I love anything that tastes like celery, including celery root. The vegetable sounds like it's the root of those green stalks familiar to most people. Except it isn't. Celery root is from the celeriac plant, a relative of celery that is grown exclusively for its root. They taste similar, though celery root is a little nuttier. Both plants evolved from a wild celery native to Mediterranean marshlands.
Celery root is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus.
In this recipe for smoked-salmon salad, I've matched celery root with apples for a delicious, low-calorie, main-dish salad that will make your often-tortured bathroom scale give thanks.
Salmon is good and good for you. It's naturally tender, easy to digest and loaded with beneficial nutrients and oils.
Apples are a star here, too.
I love serving salad as a main course, or even as a full meal by itself. It can be faster to make than a regular, cooked meal, requires no accompaniment other than maybe some bread and can be prepped a day or more in advance.
Serve it up and watch it — and your waistline — disappear. Traditional versions of this salad can pack 712 calories and 37 grams of fat. But my version has just 5 grams of fat and 187 calories.
Start to finish: 25 minutes
4 ounces (1/2 cup) fat-free, plain, Greek-style yogurt
2 teaspoons tahini (sesame paste)
1 1/2 tablespoons pickled ginger, roughly chopped, plus 1 tablespoon of its liquid
Salt, to taste
2 Granny Smith apples, grated on a box grater
1 medium celery root, peeled and grated on a box grater
8 ounces cold-smoked salmon (lox), thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups watercress
In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, tahini and reserved ginger liquid. Season with the salt. Add the apples, celery root and chopped, pickled ginger. Toss gently to coat apples and celery evenly. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, divided the smoked salmon between 4 serving plates. Sprinkle salmon with the sesame seeds, then season with black pepper.
Add the watercress to apple-celery mixture and lightly toss to coat with yogurt sauce. Divide salad between serving plates, mounding it next to smoked salmon.
Rocco DiSpirito is author of the "Now Eat This!" and "Now Eat This! Diet" cookbooks.