Celery Root – Apple Soup + Gorgonzola

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Comforting soup made from celery root, applesauce, and leek confit, topped with gorgonzola crumbles.

Celery Root soup with leek confit topped with gorgonzola and celery leaves

It’s arguably one of the least attractive vegetables on the shelf; an overweight wallflower with dirt under her fingernails, tucked between popular colorful produce. No graceful long legs of celery stalks to make her stand out, although she’s in the celery family; nor colorful flowing mane of leaves like that donned by the nearby flames of beets. Instead, celery root has a bulbous misshapen root body with chopped off Medusa-like fat roots curled up into the root ball; a sad disarray of stalks, sometimes springing from her crown, if not shorn into a crew cut.

celery root

For some reason, seeing neat stacks of celery root lined up with other produce on the grocery shelf, straggly stalks limply drooping over dirt encrusted roots, I’m reminded of the awkward Junior High School dances of my youth, a rite of passage for so many of us.

Boys lined up against one wall, as if to support it in case it were to fall, while mustering up the courage to walk across the open expanse of the gymnasium floor to ask a girl to dance, knowing that any rejection would be public. On the other side of the gym, girls staking out their own wall, clustered in small nervously excited, chattering groups, separated into cliques that somehow formed in the first month of Junior High. Girls who had spent days discussing with their best friends what they would wear, followed by hours of experimenting with new hair styles, trying to look cute while watching the boys out of the corner of our eyes.

If you should ask a celery root to dance with you, I can tell you she whispers a distinctive flavor – as if she were the child of celery and parsley, a little of both flavors coming through. Cradle her in your hand to carve away the knobby, deeply fissured surface, and a smooth white form is unveiled that can be molded to your mood. Cut the root into matchsticks and eat raw in salads, or fry them up like a French fry. Boil the root and substitute for potatoes, or mix into your favorite mashed potatoes to reduce the glycemic load.

For today, I chose to cube it up to simmer for a puréed soup, brightened with a little applesauce, and topped with gorgonzola crumbles and chopped celery leaves. A comforting, quiet lunch to share on a day threatening snow.

A Few Nutrition Notes:

Unlike other root vegetables, celery root isn’t particularly starchy, and is considered a low-carb vegetable.

A number of vitamins and minerals are present in celery root, most notably vitamin C, which is great for building a healthy immune system, and potassium. It’s also high in dietary fiber.

 A Few Cooking Notes:

The best way to carve away the exterior is to just grip the knife and plunge in by first cutting off the crown with the stalks, and then the bottom of the root. With a paring knife, carve away the sides. You’ll notice threads of what looks to be dirt and root hairs. Carefully carve them away by notching into the root around them.

Celery Root – Apple Soup with Gorgonzola

     by Susan Pridmore

     Serves 4

       Prep Time: 20 minutes

       Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium celery roots, peeled, chopped into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups or a little more)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped celery stalks, reserving some leaves for garnishing
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons leek confit
  • 1 4 ounce container apple sauce (or 1 1/2 apples cooked down)
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoon créme fråiche
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
  • 3 little squirts sriracha (optional)
  • Gorgonzola crumbled (for garnish)
  • Chopped celery leaves (for garnish)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (for garnish)


Bring the water or vegetable broth and salt to a boil over high heat in a medium-large pot. Add the cubed celery root and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, retaining 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil and add the chopped celery and onion. Place a lid on the pot and simmer until very soft, about 15 minutes.

Stir the leek confit. Add the celery root and reserved cooking liquid, and apple sauce, and stir.

Purée using either a submersible blender or food processor.

Rewarm the soup and stir in the milk and créme fråiche. Add salt and pepper to taste, and (if using) a few little squirts of Sriracha for some heat.

Ladle warm into soup bowls and top with a crumble of gorgonzola and chopped celery leaves.

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  1. says

    I won’t argue with you about the less than attractive celery root, and I love the analogy about the high school dances, it is funny but I can see that. I do enjoy it when I muster up the courage to buy one and strip if of its skin which is quite a workout. I made your leek confit (btw, I neglected to let you know how fabulous it is, sorry) it will be delicious in this soup. I used it on a chicken dish and it was marvelous!! Very nice soup.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Super Sized Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  2. Rebecca says

    My daughter’s French chef boyfriend uses celery root in his Boeuf Bourguignon instead of potatoes. Delicious!

    Can’t wait to try this — and yes, the leek confit is a new fave here. :)

  3. mr. Lasse says

    Stumbled by, looking for recipes on the Net.

    Very inspiring soup. I have a few tips to add if anyone cares?

    Im in Denmark and celery root is used just as much as the stalks here in traditional Scandinavian cooking. Especially during the winter months we are experiencing now. Why? Its not the looks, as you explained so well (lol). No. Because it can be stored for weeks (if not a whole month+) in a cold root-cellar or similar environment. Because its a hearty vegetable with lots of flavour that tends to induce strength in the winter. Because it so versatile. Because it taste great! Making a soup is a very good idea, but it can be used in numerous ways. Raw in salads (as you mentioned too), but I like to shred it instead and mix it up in homemade mayo. You can sauté it with other hearty vegs like carrots and potatoes, etc. Or put the whole root in the oven, if you dont care to peel it. When its tender, cut of the top and spoon it out! It might sound a bit brutal, but thats the whole charm of it. very rustic. Season with salt, pepper and some herb-butter, etc. I can see your a vegetarian, but velery root goes extremely well with venison, especially duck-meat :-) (Im not trying to convert you). Ok enough info for one comment. Bye bye.

  4. mr. Lasse says

    Oh btw! A vegetarian must-have recipe for celery root… Clean it and then cut it in1 cm slices. Fry them and use them like a kind of “vegetarians steak”. Use batter and seasoning if you like. Let your imagination roll. Try it with home-made guacamole and some bread for a nice lunch par example…

  5. says

    I remember those dances. :) I have never cooked with celery root and not sure if I’ve even eaten it. I’ve always found it a very interesting looking vegetable and quite curious about it. Lots of interesting ingredients in this soup besides for the celery root. Love the addition of the leek confit and applesauce! A great looking soup!
    mjskit recently posted..Swiss Chard Leek QuicheMy Profile

  6. says

    Celery root is definitely a case of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and the flavor is tops in soup. It’s also good grated up as a slaw. Thanks for reminding me to pick some up during its season. I like the idea of the applesauce in the soup. Adding pears or apples is something that I think of, but not applesauce, even though that’s basically what the apples that you add turn into. Light bulb moment!
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Butternut Squash Pecan Gratin with Vegan Goat CheeseMy Profile

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