subtle.
Like with the butter, if all you have is the fine/table salt, do use it. But halve the quantity in the recipe as it is much more potent by volume.
I very rarely suggest seasoning my recipes with pepper unless it is a specific intended flavour in the dish. And it is can in this case if it is your preference.
Use as much or as little as you like. Fresh cracked black pepper is going to give a much better flavour than pre-ground. If you prefer a warm undertone, you can add some white pepper power and stir it in thoroughly.
Swede mash is a great base for adding other flavours. In addition to black pepper, you can add other spices or herbs. I usually find this best to do by melting the butter that is going to be added and warming the herbs and/or spices in that. This removes any raw taste from spices and will help soften and release the oils from herbs.
Adding thyme, oregano or rosemary works very well with these flavours. I also like to add curry spices. Either just simple curry powder, a garam masala or just plain and simple cumin. Fresh garlic cooked in the butter or garlic salt added instead of the sea salt is also delicious.
Other root veg will make a good addition. Try parsnips, celeriac or sweet potatoes to start.
You can also add a little cream to make a creamier, thinner puree. This works best if you are using a blender to make a smoother mash. Sour cream or crème fraiche also work with the extra tang they provide.
Vegetarian or Vegan Mashed Swede
This recipe contains no meat and is therefore naturally vegetarian. To make a vegan version, you will simply need to use a plant based butter alternative. You could use a little olive oil instead but this will of course change the flavour profile.
Make Allergy Friendly Butter Mashed Swede
This recipe is free from egg, gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free Swede Mash: All you need to do here is use a dairy free butter alternative and you’re golden.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Simple Mashed Swede
You only really need simple basic kitchen equipment to make this recipe.
You will need a way of peeling the swede. I favour using a Y shaped peeler which is also known as a speed peeler. You don’t need anything fancy, they’re sold in any kitchen shop or section.
You will also need some way of mashing the cooked veg. Potato mashers come in a wide variety of designs. I prefer to use a nylon/plastic masher as you can use this directly in non stick pans. I also prefer ones with small holes/openings rather than mashers which are wavy lines etc.
For a smoother mash, I like to use a stick blender. It doesn’t create a lot of washing up which is always one of my biggest considerations. And it does the job nice and quickly.
These also come with plastic ends and metal ends. Please don’t use a metal blender in a non-stick pan, I can show you the scars on mine that prove this is a bad idea.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
You can make up the swede mash several days in advance and store in the fridge in an air tight container.
You can easily reheat the mash in the microwave. Make sure to heat in short bursts and stir regularly until it is piping hot all the way through.
It can also be frozen. It is best to do this in portions. I like to use strong freezer bags and press all the air out while shaping them to be flat, filling the whole bag. They can then stack in the freezer which takes up minimal space. This also makes the defrosting and reheating process much quicker.
Leftover Buttery Mashed Swede
You can treat leftovers in exactly the same way as if you had planned to make it ahead of time.
As for ways to use it, try mixing with mashed potatoes and any other leftover vegetables to make a bubble and squeak of sorts. Fry in butter until there are crispy edges and serve with runny poached eggs.
You can also add the mash to soups or make one by adding stock to the mash and any other seasonings you fancy.
Making Swede Mash Tips
Allowing the drained swede to steam dry a little is essential. The main enemy of a root vegetable mash is excess water. Place the pan over a very low heat and stir if you are impatient.
It doesn’t matter what size swede you use but it is a good idea to make sure it’s cut to a similar size to each other. This means that it will all cook in the same amount of time.
If you are impatient, you will need to just quash it while waiting for the swede to cook. If it is at all undercooked, you will have crunchy lumps in your mash. A rougher texture is fine but crunchy lumps are to be avoided.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Simple Veg Recipes
Buttery Mashed Swede (Rutabaga Mash Recipe)
- 500 g Swede (Rutabaga)
- 2 tsp Fine Salt
- 25 g Butter
- 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Cracked Black Pepper - optional
- Put a kettle on to boil.
- Weigh out roughly 500g Swede.
- Peel the swede and slice off the very top and root.
- Cut into 2cm/1" chunks – make sure they're all roughly a similar size.
- Place into a saucepan along with 2 tsp Fine Salt.
- Cover the swede with the boiling water from the kettle.
- Boil for around 15 minutes or until the swede is tender all the way through. Use a sharp knife in the middle of the biggest chunk to check. They're better overboiled than underboiled.
- Drain the water and then allow the swede to sit and steam for a minute or two. This will allow any remaining water to evaporate off.
- Add 25g Butter and 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes .
- Either use a potato masher or stick blender to mash the swede. The masher will give chunkier results and the blender will make a smoother mash.
- Continue to mash or blend until the butter has melted and the mash is smooth(ish). I've left this one more on the chunky side.
- Serve with cracked black pepper if you wish.