Celeriac is not going to be winning any beauty contests any time soon. But there are many ways to prepare celeriac, and many recipes to try. It might look a bit weird, but it most definitely deserves a spot in your kitchen.
Celeriac can also be called celery root, turnip-rooted celery, or knob celery depending on where you live. It is the root of a variety of celery, and it has a creamy-brownish thick skin and a creamy-greenish flesh. The size can vary between 5 cm (2 inches) to 15 cm (6 inches).
The flavour is quite similar to that of celery, but somewhat milder, and the texture is similar to carrots. If you’re not a fan of celery, give celeriac a try, you might be surprised!
Celeriac comes from the Mediterranean areas, but is now grown all over the world and it can be added to most cuisines seamlessly as the flavour is so delicate.
Celeriac is at its best between the months of October and April, which makes its a great Winter staple. Celeriac can usually be found year-round because storing it in good condition is relatively simple (as most other root vegetables) and you can be safe knowing that the celeriac you buy in the middle of Spring is going to be as good as the one you get during Winter.
Celeriac can be found in most large supermarkets, farmer shops, and markets. It will usually be a bit hidden and not many will be around as it’s not the most popular vegetable. If you can’t find it, ask someone from staff. Once I found celeriac hiding behind the broccoli.
Properly stored, celeriac can last for several months in a root cellar. At home, it is best kept in a cool dry (and preferably dark) place for up to 3 weeks. If you have a place dedicated to storing potatoes and onions, celeriac will be happy there. If you keep it in the fridge, leave it uncovered or in a paper bag. Storing celeriac in plastic will create condensation and make it rot.
The leaves are edible and quite tasty, but it’s better to cut them off the celeriac if you’re planning to keep it for a while before using, as they can dry the root out (much like carrot greens).
Celeriac can also be frozen, but it needs to be chopped and blanched first. If mashed, it will freeze beautifully.
Preparing celeriac to eat is very easy. You don’t need to peel it as the skin is quite thin and the texture and flavour is virtually the same as that of the flesh.
However, cleaning a celeriac can be a bit tricky. It’s easier if you cut off all the nobby bits, but depending on the celeriac you have that could mean losing a significant amount of the root. These parts will be easier to clean on their own, so if you’re up for a bit of extra work, you can use them.
I personally prefer to cut my celeriac first and then wash it under running water. A brush can also be helpful, especially the kind that can get into small places like the ones used to clean baby bottles or straws.
Once chopped, 1 kg (2 lbs) will fill about 6 cups. If mashed, it will be approximately 3 cups.
Celeriac is surprisingly versatile for a root vegetable. Not taking into account the difference in flavour, it can very much be used the same way carrots can.
- Raw: cut or slice thinly and use as a crudité or in a salad, it goes great in slaws.
- Fry: cut into batons or small cubes and deep fry.
- Pan fry: same as above.
- Boil: cut in chunks and then eat as is or mash.
- Steam: same as above.
- Grill/BBQ: slice into 1 cm (1/2”) thick steaks and grill.
- Roast: in batons, cubes, chunks, or whole. If whole, cover in foil to avoid burning.
If you don’t like or can’t find celeriac, there are luckily several options to replace it in recipes. Nothing will be exactly the same as celeriac as it is such a unique vegetable, but there are options. Some are best for flavour, while others are best for texture. Usually, they work best when combined.
- To keep the flavour: celery (use a lot less), celery salt (which is made from dehydrated celeriac), celery seed, or parsley root.
- To keep the texture when cooked: potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, swede (rutabaga), Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
- To keep the texture when raw: jicama, cabbage, carrots, daikon.
Celeriac has a flavour profile extremely similar to that of celery, but somewhat milder. So anything that is a good partner to one, will also be to the other.
- All root vegetables, including those you probably wouldn’t think of like beets and fennel.
- Red meats, especially lamb.
- Butter and cream, and dairy in general.
- Seafood and fish in general.
- Mediterranean herbs: basil, sage, rosemary, thyme…
- If you’re adventurous, strawberries and bananas are said to go very well with celeriac (but I’ve never tried that particular combination!).
50+ celeriac recipes
Celeriac is an ugly looking vegetable, and it’s interesting to see how that impacts its use. Celeriac is readily available in supermarkets (at least in the UK), but it doesn’t seem to be used much by food bloggers or homecooks. Most of the recipes I found are by chefs and a bit fancier than regular people would go for a weeknight meal.
I tried to keep all recipes relatively simple and affordable, but I did include one or two more chefy recipes.
Celeriac as the star
- BBQ celeriac mash, by love2bbq (BBQ as in made in a BBQ, not BBQ flavoured with the sauce)
- Celeriac and carrot remoulade, by BBC goodfood
- Celeriac & coconut soup (with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass), by KindEARTH
- Celeriac coleslaw, by BBC goodfood
- Celeriac oven chips, by BBC goodfood
- Celeriac puree, by olive
- Celeriac steak with salsa verde, by olive
- Cod and smashed celeriac, by BBC goodfood
- Herb-baked celeriac, by BBC goodfood
- Honey glazed celeriac, by Brain Food Studio (loads of scrolling, but the recipe is simple and delicious)
- Koji-marinated celeriac, by Great British Chefs
- Quick celeriac remoulade, by BBC goodfood
- Roast celeriac with marsala, by BBC
- Salt-baked celeriac, by Great British Chefs
- Spiced celeriac soup, by delicious.
- Whole baked celeriac with walnuts and blue cheese, by BBC goodfood
- Zombie brain, by Jamie Oliver (basically a roasted celeriac with mushrooms)
Celeriac as a flavour
- Apple, cherry and celeriac flapjacks, by Sneaky Veg
- Baked mushroom and celeriac torte, by olive
- Celebration celeriac and sweet garlic pie, by BBC
- Celeriac & blue cheese soda bread, by Abel & Cole
- Celeriac and pumpkin mash, by Cate in the kitchen
- Celeriac, bacon and barley soup, by delicious.
- Celeriac boulangere, by Tesco
- Celeriac croquettes, by Great British Chefs
- Celeriac, lettuce and pea soup, by Belleau Kitchen
- Celeriac noodles with salmon & dill, by Abel & Cole
- Celeriac, onion and mustard puff pastry tart, by delicious.
- Celeriac, pancetta & thyme soup, by BBC goodfood
- Celeriac, potato and beetroot gratin, by delicious.
- Celeriac tikka masala, by Abel & Cole
- Cheesy celeriac, leek & rosemary gratin, by BBC goodfood
- Chunky cheddar & celeriac soup, by BBC goodfood
- Creamy celeriac & cannellini bean bake with lemony cabbage, by Abel & Cole
- Curried celeriac, red cabbage, pear and walnut coleslaw, by delicious.
- Gluten-free bread sauce, by Great British Chefs (no bread of any kind used, just veggies)
- Goan spiced celeriac & lentil curry, by Abel & cole
- Grilled apple celeriac cake, by veggie desserts
- Indian spiced chicken & winter veg tin roast, by Abel & Cole
- Lamb souvlaki, by BBC
- Leek soup, by BBC
- North African winter vegetable soup with toasted freekeh, by Food to glow (a bit of scrolling before the recipe)
- Parkin cake with celeriac ice cream and caramelised pears, by olive
- Parsnip and celeriac bake, by BBC goodfood
- Potato and celeriac pancakes with bacon and cheese, by delicious.
- Red lentil soup, by Gourmandelle (some scrolling)
- Roast guinea fowl with celeriac and plums, by delicious.
- Sage & celeriac hash browns, by BBC goodfood
- Shaved celeriac and beetroot caesar salad, by delicious.
- Slow-cooked celeriac with pork & orange, by BBC goodfood
- Thai celeriac soup, by frugalfeeding
- Toor dhal with celeriac, by Mira Garvin
- Vegan pie, by BBC goodfood