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Celery Root as a Substitute for Potatoes (Plus 2 Simple Recipes)

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Food is one of my greatest passions. I love to write about food, cooking, and nutrition.

Celery root (aka celeriac) is a great substitute for potatoes. It's healthier, too!

Celery root (aka celeriac) is a great substitute for potatoes. It's healthier, too!

Cooking With Healthy Celery Root

Celery root (aka celeriac) is a great substitute for potatoes. It can be cooked in most of the same ways as potatoes, but it is a far healthier alternative. It's lower in calories, is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium and manganese, and is a very good source of vitamin C and phosphorus. You can read the detailed nutritional profile on the U.S. Department of Agriculture site.

Don’t worry. This isn’t the root of the celery stalks that you’ve been grudgingly snacking on to lose weight. This earthy root is a cousin to those stalks, but it's more akin to a turnip in both texture and taste.

I've included two simple recipes below—one for roasting and one for mashing—two of America's favorite ways to prepare veggies.

Here’s a quick nutritional summary from Nutrition Data that compares celery root to a comparable amount of potato:

Celery Root vs. Potato

Source: Nutrition Data

Celery RootPotato

Calories

42

118

Carbohydrates

9g

27g

Dietary Fiber

2g

2g

Serving Size

1 cup (155g), boiled, drained, no salt

1 potato (136g) with skin, boiled, no salt

Recipe 1: Roasted Celery Root

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare celery root. The roasting brings out the earthy, salty, parsley-like flavor of celery root, allspice is a perfect complement to the light celery flavor, and dressing it in a good olive oil with a touch of sea salt is simply divine.

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Ingredients

  • 1 bulb celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • sea salt (or kosher salt)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Peel and slice the celery root. I generally cut the bulb in half down the middle, slice 1/2″ thick pieces, and then cut those pieces into halves or thirds (depending on the size of the starting bulb).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil and allspice.
  4. Toss the celery root slices in the olive oil-allspice mixture to coat.
  5. Lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Roast for 10 minutes turning once after 7 minutes.

Cooking Notes

This recipe is delightfully simple and hard to mess up. Other than undercooking the celery root (which is easy to fix), I don’t think there are many mistakes you can make!

Recipe 2: Celery Root Mash

This recipe is a healthier and more flavorful alternative to mashed potatoes. In addition to the celery root being lower in carbs and calories than potatoes, this side dish gets its flavor from the celery root, broth, and truffle oil rather than the higher calorie cream, butter, or sour cream traditionally added to mashed potatoes. This makes the overall dish a healthier alternative.

Given that the truffle oil and the celery root are rather rich in flavor, I generally serve a smaller portion than mashed potatoes (yet another way this is a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes).

Ingredients

  • 1 bulb celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon truffle oil (or 1/4 teaspoon of allspice, see note below)
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper

Directions

  1. Peel the celery root and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a pot with enough vegetable broth to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the celery root is softened (about 20 minutes).
  2. Transfer the celery root to a food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup of the broth and blend until it reaches the texture of soft polenta. Add more broth, if necessary.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of black truffle oil and kosher salt and white pepper to taste. Blend to mix.

Cooking Notes

  1. You only need to soften the celery root with boiling to make it easier to blend. There is no need to overcook it. Most recipes I’ve seen for celery root cook it for 30-40 minutes, and in my experience that’s too long. No one likes mushy vegetables.
  2. Be conservative when adding the broth to blend. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away. This is not a recipe for celery root soup.
  3. Black truffle oil can be very expensive. The last bottle I purchased cost me about $20 for 3 1/2 ounces. If you don’t want to spend that kind of money, you can instead season the mash with 1/4 teaspoon of allspice. Although the result will taste different, you still get a great celery root mash at a much cheaper price.

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