Swede – on salad? Really?

How to cook a swede is one of the main questions people ask about this root vegetable – well, I’ve got a surprising answer. Don’t cook it. You can actually eat swede raw and it’s good.

Now I have an affection for swede. It reminds me of my nan – she used to make stew with swede in it so whenever I see it I think of her – but despite this, I never eat it now. I seem to remember that stew took A LONG time to cook and so swede has been tarred with the complicated and faffy brush in my eyes. Still there was this tiny mention this month’s Healthy Food Guide magazine as to how swede actually works well raw and grated in salad – so, for today’s lunch I decided to find out.

A few minutes of grating later I was left with something that looked like anaemic carrot on top of my rocket. It wasn’t pretty, hence my not photographing it. Tastewise though – not bad. It’s got the same crunch as carrot but is a bit more earthy. I think it would be particularly good mixed with tuna, beans and some grilled peppers – all which I’ve got in the cupboard so I might try that one tomorrow. Despite that though I still think I prefer it cooked – not least because grated swede sounds like something that happens in a Stieg Larsson novel.

Oh, and if you do need to know how to cook swede – you can boil it or roast it. It also works really well boiled then mashed like potatoes. I’m also a massive fan of adding swede to stew or slow cooked soups, it goes really soft and absorbs all the flavours of the liquid you’re cooking it in. Next thing you know they’ll be more swedes in your house than an Abba reunion.

image: istockphoto.com @ Stuart Sneddon


  1. fatgirlslims94

    Can’t explain how much I love this post. Was looking for ideas for swedes earlier, other than the comforting swede mash etc, and this is a cool idea! Also the references to Abba and Stieg Larsson just topped it all off for me! 😀

    1. healthehelen

      Glad I could help: I was a bit like ‘I’m really going to talk about swede?’ before I wrote it. BTW: the mag also suggest a swede stir fry, cut it into strips and lightly boil then stir fry it with vegetables, garlic and ginger until golden brown. That sounds pretty good too.


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