Vegan in Three: Celeriac Salad with Rita Serano

Fact: salad is one of the most versatile meals out there. You can make it meat-free, you can make it fancy, you can make it hot or cold, main or side. But, if you ask vegan cookbook author Rira Serano, it's especially satisfying to crunch into a forkful when it’s filled with sweet chestnuts and crispy pomegranate seeds.

Because there’s still a nip in the air, but we’re beginning to see those first signs of spring, we’re whipping up this turn-of-the-season salad from Rita’s book Vegan for Good. Using a range of creative ingredient combinations, (celeriac and raddicho), textures (crunchy to leafy) and flavours (sweet to nutty), the recipe ahead will satisfy your seasonal cravings.

“Making a delicious salad is easy as long as you have some tasty in-season veggies with different textures and tastes. Key ingredients for any salad I make are always something salty, bitter, sweet, sour, creamy and even spicy. In this case, find a bit crunch from finely chopped veggies like the beetroot and the celery stalks and, a fatty and filling ingredient in walnuts or cooked chestnut.

“Sweet chestnuts and crispy pomegranate seeds go very well with the earthy taste of celeriac and the bitter radicchio leaves. If you can’t get chestnuts, walnuts will work well instead.

“All flavours are represented in this recipe and, in my mind, that makes it the salad.”

What you’ll need

  • 150g (drained weight) cooked Puy or beluga lentils homemade or from a jar, rinsed
  • 4 cooked celeriac slices or steaks, cut into small cubes
  • 75g watercress
  • 1 head of red radicchio, finely shredded
  • 100g cooked chestnuts (or walnuts), broken up a little
  • 1 small raw (Chioggia) beetroot, julienned or grated
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • Bunch of flat-leaf parsley, washed and roughly chopped

For the dressing

  • 200ml Cashew Soured Cream or natural plant-based yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt

How it’s made

  1. First, make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the dressing with the lentils and the celeriac, then set aside.
  2. Place the watercress and radicchio on a large plate and top with the dressed lentils and celeriac. Scatter over the cooked chestnuts, beetroot, pomegranate seeds and parsley.
  3. Serve as is, or for a more filling meal, with wholegrain sourdough bread, some cooked potatoes or cooked grains.

For more vegan-friendly, multi-functional dishes pick up a copy of Rita’s new book Vegan for Good.