This is a permutation of the vast universe of simply dressed, grated, or julienned raw vegetable salads that includes France's grated carrot and celery root salads and the endless variety of shredded cabbage slaws in America. They all share a purity and directness of flavor, with a pleasingly rustic, elemental look.


  • 1 small celery root (about 12 ounces)

  • 4 medium parsnips (8 ounces)

  • 2 parsley roots (8 ounces)

  • 1 teaspoon finely slivered Meyer lemon, lemon, or orange zest

  • 8 ounces yellow or red beets

Fragrant Hazelnut Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (preferably organic), or to taste

  • Kosher salt to taste

  • Pinch of sugar

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons roasted hazelnut or walnut oil, or fruity extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon warm water

  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Slice and combine the vegetables. Peel the celery root, parsnips, and parsley root. Use a mandoline or Benriner or a box grater to julienne or coarsely grate them. Place in a large bowl and toss with the zest. Peel and grate the beets; place in a separate bowl.

2. Dress the vegetables.In a small bowl, combine the cider vinegar, salt, and sugar. Whisk in the nut oil and water. Toss the root vegetables and the beets separately with some of the dressing and salt and pepper to taste; add additional vinegar if necessary.

3. Add the beets or other embellishments. Nestle the beets in a mound slightly off center in the root vegetable slaw. Serve at once.

From The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider (William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2006). Copyright 2006 by Sally Schneider. All rights reserved.

Sally Schneider
A former chef, Sally Schneider has won numerous awards—including four James Beard awards—for her books and magazine writing. She is creator of the lifestyle blog Improvised Life, a featured blogger on The Atlantic Monthly's Food Blog, and author of The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook. She has served as a contributing editor to both Saveur and Food & Wine, and her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Saveur, Food & Wine, SELF and Connoisseur.