Celeriac is often overlooked as a staple vegetable and tends to be either used in a puree, soup or grated as a salad. However celeriac is aromatic, nutritious, low fat, low starch and low calorie and a good source of fibre. It’s rich in vitamin C, calcium and potassium, and as with many vegetables the nutrients are concentrated just beneath the skin. Although it is not quite as versatile as the potato due to its distinctive flavour, there is no reason why it can’t be used as the focus of a vegetarian main meal. It has the reputation of being difficult to prepare because of its fibrous nature but it’s actually very easy to use. In this recipe the exterior is simply cut away with a knife and the bulb chopped into 2cm size cubes and then boiled for 30 minutes before using.
This recipe is perfect for all vegetarian, vegan, liver cleansing and blood group A diets as well as for anyone interested in healthy eating. It is low in fat and does not contain eggs, dairy or any artificial flavours, colours or other chemical additives. All ingredients are inexpensive which makes this meal a great addition to a dinner party in a recession.
Potato can be added to the celeriac if desired but really it isn’t necessary and will only increase the calories. After making the celeriac mash, it should be fairly dry with no residual water otherwise the croquettes will not hold their shape. Pesto is placed in the centre of the croquettes which are then rolled in flour, breadcrumbs, crushed nuts or any other crisp coating. The croquettes are then shallow fried in a small amount of olive oil and served with extra pesto and chilli radish crisps.
1 medium whole celeriac will make 6 large croquettes
Sea salt, ground black pepper
Plain flour or other coating of choice
Peel, chop and cook celeriac in boiling water for around 20-30 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash, or process, until smooth but retain a rustic consistency. Add seasoning and a little olive oil if too dry but it needs to be firm enough to hold its shape while the croquettes are in the pan. Form flat cakes of celeriac on the palm of your hand and make a well in the centre. Add a teaspoon full of pesto then cover with more celeriac and roll into flattened rounds. Roll each croquette in flour or other coating and shallow fry in a small amount of olive oil until browned.
Piquant Parsley Pesto
1 medium courgette
1 large green chilli or to taste
1 bunch of fresh parsley
4 cloves of garlic
Sea salt, ground black pepper
Finely chop the courgette, deseeded chilli, garlic and parsley. Combine with enough olive oil to form a thick paste. Add seasoning. The ingredients for the pesto are all used raw.
Chilli Radish Crisps
6-8 medium red radishes, white radish is also fine to use
Hot chilli powder
Brush oil thinly over a baking tray. Finely slice the radishes into thin circles and lay on the tray. Sprinkle over salt and chilli powder and bake in a 180oC oven for around 10 minutes then turn them over and bake for a further 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them because they will burn quickly once they begin to dry out and become crisp. They should be crisp and spicy. Sprinkle over the celeriac croquettes and pesto.
Other low fat, low calorie vegetarian and liver cleansing recipe ideas
Braised fennel and spinach risotto
Croustade de Champignon
Home-made baked beans
Courgette and carrot terrine