Beauty isn’t everything and celery root is living proof. There’s nothing about its knobby, gnarled, beige appearance that would entice you to put it in your shopping cart. You’ve probably passed by it a hundred times nestled between the turnips and rutabagas, not even realizing what an amazing root vegetable you’re missing in your life.
The flavor of celery root strongly resembles celery, but there’s also something potato-like about it in both taste and texture. It’s often eaten as a salad, grated then left raw or quickly blanched and mixed with mayonnaise, lemon and mustard. This time of year we prefer to cook celery root a little longer before serving. Peeled and cut into pieces, this vegetable can be braised, boiled, baked or sautéed. If you’re tired of using cauliflower as a mashed potato stand-in, give mashed celery root a try. Even better, gently simmer celery root, then puree it into a creamy soup.
Call them what you want – latkes, vegetables pancakes, fried-deliciousness. They’re traditionally made with potatoes, a food some of us Primals feel better avoiding. The tuber’s low-moisture and high-starch content creates a crispy exterior and fluffy interior when fried in oil. The high starch content, unfortunately, is also the reason the insulin resistant among us are better off turning to less starchy vegetables to satisfy latke cravings.
Although latkes made with vegetables like carrot, turnip, daikon radish and zucchini will never be quite as crispy as potato latkes, they’re darn good in their own right. The flavor of each vegetable is mild enough that you’ll still feel like you’re eating a latke, yet the latke is transformed into something new and interesting. Zucchini latkes are mildest of all, the carrot and turnip are slightly sweet, and the daikon version has just a hint of spiciness.
When it comes to side dishes, simple is best. A list of ingredients you can count on one hand is the way I like to do it. This dish delivers on ease and offers plenty of solid nutrition and great Primal taste. Cooking up great flavor starts with quality ingredients, for sure, but don’t underestimate the power of a great sauce or seasoning—and the right cooking method. Roasting vegetables is one of the surest ways to bring out a richer, deeper taste. Brussels sprouts work great for this. Add some balsamic and bacon, and you’ve got an amazing side for any meaty main course.
Anyone who knows me well has seen how much broccoli I eat. It’s one of my go-to sides with chicken or steak at dinnertime. But that doesn’t mean I eat it the same way every day. While roasting is my favorite prep method for broccoli’s flavor, it’s all about the sauces and seasonings, too. One of my favorite ways to punch up broccoli: a sesame ginger flavor. Check it out.
A harbinger of the seasonal shift from snow-dusted branches and abbreviated days to sun-warmed grass and lingering outdoors, asparagus brings with it the promise of new buds in the garden and the traveling scent of meat caramelizing on a hot grill.
Asparagus has a uniquely vegetal, slightly bitter, grassy taste that benefits from the sour, bracing acidity of lemon juice and zest. Lemon asparagus can usher the best spring has to offer: a bridge between bitter cold and temperate breezes. Simply marinate the tender asparagus stalks, roast in the oven until lightly browned crust forms, remove and dress with lemon juice and zest.
With great fiber content and a unique taste, asparagus is a go-to for Primal and keto meals. Another plus: It’s simple to prepare. That said, however, it does take a bit of precision.
Roast in the oven just until it turns light brown, take it out, and toss with lemon juice and zest while still warm. When you zest the lemon, scrape the lemon skin lightly against the microplane. Don’t try to muscle off the whole peel. The white pith underneath that canary skin tastes bitter and can detract from the delicate balance of garden-fresh green vegetable and sun-ripened citrus you want here.
The last couple weeks I’ve grilled up some great Primal+keto meat dishes: steak and marinated chicken. But I’m a big believer in above ground, non-starchy vegetables for a Primal and keto diet. One of the things I love about this recipe is that it shows how vegetables—even cooked ones—never need to be a bland afterthought. These mixed peppers and onions are flavorful all on their own, but the seasonings and dressings turn this into a great side that will hold its own against any meat dish.