Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

Featured Item—Celeriac

I have to admit, until this past week, I had never tasted celeriac.  It’s not that I was leery of the hairy brown knobby bulb, I mean it is kind of funky and fun, but I just didn’t know what to do with it.  So I never purchased it.  When Karen said the farm was going to offer it this week for the first time in years, I figured here was my chance to take a stab at this very interesting vegetable.

Celeriac is a variety of celery also known as celery root.  It is cultivated for its warty looking but nonetheless delicious root, although it’s stalks and leaves are edible, resembling celery leaves and shoots.  Its flesh beneath the hairy brown exterior, is crisp, white and looks a bit like a turnip, whereas its taste is like mild celery, with nutty undertones.  Celeriac is quite popular in Europe, but is beginning to find its fans here in the U.S. as well.

Celeriac is delicious both raw and cooked.  In cooking it is often substituted for potatoes because of its similar texture and color when cooked.  However, celeriac has about one third of the total carbohydrates of a potato. This makes it a great alternative for folks trying to watch their starch intake.

Celeriac is wonderful raw in vegetable or grain salads.  It can be grated, thinly sliced, julienned or cut in thicker slices for crudite.  See below for a tasty lentil salad using raw carrot and celeriac.

Don’t forget to use the greens in these salads too.  Sample them first to see how strong they taste to you then use them accordingly.  The greens work great used like you would celery leaves, cutting celery, or an herb.  Mince them and add them at the last minute to give a punch to soups, stews, or salads, or blend it with other herbs like parsley to make a tasty chimichurri or pesto.

Celeriac can also be steamed, sautéed, fried, baked, roasted, grilled, or braised.  It adds a wonderful element to roasted root vegetable medleys and is terrific in soups (see recipe below).  I just happened to get this Food & Wine email on celery root recipes.  Click here on celery root recipes.

A popular way to serve celeriac is mashed, like potatoes, either in combination with potato, or on its own. I am looking forward to trying a carrot and celeriac mash this week when we receive our first share of celeriac for the season. I have also heard that celeriac chips are delicious, which can baked or fried (see celeriac chips)

Celeriac is a terrific source of vitamin C and phosphorous.  It is also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, and Manganese.  It is also quite low in calories.

Pick celeriac with crisp bright green leaves and roots with no cracks or holes.  Once you get your celeriac home, cut the greens from the roots and store them separately.  The leaves will last a few days, while the celery root will keep up to a few weeks.  To prepare the root, first cut off each end.  Stand the root up on one end.  Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the hairy brown covering from top to bottom, turning the root as work your way around.  Don’t try using a vegetable peeler, as the hair and knobs just get in the way.

Celeriac browns quickly on peeled and cut.   If you have cut your celery root and are not using it immediately, keep it in acidulated water (i.e water with lemon juice) until you are ready to use it.


Once fall hits I start to crave lentils.  I decided to try a lentil salad with celeriac and carrots and was very pleased how well the textures melded.  I love the soft bite of the lentils with the pleasing crunch of the vegetables.  Make sure that your carrots and celeriac are cut small enough that you can get a bit of everything in each bite.

Lentil and Celeriac Salad                                                                                    Serves 4


– 1 cup French green lentils, picked over

– 3 cups homemade vegetable broth

– 1 bay leaf

– 4 medium carrots, diced small

– 2 medium celeriac, peeled and diced small, held in water with a bit of lemon juice

– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

– zest of half lemon

– 1 clove garlic, crushed

– 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

– 2 tablespoons minced celeriac leaves


1. In a medium pot, boil lentils and bay leaf in vegetable broth until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain lentils and discard remaining broth and bay leaf.  Allow to cool.

2. Using a hand-held blender, blend lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon, garlic, and olive oil until mixture emulsifies.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Drain celeriac.  In a medium bowl, toss cooled lentils, carrots, drained celeriac, lemon dressing, and celeriac leaves until well mixed.  Add salt and pepper if necessary.  Serve cold or at room temperature.


This recipe is a nod to my California upbringing and my favorite vegetable in the world, artichokes.  I had once heard that artichokes and celeriac are a great combination so I tried it in this soup.  I took the lazy way out and used canned artichokes, which due to the acidity in the brine, added a nice underlying acidic note.

Celeriac and Artichoke Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons                        Serves 4


– 1 small onion, minced

– 2 teaspoons oil of choice

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, well drained, tough outer leaves removed, roughly chopped

– 3 small  celeriac, peeled and chopped

– 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced thyme

– 4 cups home-made or purchased vegetable broth

– 1/2 teaspoon salt, if using no salt broth; otherwise salt to taste

– 4 thick slices pumpernickel bread, cubed

– olive oil spray

– garlic salt

– 1 tablespoon minced celeriac leaves


1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-low heat until hot.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft (do not allow it to brown).  Add artichoke hearts, celeriac, thyme, broth and salt. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until celeriac is quite soft.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350℉.   Spread bread cubes out on a rimmed baking sheet.  Spray well with olive oil spray (or toss with olive oil) and sprinkle generously with garlic salt.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until well toasted, about minutes.

3. Puree soup in batches in a blender and transfer back to pan or a large bowl.  If desired add a bit of cream, half in half, milk or fat free half and half to taste.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup into rimmed soup bowls.  Garnish with celeriac leaves and croutons just before serving.


I came up with this preparation for cauliflower at the last minute when I realized I didn’t have a side dish planned for our stuffed delicata squash entrée.  This is a cinch to make, but is quite tasty.

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Green Olive Vinaigrette                        Serves 2


– 2 small cauliflower

– 2 teaspoons olive oil

– 1 1/2 tablespoons purchased green olive tapenade

– 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 375.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Spray foil with olive oil spray (or brush with olive oil).  Place whole cauliflower stem side down on a work surface.  Using a sharp knife, slice downward into 1/4″ thick slices (don’t worry if some small florets break off).  Toss cauliflower with olive oil.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Roast, turning once, until cauliflower is tender and caramelized, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mix tapenade with vinegar.  It should be thin enough to drizzle.  If not, add a little bit more vinegar or oil.

3. Remove cauliflower from oven and drizzle with tapenade vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.

2 thoughts on “Simply Fresh by Julie Wern”

  1. Julie – I am new to the CSA this year and wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your posts as well as the recipes. Thank you!

  2. LOVE celeriac for many soups and stews that require celery…gives the flavor without bitterness or stringiness, and it keeps very well. Glad to see it in the share!

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