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In The Kitchen With a Functional Medicine Nutritionist: Creamy Celeriac Soup - Blog Image

In The Kitchen With a Functional Medicine Nutritionist: Creamy Celeriac Soup

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2011-02-01


As a Functional Medicine Nutritionist, a common question I hear is whether the health benefits of ingredients inform my meal prep and cooking. When making a mushroom soup, am I focused on the medicinal and detoxifying properties of the fungi? Are the chopped onions on my cutting board consumed for their antioxidant attributes? Do I include flax seeds in my smoothie because they have potent anti-inflammatory benefits? The answer: yes, and no.

When I prepare food, I do so for flavor. The yum factor is key in taking food from prescription to consumption. I’m as likely as you are not to eat the food I don’t favor, no matter how good it is for me. So I’ve learned to turn these good-for-me foods into dishes that I know I’ll want to eat. And overtime, the worth of the food is complex – there’s how it tastes, how it looks on the plate, the energetics of how and where it was grown, and the nutritional properties it will add to my daily intake. To me, these components all work together to highlight a food’s desirability.

Celeriac’s seasonal charm

In my perpetual effort to include more veggies in my diet, I was excited to embrace the celery root this season. Frankly, I’ve always been a bit frightened by the hairy and contorted-looking root. Yet I was delighted by both its taste and how symbiotic its health benefits are with my intentions this time of year. It’s not surprising, when you eat with the season you support the body at its core, healing in sync with nature’s rhythms. 

Like celery, celeriac, bred specifically to eat the root, is a relative to parsley. When I look at celeriac I can see both roots and shoots. I can see the buried and grounded tentacles that stretch into the earth to drink from its wealth of resources as well as the sprigs of leaves that reach toward the promise of the sky. The days are finally getting longer. We are moving from the darkness of winter. And in celeriac I see this transition. I’m reminded not to rush the season, but to stay rooted and stable, and to allow the new life of spring to come from that foundation.

Creamy Celeriac Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 small red onions

  • 3 leeks

  • 3 tbsp ghee or butter

  • 1 garnet yam

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 1/2 head celeriac

  • 4 cups broth (I prefer bone or mushroom broth)

  • 1-1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt

  • fresh black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Peel and chop the onion. Set aside. 

  2. Halve the white part of the leeks and cut into half moon slices.

  3. Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and leek and allow to sweat for a minute or two. Be sure they don’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. 

  4. Add the ghee, stir, and cover the pot. Allow to cook gently over a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

  5. Peel and cube the potato. 

  6. Halve the cauliflower and break into florets. 

  7. Peel the celeriac and chop into cubes. 

  8. Add the yam, cauliflower, and celeriac to the pot with the onions and leeks. Stir to coat with ghee.

  9. Add the stock and one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

  10. Add the coconut milk, stir, and let sit to cool for 15 minutes.

  11. Blend half the soup and return it to the pot with the unblended portion. Reheat. Add more sea salt to taste. Serve!

How to choose your celeriac

When buying celeriac, look for the smaller bulbs, which will have a less bitter and more refreshing taste. You’ll want them to be firm. At home, celeriac can be stored in your refrigerator in a plastic bag for several weeks. Peel away the skin and grit prior to use. As Farmer John Peterson, author of the classic Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetablessays: “Celeriac is a vegetable that cleans up well”.

Much like an apple, the clean inner white flesh of the vegetable will turn brown quickly once exposed to air. Peel the skin as close to use as possible. You can also submerge your peeled celeriac in lemon water if you’re not going to use it right away.

The health benefits of celeriac

Celeriac has a nice roundup of nutrients if you care to view your food through this lens! Its health properties include:

Plenty of water-soluble fiber: As a reminder, water-soluble fiber helps to form a bulky gel in the intestine, which regulates the flow of waste through the digestive tract. It’s been known to stabilize blood sugar and balance cholesterol levels.Diuretic properties: This makes celeriac especially helpful in supporting the detoxification potential of the kidneys.Minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium: Celeriac contains several of the B vitamins, as well as vitamin C. It also contains beta-carotene. 

More Functional Medicine Nutritionist-approved ways to use celeriac

  • Mashed celeriac is a low glycemic version of a traditional comfort food – potatoes. You can mash it alone or mix it with potatoes.

  • Peeled and cut into matchsticks or shredded for a raw salad, celeriac is somewhat similar to jicama but less crisp. In this way it pairs nicely with beets, apples or carrots.

  • Blended into soups or stews as you’ll experience with this recipe!

  • Blended with mayonnaise, mustard, lemon and salt to create the classic French dish, Remoulade.

  • Substitute celeriac for celery in any recipe during the winter months.

  • Sliced and combined with other root vegetables for a warming winter gratin.

  • Cut into fries and baked with coconut oil and sea salt.

  • Paired with most herbs, nuts like walnuts and hazelnuts, and cheeses that have a nice bite (like Gruyere).


References: 

Knez E, Kadac-Czapska K, Dmochowska-Ślęzak K, Grembecka M. Root Vegetables-Composition, Health Effects, and Contaminants. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(23):15531. Published 2022 Nov 23. doi:10.3390/ijerph192315531

Bruznican S, De Clercq H, Eeckhaut T, Van Huylenbroeck J, Geelen D. Celery and Celeriac: A Critical View on Present and Future Breeding. Front Plant Sci. 2020;10:1699. Published 2020 Jan 22. doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01699

Nićetin M, Pezo L, Pergal M, et al. Celery Root Phenols Content, Antioxidant Capacities and Their Correlations after Osmotic Dehydration in Molasses. Foods. 2022;11(13):1945. Published 2022 Jun 30. doi:10.3390/foods11131945


Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.

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