Chickpea “Meatballs” with Italian Salsa Verde, Celeriac Parsnip Puree, and Celery Kale Salad

This chickpea “meatball” recipe is well-rounded, healthy, delicious, nutritious, and plant-based. It’s a wonderful dish any time of the year, but celery root (or “celeriac”) is best enjoyed in the winter and spring when it grows naturally. Celery root is an often underused root vegetable, but with a light celery flavor and potato-like texture, it makes a beautiful silky puree, especially when paired with sweet earthy parsnip. It’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients, is an excellent substitute for potatoes, can be eaten raw, and adds a nice crunch to the salad made in this meal. Pro Tip: coat your celery root with lemon juice or another acid right when you cut into it as it oxidizes and turns brown very quickly. 

This dish uses fresh and dried herbs and spices and showcases how each brings different elements to the table. The result is a simple, yet flavorful meal that is sure to be a family favorite moving forward. At the least, you may never eat mashed potatoes again after having the celeriac parsnip puree!

To bind the chickpea together, this recipe uses a “flax seed egg”, which is more simple than it sounds; flaxseeds soaked in water. Once saturated, the flaxseeds take on an egg-like character, giving your “meatballs” that familiar texture while adding omega 3 and 6 fatty acids without animal protein. Omega 3’s are an essential component of our diet. Learn more about Mountain Trek’s Nutrition Principles.


  • 12 guests recently made this recipe alongside our chef and nutritionist during a virtual Supper Club.
  • If you wish to add animal protein to this meal, substitute the chickpeas and flax seeds for 1 lb ground turkey. Follow all other instructions as written.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 3 Medium Parsnips
  • 1 Large Celery Root (Celeriac) (can sub rutabaga/other root vegetable/mix of both)
  • 3 Lemons
  • 1 15.5oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 T Flax Seed mixed with 3 T water for 5 minutes.
  • 1 T Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 t dry Italian herbs
  • 1 t Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1t + ¼ C + 1T used in recipe)
  • 1 oz fresh Parsley (approx. 1 cup loosely packed leaves)
  • 1 oz fresh Basil (approx. 1 cup loosely packed leaves)
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 t Capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flake (optional)
  • 2 C Kale, loosely packed
  • 3 stalks Celery
  • ¼ t Celery Seed (optional)
  • 1 ¼ t Kosher or Sea Salt ( ½ t + ¼ t + ¼ t + ¼ t)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 F / 220 C
  2. Peel and small dice the parsnip, place in small pot of water, and bring to boil.
  3. Zest and juice 3 lemons, 1 each into three separate bowls.
  4. Peel celery root. Use a vegetable peeler to shave about ½ C thin pieces into one bowl with lemon juice. Toss to coat and set aside. Small dice remaining celery root and add to boiling water with parsnip.
  5. Cook parsnips and celery root until both are very fork-tender. Remove from heat when done and reserve for finishing later.
  6. Mash chickpeas and combine with soaked flax seeds, nutritional yeast, Italian herbs, 1 t granulated garlic, and ½ t salt in a second bowl of lemon and combine until thoroughly mixed. Form into 8 balls and place on parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 t olive oil. Bake in oven until cooked through (165 or until no longer pink in middle. Approximately 15 minutes)
  7. Finely chop fresh parsley, basil, garlic, capers and red pepper flake (if using) and place in the third bowl with lemon. Add ¼ C olive oil and ¼ t salt and mix thoroughly. Reserve for plating.
  8. Remove tough stems from kale, chop leaves into desired salad-sized pieces and add to bowl with celery root and lemon juice.
  9. Slice celery stalks thinly on a bias and add to kale, celery root, and lemon juice. Add ¼ t salt and ¼ t celery seed (if using) and mix thoroughly with hands. Reserve for plating.
  10. Finish celery root parsnip puree by blending with 1 T olive oil and 1/4 t salt until smooth and creamy. Start at a low speed, raise higher, and use muddler as necessary.
  11. Plate the celery root parsnip puree and meatballs, top the meatballs with the salsa verde and serve the salad to the side.


What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below: