Celery root, a.k.a. celeriac, is a gnarly looking root vegetable, but once you get past its rough exterior, you’ll find a neutral-tasting interior with a hint of celery. For those looking to eat fewer carbs, it is popular to use it in place of some of the spuds in traditional mashed potatoes without altering the texture too much.

While I am a fan of any dish that's a vessel for butter and cream, this recipe is not that. Instead, it showcases the celery root and lets it shine without the aid of dairy. This simple mash brightens the vegetable's subtle taste with the addition of lemon zest and juice, and good extra-virgin olive oil adds both fat and flavor.

Mash by hand for a more rustic texture, or puree in a food processor for a smoother consistency. For serving, an extra drizzle of olive oil and a few more grinds of black pepper are welcome. If your celery root happens to come with leaves attached, chop them as a nice green garnish. If not, flat leaf parsley will do the trick.

Note: The best way to peel celery root is by using a sharp chef’s knife to cut off the top and bottom. Place the root on a cutting board on one of the flat sides so that it is stable. Cut away the rough peel in vertical strips, following the curved shape of the root, and then you can prep the vegetable as instructed by the recipe.

Storage Notes: The mash can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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  • 2 pounds celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into roughly 1-inch chunks (see NOTE)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon juice plus 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh celery leaves or parsley leaves, for garnish

Step 1

In a medium pot, combine the celery root and a generous pinch of salt, and add enough water to cover. Place the pot on the stove, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, skimming off any impurities that float to the top, until a fork easily slides into the celery root with little to no resistance, about 20 minutes.

Step 2

Drain the celery root, return to the pot to low heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, to get rid of excess moisture, 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 3

Remove from the heat and add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Using a potato masher, mash to reach your desired consistency, adding more oil as needed.

Step 4

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, top with an extra drizzle of olive oil, a few more cracks of black pepper and the celery or parsley leaves, and serve.

Nutrition Information

(Based on 6 servings)

Calories: 151; Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 175 mg; Carbohydrates: 14 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugar: 3 g; Protein: 2 g.

Recipe from Voraciously staff writer Aaron Hutcherson.

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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