How to Use Celery Root in the Kitchen

This underappreciated root vegetable is the chameleon of the kitchen and can be prepared every which way — both raw and cooked.
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K, so it’s not the most attractive vegetable in the produce aisle, and if we’re being honest, it looks like a hairy softball. Regardless, this bulbous, gnarled root holds all its beauty on the inside.

Celery root, also called celeriac, is economical, versatile and flat-out delicious, with a flavor akin to a mash-up of parsley and celery with a hint of sweetness. Worthy of a nutritional pat-on-the-back, this eternally underrated root is a leading source of vitamin K, a must-have nutrient recently linked to a lower risk of premature death from cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks. And at a mere 65 calories per cup, celery root is an ab-friendly stand-in for starchier items like potatoes and pasta.

Celery root

Celery root.

Prep Step: Celery root requires a generous peeling before use. Lop off the top and bottom of the bulb so it sits flat, then work a sharp chef’s knife down the sides to remove the knobby skin.

Here are a few ways to use celery root in your favorite recipes.

Use in Place of Steak

Nutrition Upgrade: Eliminate the saturated fat from the beef.

Cut celery root into 1-inch slices; season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high and sear celery root “steaks” until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast at 400 F until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve topped with your favorite sauce.

Pasta with celery root spaghetti

Celery root spaghetti.

Trade for Spaghetti and Pasta

Nutrition Upgrade: Save about 150 calories per cup and eliminate gluten from the recipe. 

Use a spiralizer to slice celery root into spaghetti-like strands. Warm the “noodles” in a skillet and toss with sauce such as pesto or Bolognese.

Sub for Cabbage in a Slaw

Nutrition Upgrade: Bolster your intake of vitamin K as well as harder-to-get minerals like potassium and manganese. 

Combine grated celery root, 1 grated Granny Smith apple, ¼ cup chopped walnuts and ⅓ cup chopped parsley. Toss with 3 tablespoons cider vinegar-Dijon mustard dressing.

Exchange for Potato in Hash

Nutrition Upgrade: Slash about half the starchy calories in a typical hash and boost the fiber content.

Heat 4 cups cubed celery root, 1 small chopped onion and a few pinches salt in a lightly oiled skillet until tender and brown; stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary. Serve topped with a fried egg.

Celery root puree

Celery root puree.

Switch with Cream in a Puree

Nutrition Upgrade: Slash a ton of calories and fat and make this dish edible for those with dairy allergies.

Steam or boil 2 cups chopped celery root until very tender. Puree together with ¼ cup evaporated milk, 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoons fresh thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt. Serve under fish or meats.

Celery Root Horseradish Mash

Makes: 4 Servings

This is a great low-calorie sub for mashed potatoes — guilt-free comfort food!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium celery root, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place celery root in a large pan of water and bring to a boil. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Add apples during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain well and return celery root and apples to pan. Mash together with horseradish, butter, thyme, salt and pepper until just slightly chunky.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 167, fat 6 g, carbs 28 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 13 g, protein 3 g, sodium 472 mg

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