Celeriac puree is a refreshing and light alternative to traditional mashed potatoes. Made with whole milk and butter, this deceptively simple recipe is ready in 30 minutes. This versatile side dish pairs well with a variety of dishes from grilled scallops to your Christmas ham.
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Celeriac is a delightful low-carb alternative to potatoes. This side dish has the texture of silky mashed root vegetables with a mild celery flavor. I recently paired it with my gluten-free chicken piccata and it was a match made in heaven!
📖Why This Recipe Works
Most recipes cook the celeriac in water or chicken broth. Then they mix in heavy cream or sour cream. I find celery root pureed after being cooked in water to be too runny.
Instead, I cook the celeriac in whole milk until fork tender. Saving back some of the liquid I puree until smooth adding butter and a bit of the cooking liquid.
Not only is this cooking technique easier but it makes the perfect creamy dish.
This recipe is gluten-free and vegetarian.
This recipe requires 2 to 3 bulbs of fresh celeriac. Celeriac can be on the pricey side of fresh vegetables. If you are on a tighter budget, consider swapping out one cleric bulb for a large russet potato.
As the star of our show, let's get to know this root vegetable a bit more.
What is celeriac?
Celeriac, also called celery root, is a root vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked.
Despite the name, celeriac is not the root of the celery plant. Although the same species of plants. One is cultivated for the root, the other for the items and leaves.
Unlike other root veggies, celeriac is lower in starches making it a great alternative to potatoes for those who are carb-counting.
How do you select celeriac?
Celeriac is available year-round but will be at its peak during the coldest months. It can be found at most large grocery stores and farmer's markets. All celeriac is knobby and gnarly. It is a good thing.
The ideal size is in the 4 to 5-inch range. Too small and it was likely picked for the flavor developed, too large it may be dry and tough. Avoid any bulbs that are soft and mushy.
Celeriac is most often sold without its leaves. If you are lucky enough to find them intact be sure they look fresh.
For the recipe you will also need:
Milk- Use whole milk, not fat-free or skim milk.
Butter- I always use unsalted butter in my recipes. If you use salted butter, be cautious when adding additional salt. Start with half the salt and add more as needed at the end.
Fresh Garlic- You can also substitute oven-roasted garlic for a richer flavor.
Nutmeg- Nutmeg has a slightly peppery flavor despite being most often associated with baking. I adore nutmeg in just about any cream or egg-based dish.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make Celeriac Puree
Like my favorite roasted butternut squash recipe, peeling the vegetable is the only moderately challenging part of the recipe. And to be honest, after you do it once it is super easy.
Step 1- Prep the Celeriac
Wash the celeriac well. First, chop off the top stem. The top half of the root bulb is easy to peel with a vegetable peeler.
The knobby bottom part is easier to do with a paring knife. Trim off all the excess pieces. Then carve out any knobs. Clean up with your vegetable peeler. Give the bulb a final rinse to remove any remaining dirt.
Cut into 1-inch slices and then cube.
Note: If you are using any potatoes in this recipe they need to be peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks.
Step 2- Simmer
Add the celeriac cubes to a large pot along with 2 cloves of peeled garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover with whole milk. This may be more or less than the recipe calls for depending on how much celeriac you have.
Simmer over medium heat until the celeriac is fork tender. This should take about 20 minutes.
Do not boil the milk. Boiling the milk will cause it to curdle.
Step 3- Puree
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the celeriac AND the garlic to a blender. Do not throw out the cooking liquid we are going to use it.
Add the butter, nutmeg, and ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Using room temperature butter will keep the puree warmer but isn't required.
Blend on high until smooth. Add more cooking liquid as needed. I typically use between ⅓ cup and a ½ cup total but like to add slowly to ensure my puree isn't runny.
Season to taste for salt and pepper. Pour the puree into a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh nutmeg and chives.
🥗What to Serve with Celeriac Puree
Pair with your favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe or serve with roasted pork and apples. I truly cannot emphasize how easy this simple dish is to pair with just about anything.
I love it with roasted rainbow carrots, garlic greens beans, or a shaved brussels sprout salad.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
If your celeriac came with the leaves intact remove the stems and leaves before storing. Use in place of celery in recipes, like our dairy-free celery soup or our turkey kale soup.
I highly recommend a high-speed blender over a manual masher or other equipment.
I use a Vitamix A2500 Ascent Series blender. It is a mid-price Vitamix, but I think it is perfect for what I need as a home cook.
Admittedly Vitamix blenders are more expensive, and for good reason. However, if that is not in your budget I recommend this entry-level Breville blender. We had one for years, but it did eventually break. But I was using it DAILY for 3 years.
You can also use a food processor or an immersion blender. The stick blender style definitely left a mashed texture vs a smooth puree.
Store the celeriac bulbs in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. They will last 1 to 3 weeks in the fridge. Unlike many other root vegetables, they can't be stored at room temperature.
Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers will last for 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
More Cozy Side Dish Recipes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
The difference between a classic puree and a root vegetable mash is the texture. Mashed celeriac will be done by hand or with a hand mixer resulting in a chunkier mixture. A puree is made in a blender with cream and butter resulting in a smooth but thick puree.
If you added back too much milk to the puree may be runny. No worries! Add to a saucepan and simmer over low heat until some of the liquid has evaporated.
No worries, we can fix this. Simply skim as many of the chunky milk pieces off as you can off. Move the celeriac chunks to the blender (give them a rinse with water if needed). Strain the milk and proceed with the recipe.
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- 2 pounds celeriac (celery root)
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- fresh chives optional (for garnish)
- Peel the celeriac and cut into 1-inch cubes. Put the chunks into a large saucepan. Add the garlic, salt and pepper.2 pounds celeriac, 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Cover with the milk and bring the milk to a simmer (not a boil) over a medium heat and cook the celeriac for 20 to 25 minutes until it's tender.3 cups whole milk
- Remove from the heat, and with a slotted spoon, place all the celeriac and garlic in a blender. Reserve the cooking liquid.
- Add the butter, nutmeg, and ¼ cup of the reserved liquid. Gradually increase the speed of the blender. Puree until smooth. Add more of the cooking liquid as needed.4 tablespoons unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with an extra swirl of melted butter and fresh chives.fresh chives
- 2 pounds of celery root is approximately 2 to 3 bulbs, 5 inches in diameter.
- You can substitute one large russet potato for one bulb of celeriac.
- The amount of milk is approximate, use enough to just cover the celeriac cubes.
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