Celeriac and apple salad with watercress and Meyer lemon-shallot vinaigrette

Celeriac and apple salad with watercress and Meyer lemon-shallot vinaigrette

Celeriac (also called celery root or knob celery) might be one of the ugliest-looking veggies you’ll ever lay your eyes on. A plant species in the family of common celery, celeriac is grown for its bulb rather than its stems, which are stringy and unpalatable.

But beneath that scabby skin and those gnarly roots, celeriac hides an exquisitely perfumed white flesh. And although the root’s aroma is very pronounced, its flavor turns out to be quite delicate. Combined with the fragrant, sweet apples, the ambrosial Meyer lemon vinaigrette and the spunky watercress, today’s salad wakes up the taste buds, and makes you (almost) forget that it’s midwinter.

Here’s to an ugly veggie that hides all its treasures in its foot!

Food & wine pairing: Marche, Verdicchio with celeriac and apple salad

White wine iconA light- to medium-bodied white wine with good acidity and lemony notes is de rigueur here. I recommend a Verdicchio from Marche or a Vermentino from Sardegna. Both these Italian wines have a juicy acidity and bright flavors that complement this salad splendidly.

Celeriac - Celery root

Celeriac and apple salad with watercress and Meyer lemon-shallot vinaigrette

serves 4
active time: 30 min

For the vinaigrette

  1. 1/2 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemon zest) (use a microplane grater)
  2. 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice (or 1 1/2 tablespoons regular lemon juice)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon honey
  4. 1/2 shallot – skinned and finely chopped
  5. 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
  6. 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  8. freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad

  1. 1/2 medium celeriac bulb (6 oz) (170gr) – peeled
  2. 2 Gala or other firm-fleshed apples – unpeeled, halved and cored
  3. 2 bunches hydroponic watercress – stalks trimmed
  4. 1/4 cup pine nuts – toasted (see cook’s note)
  5. dill leaves as garnish
  6. freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Step 1: To make the vinaigrette – Place the zest, lemon juice, honey, shallot, dill, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
  2. Step 2: Using a mandoline, cut the celeriac in julienne slices, matchstick size (you should end up with 2 cups of celeriac slices). Place in a large bowl. Slice the apples in julienne slices also. Add them to the celeriac slices. Drizzle with half the vinaigrette and toss well.
  3. Step 3: Place a small mound of the watercress leaves in the center of each plate. Top with the celeriac/apple mixture. Drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette, garnish with the pine nuts and a dill leaf. Finish with ground pepper to taste and serve immediately.
  4. Cook’s note: To toast the pine nuts – Place the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly golden.

Viviane’s tips
  1. Although this vinaigrette is perfectly wonderful with regular lemons, it becomes exquisite when made with Meyer lemons. Their intensely floral aroma makes these exotic lemons a treasured fruit – it’s well worth going the extra mile to find them. The season lasts from December through May, so there’s plenty of time to indulge!
  2. Celeriac becomes incredibly silky smooth when cooked, but eaten raw, it can be a bit dense. So make sure to julienne the root: it makes the salad delightfully crunchy without being tough.

Celeriac and apple salad with watercress and Meyer lemon-shallot vinaigrette

salad, celeriac, apples, Meyer lemons


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  2. I made this salad last night. 14 year old approved fantastic “off the beaten path” salad!
    Take a look at my picture :

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Masha! I am so glad you (and your son!) enjoyed this salad. Celeriac is a vegetable most people overlook… I’ve got to make more recipes with it. Love your photo too!

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  5. I’ll look for it at the grocery store. I’d love to give it a try! I think it’s kind of cute! 🙂

  6. I wish I had picked up one celeriac this morning…the salad looks really fresh and appetizing.

  7. Pingback: Celeriac soup with crispy lemon zest and lemon-infused oil — food & style

  8. I love celeriac, and eating it with apples is one of my favorite ways. Your recipe looks and sounds mouthwatering. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I am a big fan of all the flavors in this salad. I also love the picture of the ugly little celeriac. You can never judge a book by its cover 🙂

  10. What wine would you suggest for this salad?

    • Hi Judy, I’d recommend a dry white wine with citrus notes, herbal elements and good minerality: a Sauvignon blanc from a cool climate (think NZ or Sancerre) would fit the bill, but if you want to be a bit more adventurous, try a Vermentino from Sardegna or Italy, a Godello from northern Spain or an Assyrtiko from Santorini. Cheers!

  11. Thank you everyone for your great comments… I am so glad to see that this ugly-yet-tasty veggie has some fans!

  12. Would like to print your Celeriac and apple salad

    • Hi Sandra, To print the recipe click on the red onion icon to the right of the title… If you do not see the red onion icon, then try using a different browser (Firefox, Safari, Chrome…). Thank you for stopping by!

  13. Wonderful salad and I really love the sound of the vinaigrette. Congrat on the Top 9. NIce to meet you.

  14. this sounds like I fab winter salad. I am definitely trying it out.

  15. Viviane this is absolutely stunning and perfect for the month of January when we could all afford to eat a little lighter! I really think I need to get myself a mandoline as this is the second “shaved” salad I have seen in as many days. Gorgeous and delicious! Also, I am a HUGE fan of celeriac (céleri remoulade is one of my favourite “fast foods” from when I used to live in France!)

  16. What an excellent combination for a salad! Congrats for the Top 9 of Foodbuzz. Well done!

  17. Boy, that IS an ugly veggie. I love your description of it though, I clearly need to give it a try 🙂


  18. I have never made a salad with celery root. This looks great. I love to try something new and I think this will be one I give a whirl. Thanks!

  19. What a wonderful salad Viviane. I discovered celeriac about 15 years back when no one bought it.I think it is a perfect delicate gem. Great salad all together.

  20. Celery root is really ugly, isn’t it, but it makes such fabulous salads! Beautifully plated and I love lemon-shallot vinaigrettes.

  21. This looks so good. I love your vinaigrette.

  22. Celery root and apple are the ingredients in all my favorite German salads 🙂 This looks beautiful and all around refreshing and elegant, Lovey recipe!

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