This Celery Root Salad with Lentils combines raw celery root and cooked French lentils with a rich lemon, garlic, olive oil and anchovy dressing! It is a hearty and wholesome side dish with earthy and complex flavors.
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Why and When To Make This Recipe
This Celery Root Salad would be a great addition to a weeknight meal when served with Crispy Roasted Chicken, Grilled Pork Tenderloin or with Salmon Baked In Foil. Or top it with a poached egg! It can also be made vegan by omitting the butter and anchovies, and using olive oil and miso instead. Tips below how to make those substitutions.
This recipe is a great way to use celeriac also known as celery root. I love celery root because it is a great storing crop so locally grown celery root can be eaten in the wintertime and spring when other locally grown veggies are far and few in between.
I love to cook it, like to make Simple Sauteed Celery Root with herbs and garlic. But did you know it is also fantastic served raw when cut into matchsticks or shredded with a box grater. It has a light celery taste but it is also a little bit nutty tasting!
This recipe also features lentils which are a great vegetarian source of protein and fiber. I adore lentils and often make this French Lentil with bacon recipe. This recipe is a nice way to use lentils in the springtime. It is served warm or room temperature, and is more salad like than a hot side dish.
About The Ruffage Cookbook
I came across this recipe in a new-to-me cookbook that I bought in January: Ruffage by Abra Berens. It is all about cooking with vegetables! I bought it after being homebound for so many months. I ordered it from Amazon when was craving cooking inspiration.
This book is exactly what I needed! It is bursting with ideas for using veggies from celery root to boiling onions! When I got it I dog eared too many pages to keep track of! Essentially I wanted to cook every recipe!
One of the best parts about this book is that Berens shares a main recipe, but then includes three variations on it to totally transform it into another recipe altogether! The front matter includes many “sub recipes” like the Bagna Cauda that serves as dressing for this salad and other such yummies as dukkah (tried it and now addicted), brown butter vinaigrette and pickle liquid dressing!
The ideas are so creative, just flipping though the book makes me hungry and inspired to cook all in minutes!
This recipe for Celery Root Salad was one that caught my eye. I made it early this spring, and then reached out to Abra to see if I could share it with you all. She agreed and I learned she is working on another book too, which I am excited to see soon!
Ingredients For This Recipe
French Green Lentils
French lentils are firm and do not fall apart the way brown or red lentils do so they will have the best texture for the salad. I like black lentils in salads too, and they would make a good substitute.
You can find French Green (depuy) lentils with the legumes and pulses in large supermarkets, gourmet stores and health food stores.
Celery root or celeriac is occasionally sold with the stems attached in the summertime. You can cut them off and use them for Chicken Stock. Usually it is sold in the refrigerated section of the produce department with other root vegetables.
It is rough textured, and will often have the green stumps remaining where the stalks were cut off after harvest.
If you are not familiar with celeriac this is how to peel and cut it.
How To Peel Celeriac and Cut into Matchsticks
Step 1: Working with the celeriac on the cutting board, cut off one side to create a flat edge. Prop the celery root on the cut end for stability and then cut along the sides in an arching motion to remove the rough brown exterior. Repeat until no brown skin remains.
Step 2: Carefully cut into matchsticks with a mandoline or sharp Chef’s knife. You can also grate it with a box grater like I did in this Sesame Chicken and Celery Root Slaw.
The dressing for this salad is made of lemon and Bagna Cauda which is a hot oil infusion with achovies and seasonings. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can omit the anchovies and instead use 2 teaspoons miso paste.
There is also butter in the Bagna Cauda. If you do not eat dairy you can use 1/2 cup olive oil in the Bagna Cauda instead of half oil half butter.
There is lemon rind in the hot oil and anchovy mixture (Bagna Cauda) and there is also zest and juice tossed with the celery root, so you will need two lemons for this recipe. When cooking with lemon rind I recommend buying organic lemon.
How To Make This Celery Root Salad Recipe
Cook the Lentils
Step 1: The lentils take about 35 minutes to cook, so you will want to start that first. Berens uses a different cooking method than my usual way of cooking.
- First sweat the onion with a bit of salt in a tablespoon of oil in a saucepan.
- Then deglaze with wine and let that evaporate.
Step 2: Cooking the lentils in only enough liquid, and not draining them produces the most flavorful lentils, because you are not pouring the flavors of the onion and wine down the drain with extra cooking liquid.
- Add in the lentils and water and bring it to a simmer.
- Cook the lentils until they are tender and the liquid is absorbed.
- I found that I needed to add 1 cup extra water as the lentils cooked to keep the top layer submerged in the water so they could get tender.
- Then for the last five minutes allow the liquid level to cook down.
Make The Bagna Cauda
Step 3: While the lentils are simmering, you’ll want to get the anchovy bagna cauda cooking. As I said, it is somewhat of an infusion. Usually bagna cauda is served as a dip for raw veggies. Here is is used in the salad as the dressing.
- Heat 1/4 olive oil in a small saucepan.
- Add the anchovies (if using miso do not add them now), garlic and salt and let them gently bubble in the hot oil for about 3 minutes to let the anchovy soften and the garlic brown.
- Next add in the lemon peel and rosemary needles to let them bloom in the hot oil for one to two minutes or until they are fragrant.
- Then melt in the butter and remove it from the heat.
Toss Celery Root with Lemon
Then toss it in a bowl with the lemon zest and lemon juice. The lemon will prevent the celeriac from turning brown.
Combine the Salad and Serve
Once all of the components are ready you can toss it all together.
Step 5a: Simply add the lentils and parsley leaves to the bowl, and drizzle on the bagna cauda.
Step 5b: Toss it together to combine.
I did not remove the lemon peel or rosemary from the bagna cauda, and instead left it up the the diners (aka my family) to remove them if they wanted to.
Berens suggests serving it warm or room temperature (which I did.) She also said that if the butter in the bagna congeals, to warm everything back up in a saucepan. I had this salad leftover and I didn’t mind the texture of it cold at all. But if this bothers try her suggestion.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Yes! Here is how:
Heat 1/2 cup olive oil for the Bagna Cauda. Add garlic and salt and let brown. Add in the lemon peel and rosemary and remove it from the heat. When making the celery root mixture, whisk two teaspoons miso paste with the lemon and zest. Then add the celery root and toss to combine. Continue with the recipe as directed by tossing the lentils and parsley with the celery root and Bagna Cauda.
Keep the leftovers covered in the fridge up to three days. The texture of the celery root and parsley will soften considerably after the first day, but the taste is still nice. Serve with a slotted spoon as there will be liquid in the bottom of the container. Warm gently in a saucepan to reheat.
Keep the components separate. Cook the lentils and Bagna cauda and keep them separate. Toss the celeriac and the lemon together. When you are ready to serve, heat the lentils up in the microwave or on the stovetop with a couple tablespoons of water or broth. Warm the bagna cauda up in a small saucepan. Stir everything together with the parsley before serving.
More Root Vegetable Recipes
- This winter I shared this recipe for Mashed Root Vegetables which includes celery root among others! It is unbelievably creamy!
- These Roasted Parsnips and this recipe for Roasted Turnips are both very basic and so easy to prepare that you will return to them over and over.
- I recently added this recipe for Roasted Beets to the site to round out the beet recipes I have here. This summer, try this recipe for Pickled beets if you love them as much as I do!
- This recipe for Mashed Carrots and Parsnips has a bit of orange in it for a pop of flavor.
- There are tons more too. You can see all the side dishes here as well as the salads here for even more inspiration!
Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter or follow me on instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie
This recipe adapted from the cookbook Ruffage: a practical guide to vegetables by Abra Berens is a nourishing side dish to serve with roasted chicken, salmon or to top with a poached egg! It can be made meatless and vegan too.
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup white wine
2 cups water
1 cup green lentils
3 oil packed anchovies, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 1-inch wide by 2-inch long strip lemon peel
1 Tablespoon rosemary needles
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 lemon, zested and juiced
½ bunch parsley leaves, washed and spun dry
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil, onion and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, until the onion is softened and just starting to brown slightly. Add white wine and cook until the wine is evaporated. Add lentils and water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the lentils are tender and the liquid is evaporated, adding 1 cup or so more water if necessary, about 25 minutes. Let liquid level evaporate in last five minutes of cooking time.
- Heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add anchovies, garlic and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook until the garlic is softened and lightly browned. Add the lemon peel and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Melt in butter and remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, toss the celery root, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl.
- Add the cooked lentils, parsley and anchovy mixture to the bowl and toss to combine with the celery root. Serve warm or at room temperature.
How To Make Vegan and Dairy Free
Heat 1/2 cup olive oil for the garlic and fat mixture in step one.
Add garlic and salt and let brown.
Add in the lemon peel and rosemary and remove it from the heat. Do not add butter.
When making the celery root mixture in step 3, whisk two teaspoons miso paste with the lemon and zest. Then add the celery root and toss to combine.
Continue with the recipe as directed by tossing the lentils and parsley with the celery root and hot oil and garlic mixture.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 327 calories
- Fat: 20 grams
- Saturated Fat: 6 grams
- Carbohydrates: 28 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Protein: 9 grams