Have you ever tried cooking with celeriac? Chances are you have seen them in the supermarkets and just walked on by. I understand, Celeriac, also called celery root, is not an attractive veggie. But while celeriac doesn’t have vibrant colors or a pretty shape, you should really give this unappreciated veggie a try.
Underneath its less than pretty outside lies a delicious vegetable that’s starchy like potatoes and has a distinctive taste that’s like a cross between celery and parsley. It’s also pretty versatile so the next time you’re in the grocery store, pick up a big knob of celery root. If you’re not sure what to do with it, here are my tips and tricks for cooking with celeriac.
1. Selection and Storage
Like most root vegetables, celeriac is at its peak during the fall and winter months though it is available year-round. When it’s harvested early, the celery root may have stalks and leaves attached. Look for celery roots that are small, firm, and heavy with fresh leaves. Celery root is more tender and easier to peel when fresh.
When you get your celery root home, cut off the stalks and leaves and store them separately so everything lasts longer. Since it’s a root vegetable, celeriac likes coolness and darkness. Wrap the root in plastic and store it in the fridge for up to a week or more.
2. Peeling and Prepping
Celeriac can be hard to peel because it’s so knobby. If you haven’t already, cut off the leaves and stalks. Wash the root thoroughly, scrubbing with a soft vegetable brush. Now you’re ready to peel it. You want to remove the entire brown hairy exterior and get down to the light flesh. Slice the root end off so the celery root can stand. Hold the stem end with one hand and peel the skin by moving your sharp knife from top to bottom. Work your way around the whole bulb and try to keep as much flesh intact as possible. Since you lose some flesh while peeling, keep in mind that you will need about four medium sized roots to make six servings of celeriac.
When you have finished peeling the root, you can cut it in half and then chop it into chunks or slices for your recipe. Like potatoes, the flesh will oxidize and start to turn brown so put the chopped celeriac in lemon water, lemon juice or vinegar until you’re ready to cook.
3. Eat It Raw
Celery root can be eaten raw. It has a strong flavor, so you want to pair it with other strong flavors. Apples, carrots, and beets are good choices. Slice celery root thinly with a mandoline, cut it into thin matchsticks, or grate it coarsely and toss it into a salad with apples, pears, carrots, toasted walnuts, and greens. Try adding celeriac to this Nourishing Winter Salad.
4. Make Soup
Since celery root is similar to potatoes, you can use them together to make soup. The celery root will add a bright, grassy flavor. Cut the celery root into small cubes as you would the potatoes. Add all your other soup ingredients and simmer until the veggies are tender. Purée the soup and add non-dairy cream, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. Try using celery root in this Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup or add it to recipes like this Simple Creamy Potato Leek Soup, Potato Chive Soup, and Creamy Mashed Potato Soup With Melty ‘Cheddah’ Cheeze Sauce.
5. Do the Mash
You can also cook and mash celery root like potatoes. Simply cut the celery root into chunks, place them in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the celeriac is fork-tender. Add non-dairy milk, herbs, spices, and mash until smooth.
Add them to potatoes like this Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root or mix the celery root with cauliflower as in this Herbed Celeriac Purée With Sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms. In this Root Veggie Mash, celery root is cooked with carrots, potatoes, and pumpkin for a yummy and colorful dish.
6. Go Gratin
Vegetable gratins are perfect for a hearty, satisfying meal that can serve a crowd. Gratins are layers of fresh vegetables mixed with vegan cheese, herbs, spices, and crunchy toppings then baked until golden brown and bubbling. The vegetables shrink while cooking, releasing moisture and flavor for a perfectly moist, cheesy dish that can be an entrée or side.
Celery root can definitely be one of those veggies. The longer it cooks, the more tender it gets. Try it in this Root Veggie Au Gratin which has celeriac, parsnips, turnips, and rutabaga plus a rich cashew cream sauce for a delicious new twist on a classic dish.
7. Other Ways to Cook It
Celery root can be prepared in so many ways. Cut it into cubes, sprinkle some seasonings on it and roast it in a 425-degree oven until it’s browned and tender. Try dressing it with citrus like these Tangerine-Roasted Root Vegetables.
In 10 Under-Appreciated Veggies, You Should Be Eating, I shared a recipe for Braised Celery. That same recipe can be followed subbing diced celery root for the celery. For more tips, read Learn How to Braise Your Food for Maximum Flavor.
If you love potato chips, give celery root chips a try. Use a mandoline to make thin slices of the celery root, toss in a bit of olive oil and your choice of seasonings and arrange the chips on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast them at 350 degrees until they are golden brown and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and munch away. Use celery root in these recipes for Homemade Baked Potato Chips and Oregano Olive Oil Beet Chips. If you love French fries, you’ll go mad for these Crispy Oil-Free Celeriac Fries.
Finally, you can just leave the entire celeriac whole and roast it like you would a head of cauliflower. This Whole Roasted Celeriac With Herbs, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt is a worthy centerpiece for any dinner table. Just slice it and serve with rich risotto, creamy mushrooms, sautéed greens, or a cashew sauce.
It can be exciting to cook with something new and different. Celeriac might not look so inviting in the market, but once you cook with it, we guarantee you’ll be filling your cart with these unattractive but delicious vegetables.
Lead image source: Herbed Celeriac Purée With Sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms