Celeriac may appear to be just an ugly, unpromising, root vegetable but its inner beauty is revealed when transformed into low-carb, silky-smooth, creamy, risotto. This Celerisotto With Asparagus & Lemon has recently become one of our favourite vegetarian keto meals - the perfect, what-to-eat, comfort food during a spell of indecisive early summer weather, which felt more like October than June.
Strictly speaking, I could have done with posting this recipe several weeks ago because the organic celeriac I’d been purchasing from Abel & Cole up until the beginning of June, is no longer available. Also, the short English asparagus season will soon be over. It’s good to Eat The Seasons but unfortunately this means I’ll be waiting until next September to buy the new season’s celeriac to make a different kind of celerisotto…perhaps replacing asparagus and lemon with autumnal mushrooms and whisky.
Whatever my food preferences, banging the drum about the importance of eating seasonal, organic food generally seems to fall on deaf ears. The number one reason to choose organic food is to avoid pesticide exposure. Not only do these chemicals threaten the environment, they’re also proven to pose a very clear and direct risk to human health. The cancer-causing, Glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup has been found in virtually every food commonly sold and consumed, so we should all take steps to protect ourselves from it. Even so, the vast majority of people are still unwilling, or sometimes unable, to pay the extra cost for organic food and they don’t give a second thought to the thousands of air miles it takes for asparagus to be flown-in from South America.
So, taking a pragmatic approach to the fact that conventionally grown celeriac and asparagus are available in supermarkets all year round, I’ve decided to go-ahead and feature this recipe for Celerisotto With Asparagus & Lemon sooner rather than later. At least then you don’t have to wait to enjoy the gastronomic delights of this quick and easy, supper ‘superstar’ in your quest to eat healthy and low-carb.
It came as quite a shock to us that risotto made from ‘grains’ of celeriac has all the taste and texture of traditional Italian-style risotto. Who knew? Turns out you don’t need any help from arborio or other short-grain rice to achieve that classic, creamy texture. Celeriac ‘rice’ holds its shape without turning to mush and softens down into creamy deliciousness with the help of full-fat cheese and double cream. Increasing healthy fat consumption whilst severely restricting carbohydrates is a good thing; it’s eating too many high-starch processed grains that add the padding.
In fact it’s fat that makes this dish a surprisingly satiating and totally delicious vegetarian meal. We think it’s best served with crunchy, tangy, featherlight Parmesan Crisps and lightly-dressed mixed salad leaves. However, if you want to ‘fill your boots’ and take this grain-free risotto to the next level, try topping it with a poached egg, slices of roasted chicken, a lightly cooked wild salmon fillet or some crispy shards of salty prosciutto to offset its creaminess. Yum!
All in all, an extremely versatile, easy and convincing addition to a low-carb cook’s repertoire. As with many Primal Plate keto recipes, Celerisotto With Asparagus & Lemon is another healthy, comfort food that doesn’t taste like it’s healthy. Serve it up to family and friends and they’ll think you’re a genius.
Celerisotto With Asparagus & Lemon (serves 4)
2 medium-sized celeriac, peeled, cubed and pulsed in a food processor in 3-4 second blasts for 12-15 times until it becomes like grains of rice
400g organic asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal
2 organic leeks, finely sliced
100ml organic chicken stock (I make my own chicken bone broth)
50g organic Parmesan Reggiano or vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, finely grated
4 tbsp organic double cream
Large organic lemon, zest only
Large handful of organic herbs e.g. parsley, tarragon, mint, coriander, basil, finely chopped
Parmesan crisps - optional
In a large frying or sauté pan, gently fry the leeks in the melted ghee for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured
Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus pieces for 1-3 minutes (depending on thickness) in a pan of boiling water, then immediately plunge into ice cold water to set green colour; drain and dry on kitchen paper.
Add the celeriac ‘rice’ to leeks with the chicken stock and stir-fry for about 6-8 mins until soft.
Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes more until warmed through.
Stir in the cream, cream cheese, lemon zest and chopped herbs.
Continue to cook until piping hot.
Serve immediately with Parmesan Crisps and fresh green salad leaves.
Click here for how to make Parmesan Crisps.
If you don’t have 15 minutes to make Parmesan Crisps, some organic rocket leaves lightly dressed with vinaigrette and tossed together with a spoonful of finely grated Parmesan will suffice!
Fat 20g Protein 8g Carbohydrate 18g - per serving