(Vegan) Stuffed Celery Root, Set it and Forget it! (Well, set a timer and THEN forget it.)
It’s roasting season, time for weekends spent inside a toasty house as grey envelopes the outside world. For us apartment dwellers, a fireplace is an unattainable ornament of winter. Instead, we can create our own hearth replacement: the oven!
The easy prep for these stuffed celery roots only takes 5 minutes. Then pop them in the oven, grab a seat on the couch and flip on the game or your current binge-watch. The massive bulbs take around 2 hours to roast. So, as long as you set a timer they’re a kind of “set it and forget it” recipe.
Tangy Za’atar covered chickpeas, grassy parsley, and nutty quinoa compliment the under-rated celery root! Toss in a bit of salty feta if you are Vegan-ish, and you’ll brighten up these grey days easier than you think!
An Ugly Root with a Beautiful Flavor
Celery root, or celeriac, is an undervalued hearty veggie. Once cooked the bulbs aren’t starchy or mealy like potatoes, but creamy and considerably more flavorful. They have an aromatic flavor similar to an artichoke without as much sweetness. It’s tough to explain how they taste. You just have to try them!
No Meat, No problem
Although meatless, this recipe’s filling serves up a substantial “one-two punch“ of protein. Nutty quinoa cooked in vegetable broth and fiber-packed chickpeas load in the protein. They’ll make you feel full and satiated. As meat replacements, they cost considerably less that chicken or beef, and should be routine pantry staples in every home.
I prepare and eat a lot of vegan food in my home. But, I can only characterize myself as Vegan-ish. I embrace the healthy volume of vegetables and plant-based proteins found in most vegan dishes. I likewise appreciate the benefit to Mother Earth when we reduce our demand for meat. The less we want, the fewer livestock raised, reducing environmental issues and animal abuse. But I can be honest and say I cannot give up meat and dairy entirely. I believe if we each do our part in cutting out even 50% of animal-based ingredients we eat, we can make significant changes in the condition of our planet.
Having said that, a Vegan-ish option for these stuffed celeriac is to fold some feta cheese into your filling. Little by little we make a difference by what we choose to eat. But if you like Feta Cheese, eat Feta Cheese. Find the balance between health, environmental responsibility, and enjoyment of your food!
What is Za’atar?
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made with a base of Sumac, a dried berry ground into a fine powder. I regularly ate the spice during my college days in San Francisco. Restaurants of varied nationalities from Lebanese, Syrian, and Israeli, incorporated Sumac into most of their recipes. It’s not solely used as a lemony flavoring, but as a beautiful burgundy-purple garnish atop pools of delicious hummus or smokey baba ganoush.
Good on a bagel with cream cheese and GREAT over avocado toast, this tangy seasoning is the “hot sauce“ of spice mixes; put it on everything. Carry it in your purse, keep it on your dinner table, and stock it in your pantry. You can easily make your own to keep in an airtight container or spice jar for many months. But, trust me the mix won’t last that long before you eat it all!
Read more and find my recipe here: My Zaatar Recipe, The “Hot Sauce“ of Spice Mixes; Put it on Everything
Wash it like its Hot!
These are root vegetables. So, by definition they grow in the ground. In the dirt in the ground to be precise. I may be stating the obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people point to a bell pepper and call it an eggplant. (Moving on as I roll my eyes…)
Since these won’t be peeled, they must be washed well. I cherish this mushroom brush my mother-in-law bought me over 10 years ago. I use it to scrub these celery roots, sweet potatoes, and of course portabella mushrooms. You can buy them everywhere from Bed Bath & Beyond, to Amazon, and Sur la table.
Make Ahead Options:
- Roast the celeriac roots ahead of time and reheat in the oven at 350°
- Make filling ahead of time and reheat prior to filling finished roots.
(Vegan) Stuffed Celery Root; A Cozy Sunday Roasting Recipe, Set it and Forget it
- 4 celery root
- Olive oil
- Coarse sea salt/kosher salt
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup veg broth
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp za’atar
- 2 tbsp Italian parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°
- Wash and scrub the roots very well. They grow in the dirt, so guess what? They’re going to be dirty! Dry off well and place on a foil lined sheet pan.
- Drizzle liberally with olive oil and brush all over. Sprinkle each with about a tsp of the coarse salt.
- Roast for for 2 hours.
- When soft, slice off the top and using a fork shred and scoop out the filling, leaving in enough to keep the “structure sound”, but to act as a bowl. Reserve the filling.
- Rinse the quinoa in cold water. In a small pot combine it with vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce to a simmer and cook 10-12 mins or until they “throw their rings” out. You’ll see what I mean. Remove heat and let sit for 5 mins.
- In a medium bowl toss the chickpeas in the 2 tsp olive oil and za’atar. (If your za’atar is salt free, add in 1/4 tsp sea salt.)
- Add in parsley, cooked quinoa, shredded filling, and optional feta cheese. Stir to combine.
- Disperse filling between the four root bowls and serve.