janet @ the taste space

Roasted Celeriac and Lentils with Hazelnuts and Mint

In Mains (Vegetarian) on February 8, 2012 at 6:22 AM

I loved hearing how you decide to share your blog with your friends and co-workers after my last post. As Joanne said, sometimes there are clues that a blog may be lurking in the background, or at least a true love of cooking. Rarely repeated lunches, guilty as charged. Beyond that, I try not to share my profound love of beans with just anyone.  I don’t want to be perceived as preachy once I start talking about my food choices (no meat, dairy, fish, refined flours, refined sugars, white rice and potatoes, etc). You know you are my friend when I discuss the virtues of lentils over chickpeas. Although walking into my kitchen, with its rows of dried beans are a quick giveaway. If you make it up into my study, then my collection of cookbooks is a dead giveaway that I love to cook.

I have a lot of cookbooks. A lot. Recently, I won a subscription to Eat Your Books, a website that indexes cookbook recipes for easier searching. Sadly, my most loved cookbooks (namely my vegan faves) have not yet been indexed (the scourge of Tess’ cookbooks being not-so-mainstream). However, this allows me to check out some of my other cookbooks, that I would not have pulled off the shelf simply because they are not vegan. The best recipes are those that are accidentally vegan. They aren’t trying to be something meaty.

I recently made a delicious celeriac and white bean puree from Terry’s new cookbook. I know her cookbook will get lambasted for using the most isoteric ingredients, but I love it because my kitchen is stocked with all things isoteric and I have bought even more pantry items! I also push myself to try new vegetables. Despite hating celery, I scoped out celeriac, also known as celery root. Sunny’s for the win, after the St Lawrence Market was out that week. And yes, it is now my newest favourite root vegetable. An underdog if you ever looked at it; it is a white/grey/dirty thing all gnarled up in roots. But as a non-starchy vegetable root (not part of the cruciferous gang, sadly), it tastes like a cross between a potato and has the nice parts of celery: a sweet, yet subtle earthy celery taste. It tastes a bit nutty with hints of lemon, too.

So, when I was left with half a celeriac, I turned to Eat Your Books. I found an intriguing celeriac schnitzel in my German cookbook (here‘s Bittman’s version), lots of mashes, a lot of soups, some slaws and salads. I will have to get more celeriac to try all the recipes! However, this time I was drawn to a vegan-friendly lentil salad with celeriac from Ottlenghi’s Plenty (similar recipe here).

Of course, I adapted the recipe. Instead of boiling the celeriac, I opted to roast it. I also decreased the dressing, making it less oily and I tried to play up the hazelnut flavour by pairing the hazelnut oil with a mild rice vinegar (it would be interesting to try this with a balsamic, me thinks). However, the majority of the hazelnut taste came from the roasted hazelnuts, instead. I liked the juxtaposition of warming hazelnut with the roasted celeriac, earthy lentils and bright mint. It is a nice, unassuming salad and a great way to introduce someone to celeriac.

This is being submitted to this month’s Monthly Mingle featuring Heart Healthy Meals.

Roasted Celeriac and Lentils with Hazelnuts and Mint

1/3 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted, peeled and coarsely chopped (or leave them whole which is what I preferred)
1 cup Puy lentils, rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth or water
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large celeriac (1.5 lbs), peeled and cut into 1-cm cubes
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp hazelnut oil or your oil of choice
2 tbsp rice vinegar or your vinegar of choice
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the diced celeriac on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil and a little salt and roast until tender, approximately 20 minutes. When done, set aside to cool.

2. Put the lentils, broth/water, bay leaves and thyme sprigs in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but not falling apart. Drain in a sieve. Remove and discard the bay leaves and the woody sprigs.

3. In a large bowl, mix the hot lentils (make sure they don’t cool down – lentils soak up flavours much better when they’re piping hot) with the remainder of the oil, vinegar, a few grinds of black pepper and plenty of salt (at least 1/2 tsp). Add the celeriac, stir, taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

4. If you’re serving this straight away, stir in half the mint and the hazelnuts, then pile in a big heap on to a suitable serving dish. Drizzle the remaining hazelnut oil over the top, then garnish with the rest of the mint and nuts.  If you’re planning on serving it cold, wait for the lentil and celeriac mixture to cool down, taste again, then make a final adjustment to the seasoning. Add the rest of the hazelnut oil, the mint and the nuts just as you do when serving it hot.

Serves 4.

  1. Lots of my favorite things in one bowl! Love it.

  2. That just looks wonderful. You can never have too many beans in my perspective. Always a good read from your posts and great information.

  3. How do you think this would be with sprouted lentils? I’d love to try this, but I’d have to use sprouted lentils.

  4. This looks so very very good – and it combines so many of my favorite flavours. I like the idea of using balsamic vinegar…

  5. We need more wonderful celeriac recipes in this world. Thank you!

  6. Mmm, I love the idea of roasted celeriac! And I share your love of arcane beans…lentils, though, have to be right up among my favorite top three. With hazelnuts and hazelnut oil, how can you go wrong?

  7. This is a crazy sounding recipe title full of things I rarely cook with! And by crazy I guess I mean that I would never have thought to put all these things together. I can’t remember if I’ve tried celeriac before but will remember to try it again soon! Celeriac schnitzel!! I want that. Too bad some of your cookbooks aren’t in eat your books. I wish that site was free! It sounds amazing.

  8. Sigh. I truly wish I loved celeriac but it tastes too much like celery for me. I bet this would be awesome with parsnips instead though! And I LOVE eat your books! It definitely forces me to cook from cookbooks that might have fallen by the wayside.

  9. Love the hazelnut mint combo!

  10. This looks incredible! I haven’t ever tried celeriac, but I have been meaning to for a while. I guess I just don’t know how to use it – but this is a great start!

    I don’t have very many vegan cookbooks. Three, maybe four, and I hardly flip through them very often. I really would like to make a meal from one of them eventually, though. I get overwhelmed going through cookbooks because I want to make absolutely everything.

  11. […] I added in even more veggies than the original recipe, substituting a few ingredients as well (celeriac, baby!), I didn’t tire of this soup.  I usually shun recipes that feed 8 people, but not […]

  12. […] thought roasted celeriac, lentils, hazelnuts and mint were an odd combination for a salad… a delicious salad, at that… what about this […]

  13. Thank you for participating in the Monthly Mingle. Sorry about the oops. I decided to look at the rest of your blog, bad idea. I am now sitting at work with a packet of hazelnuts and a bottle of water wishing for my kitchen. Wow. I have seen good looking vegan and raw food but nothing as beautiful as yours and no where near as approachable. Thank you

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  15. […] for this Turkish red pepper, chickpea and cilantro soup came from Classical Turkish Cooking. I bookmarked it while searching for ideas with celeriac. I really liked how fresh and vibrant this soup was without […]

  16. This looks sooooo good!!

  17. […] year, two of my culinary discoveries was my love of fennel and kabocha squash (celeriac, too). Not a fan of licorice, but I appreciate a subtle anise flavour from cooked […]

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