Did you know that you can eat celery root raw? If you have ever cozied up to French cuisine you probably did (the land of cooked cucumber and raw egg yolks, so bizarre and brilliant). It does however, seem as though celery root is more famous these days in its roasted, caramelized state, or as a creamy soup (both great). It has a nice bite when left raw though, it’s not weird at all, and it holds up well to a heavier dressing. It tastes like celery but with less of a watery crisp and more of a dull crunch.
Celery root is actually the root of a celery plant, but not the same sweet celery that we have come to know and love (more bitter and hard to find unless you grow it yourself). Aesthetically, celery root belongs in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth (minus the scary). It has roots for days (and so much dirt trapped in those roots) that you literally just cut away and discard while you peel the rest, exposing the smooth, pale interior.
This root veg isn’t all gnarly good looks, it is also full of antioxidants, aids digestion and works as an appetite stimulant (important for those times when treatment has caused a loss of interest in eating). I feel it is underused and one of the ‘forgotten vegetables’ that could use a resurgence.
You could very easily slice it up and add it to any green salad in the same way you would add cucumber or carrot, you don’t necessarily have to roll out the red carpet for it (as I have done today). Give it a try! It is a great veg for that in between winter and spring time, when we reeeeally want to eat (and dress) for spring (because it’s spring) but we’re just not quite there yet.
This salad is a French classic, but I, of course, have changed it so that your body and your taste buds will high five me. Mayo and oil-free (cashews and mustard instead) totally raw (enzymes-o-rama), green apple (sweet/sour/crisp), walnuts (healthy fats, and because they taste AWESOME in this salad) and a variety of other fresh veggies for a good spread of antioxidants, nutrients and flavours.
I have julienned (actually, match sticked, if I’m being honest with myself) the celery root because I love eating veggies that have been cut this way. I feel like when they are all lined up, you get a crunch that can only come from veggies that someone has lovingly match sticked. I find the easiest way to do this is to use a mandoline to slice thin sheets and then stack them up and slice them into sticks using a knife. You will be slow at first but trust me, you will get much faster with practice (just watch your fingers).
Alternatively (because I know not everyone geeks out on improving their knife skills) use a grater. Or better yet, use the grating attachment on your food processor. It’s like magic.
Once peeled and chopped up, don’t let your celery root (or apples) sit around for too long before you dress them, they will oxidize pretty quickly. To avoid culinary stress (of all the things to stress over!), just make the dressing first, before you even think about the salad chopping business, and then toss it right away (like, within 10 minutes, no stress). The acid in the dressing will keep everything from turning an unappetizing brown -crisis averted.
This is also one of those salads that still tastes great on day two and three, so making a little bit extra will have your tomorrow self (as you wrap it in a big kale leaf) blowing you a kiss.
- 1 medium (1.5 lbs/600g) Celery Root, julienned (or grated)
- 4 Celery ribs, small diced
- 1 medium Granny Smith Apple, julienned (or grated)
- 4 Green Onions (green part only), thinly sliced
- 1 c Parsley, chopped
- 1 c Walnuts (plain raw or soaked overnight, drained and rinsed), roughly chopped
- Lacinato Kale (to serve as lettuce cups, to serve raw, under the salad or tear up and mix in with the salad)
- ¾ c Cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
- ½ tsp Mustard
- 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4 Green Onions (white part only)
- ¼ c Water (or more if needed to blend smoothly)
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Toss all ingredients together with the dressing
- Blend all ingredients together until very smooth.
- Toss with salad