Saturday, March 9, 2013

Alternatives to Potato Hash Browns, Part 1: Celery Root

I decided to do a three-part series on alternatives to potato hash browns. I've been experimenting the past couple months with different root veggies in order to recreate my childhood memories of Sunday breakfasts. Every single Sunday morning (until I left for college), my dad prepared big breakfasts of hash browns, bacon and/or sausage, eggs and toast (or English muffin). Occasionally, he would switch it up and make pancakes or French toast, but would still often make some hash browns, bacon and/or sausage and eggs to go alongside. It was always a special meal in our house. It was something I definitely looked forward to all week. We would typically eat around 9 or 9:30am. We also enjoyed homemade freezer jam (strawberry and black raspberry were common in our house) atop our toast. My mom often made large batches so we would have delicious jam all year long. After breakfast, we all sat around the table reading the newspaper. My brothers and I would read through the sports, comics and coupons. My parents had a little thing going that they would pay us the amount they saved in coupons. It was a great incentive for us to find coupons on items we bought. Sometimes I would walk away from the grocery store with $4-5. That was a lot of money back then! Lots of fond memories of those breakfasts though.

White potatoes are generally a big no-no on the Paleo lifestyle. They're extremely starchy and higher in both carbs and calories compared to other root vegetables. Potatoes have around 118 calories per cup (shredded) while celery root only has 42 calories. Potatoes have three times the carbs (27 grams). Celery root is a very nutritious food containing potassium, manganese, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, phosphorous and fiber. You now know celery root is a healthier option for our bodies. What you may not know is that celery root is the "ugly stepchild" of vegetables. If you can get past how it looks, you'll (hopefully) discover an amazing ingredient that can be used in so many ways. Of course, I made my celery root into hash browns, but they could also be pureed/mashed or used in soups.

I found celery root at Sprout's (in Colorado), but you could also find them at Whole Foods or King Soopers/Kroger. It's most likely something you have walked by, not thinking anything of it or giving it a second look. I know I have. Hundreds of times. It's right there by the mushrooms, hot peppers and Brussels sprouts. Or maybe you're one of the few that has looked it and wondered what on earth do you do with that thing? Well, I'm here to share with you one way to prepare that ugly-looking root veggie.

Gather your equipment.

I used my food processor to shred. You could also use a box grater, but it will take a bit longer. I thought I would pour my shreds into a separate bowl, but I ended up pouring them straight into the frying pan. So, here's my recipe that's not really a recipe.

Celery Root Hash Browns
Paleo Rating: 8.5
Serves: 2-3

2 celery roots
2 T. coconut oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

  • Prepare your celery root. Cut off the tops and bottoms. Then cut around the edges to get the skins off. You'll end up with what's in the picture to the below. I cut mine in half, so you'll just have a couple round bulbs.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. 
  • While the pan is heating up, shred the celery root in your food processor or with a box grater by hand. 
  • Add the celery root to the hot pan. Use a spatula to flatten the celery root and straighten the edges (should be in a round shape). 
  • Season your celery root with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper. They won't need as much salt as potato hash browns, so take it easy at first. You can always add, but you can't take it away. 
  • Allow it to cook on one side for 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown. Do your best to flip them in one piece. Otherwise, flip them in a couple of pieces. Let them cook for 3-5 minutes on the other side. Cut and serve with eggs and sugar-free breakfast sausage or bacon. 
  • Enjoy! 

As you can see, mine didn't flip in one piece, but they did brown up quite nicely. I did notice celery root has a slightly sweet flavor. It's not a strong flavor, but compared to potatoes, they are just a tad sweet. Otherwise, they're a great Paleo substitute for hash browns. I highly recommend giving celery root a chance.
Breakfast is served.

Next up: Rutabaga hash browns.

No comments:

Post a Comment