appetizer, Brunch, Food, Recipes, Salad, Vegetables

Sweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style

Sweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit PensoCeleriac is mostly known as a root used to flavor stocks or soups. However, it is a wonderful ingredient on its own right, and an amazing alternative to potato. It can be eaten raw, pickled, shredded to a tasty salad, or cooked in various ways.The recipe here is once again from the fabulous Sephardic cuisine. (To learn more about it, check out the introduction to THIS POST). The dish is part of every Sephardic household for generations, and is served on its own as a tasty appetizer course, as side dish, or as a salad.
As with most dishes in Sephardic cooking, the idea is to let the main ingredient shine and not mask it with too many other ingredients. The dish is cooked gently, letting the celeriac absorb the flavors of the lemon, salt, sugar and olive oil, and at the same time develop its distinctive yet subtle celery flavor.
Cooking the celeriac in one layer, without stirring, is the key to the beautiful transformation of color from opaque-white to translucent, and to keeping the pieces’ shape.
The dish is at its best the day after cooking, so make sure to prepare it ahead of time. Once you’ll prepare it, you’d be amazed by the silky-smooth texture and delicate flavor that such a simple preparation can produce. Patience is the key here, and I’m sure you’ll find the dish is well worth it.

Note: when buying celeriac root, make sure to choose a plump and heavy one. The small roots are not suitable for this dish.

Makes: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
Chilling time: overnight

1 large, plump and heavy celeriac
1 medium carrot
1½ cups water + more if needed
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs salt
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1. Cut the celeriac into four wedges and peel them. Wash with plenty of water and cut each quarter into thick slices (0.4”, 1cm). Peel and cut the carrot to the same thickness.
Sweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit PensoSweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit PensoSweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit PensoSweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit Penso
2. In a wide pot, add the water, lemon juice, sugar and salt, and mix to dissolve. Add the celeriac slices, in one layer, and place the carrot slices on top. Add more water, if needed, so that the water will slightly cover the celeriac. Pour the olive oil on top.
Sweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit PensoSweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit Penso
3. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil on medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes. Uncover the pot and keep cooking for 10-15 minutes, until the celeriac is translucent and the sauce reduces and thickens a bit.
Sweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit PensoSweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit Penso
4. Bring to room temperature. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. Serve the next day, at room temperature.
Sweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style Ronit Penso

38 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Celeriac Sephardic Style”

  1. Ronit this recipe is great. My grandma used to cook this vegetable with the chicken soup, my mom does the same- my dad usually eats it on the spot, and then the soup, which by the way requires a few hours of really slow cooking. I think celeriac is a bit unappreciated, sadly, because it’s so healthy and so good for us. You should get a medal for bringing to light a recipe like this one 😀 have a nice week.


    1. Thank you Marta! 🙂
      I too think celeriac is not appreciated enough. I guess people who never tried it are a bit afraid of how it looks…
      I love such old fashioned recipes. They usually require more patience and take longer to prepare, like the soup you’ve mentioned, but the result is always so very rewarding. It’s definitely worth it. 🙂


      1. Imagine sometimes I call my mom on Sunday and she says listen I have to go because I have the chicken soup on the stove!! She starts early in the morning around 6 a.m. so the soup would be ready for 12 😀 I know from my experience, and also since I started using the cast iron, that food cooked this way has a different and much better taste. So you’re right about 🙂 have a nice day


  2. Haeeem ze kolorabi?

    Shirley Loval
    Supply Department
    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Tel. 972-2-6586067 Fax. 972-2-5635767

    שירלי לובל
    מחלקת הספקה
    האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים
    טל. 02-6586067 פקס’ 02-5635767


  3. What a fabulous recipe. I love its long tradition and the “be patient” angle. I do like celeriac in spite of its unusual taste, which grows on you. I like this recipe so much I’m going to make an exception and use the sugar you specify in the recipe. My usual Stevia wouldn’t be quite the same 🙂 .


    1. Thank you! I’m glad to hear. 🙂
      I agree – Stevia, with its’ somewhat bitter aftertaste, is not suitable for this dish. The sugar enhances the natural sweetness of the celeriac, and it’s really not that much sugar on the whole. It’s worth it… 🙂


  4. I’m going to have to look for celeriac the next time I go shopping. This dish sounds wonderful. I like how it is easy to make and how it lets the main ingredient shine. Thanks for reminding me of this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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