Serve celery root and apple slaw with a sandwich at lunch or roast chicken for dinner. (Photo for The Washington Post by Deb Lindsey)

Serve celery root and apple slaw with a sandwich at lunch or roast chicken for dinner. (Photo for The Washington Post by Deb Lindsey)

Celery root deserves the star treatment in your fall cooking

Its gnarly appearance makes it seem tough and unapproachable, but it is actually tender and lovable.

Celery root is like the Shrek of the food world. Its gnarly appearance makes it seem tough and unapproachable, but it is actually tender and lovable once you get to know it.

Also called celeriac, it comes from a variety of the celery plant that has been cultivated for its root rather than its stem. Its creamy-white flesh has a mild celery flavor and aroma, and it has solid nutritional credentials: It is rich in potassium, fiber and vitamin C, with a significant amount of calcium, iron and magnesium.

To prep it, you trim the knobby brown roots and any dark, pocked parts, then peel the rest. It can be cooked like you might a turnip, cut into chunks and simmered in stews and soups, or roasted, and it becomes especially creamy when cooked and pureed.

It’s also good to eat raw in salads like this one, where its crunchy-ish texture and earthiness are matched with sweet-tart apple. Both are cut into matchsticks then coated in a decadently creamy dressing that has a mustardy kick. But instead of being mayonnaise-heavy like many slaw dressings, in this recipe yogurt does much of the lifting in the creamy department, with just a bit of mayo for richness.

With flecks of fresh parsley, it’s a simple, autumnal slaw that pairs as well with a sandwich at lunch as it does with a roast chicken dinner, and it brings a vegetable to the table you’ll be glad to have invited.

Celery root apple slaw

1 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks (about 2½ cups totals)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 medium-size tart firm apple (unpeeled), cored and cut into thin matchsticks (about ¾ cups)

⅓ cup plain, full-fat yogurt

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Combine the celery root and vinegar in a mixing bowl, tossing to coat. Add the apple and toss to incorporate.

Whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper in separate bowl or cup, to form a smooth dressing, then pour it over the apple mixture. Toss to coat evenly, then add the parsley and toss gently to distribute.

Make ahead: The slaw can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Makes 4 servings. Nutrition per serving: 160 calories, 2 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 280 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 8 grams sugar.

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