Garden Keeper’s Pie with Beets, Lentils & Creamy Celery Root Mash

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 1 vote

Garden keeper's pie is a cozy vegan main course with beets, lentils, herbs, and a creasy celery root topping. Perfect for a holiday meal.

garden keeper's pie w/ beets, lentils + creamy celery root mash
garden keeper's pie w/ beets, lentils + creamy celery root mash

When my inbox is multi-paged, the bills are piling up, there’s drama at work, or when I’ve just had one of those days, you can find me out in the garden with my big girl boots on, just getting dirty and feeling the feelings. Later on, you’ll find me making a garden keeper’s pie ;)

I planted a lot of things this year, all successful in some way or another. I still have some greens out there, but I saved the pulling of my absolute favourite vegetable for when the Fall was certifiably cool. The celery roots. The ones that look like baby aliens, but taste like absolute heaven. Creamy textured, sweet, kinda grassy like parsley, and celery-like.

But mine were so small! Nothing at all like those big, knubby, market ones. Lots of green leafy stalks and tangled up roots full of dirt, ie lots of bits to cut around before you had any real food. My dad advised that I put them in a low spot of the garden for maximal water absorption and then further explained why they can be a bit pricy: they have to take up so much real estate and so much water for so long! Next year I’ll get it right. In the meantime, I managed to scrounge up just enough for two dinners’ worth.

One night I roasted some rough dices with other roots and squash, served it with a spicy gingered quinoa pilaf and a wispy knot of kale, apple and fennel slaw on top. And the other, I served clouds of puréed celery root on top of these little pies–garden keeper’s pies as I’m calling them. I made some small dices of beets, carrots and butternut squash and slowly cooked them down with black lentils, vegetable stock, garlic, and rosemary. Small additions of balsamic vinegar and tamari round the flavours out.

I know all of my American pals are coming up on Thanksgiving, so I wanted to offer up a main course option for the vegetable lovers. Side dishes can be a vegan/vegetarian’s closest pal at the holiday table, but a thoughtful main can make the heart glow just a bit fonder. For more holiday inspiration, check out this roundup right here.

garden keeper's pie w/ beets, lentils + creamy celery root mash // @thefirstmess
garden keeper's pie w/ beets, lentils + creamy celery root mash // @thefirstmess

Garden Keeper’s Pie with Beets, Lentils & Creamy Celery Root Mash

Garden keeper's pie is a cozy vegan main course with beets, lentils, herbs, and a creasy celery root topping. Perfect for a holiday meal.
5 from 1 vote
Garden Keeper's Pie with Beets, Lentils & Celery Root Mash - The First Mess
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cooking onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves minced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and divided
  • pinch of chili flakes, optional
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cups-worth of small diced root or tuber vegetables or squash (I used a mix of butternut squash, carrots & beets)
  • cup black or french lentils, rinsed
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon cold filtered water


  • 3 cups peeled and diced celery root
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
  • ¼ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk


  • These are rough measures, but this isn’t a fussy endeavour by any means. You’re just making one big sauté, thickening it with arrowroot, topping it with a rustic mash and baking it until the whole thing bubbles and browns.
  • Some cooked beans would fill in nicely for the lentils. Just make sure you throw them in closer to the end of the cooking process.


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil 4 ramekins/cocottes/mini gratin dishes with at least 8 oz/1 cup capacity. Place dishes on a sheet pan and set aside.
  • For the filling, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until very, very soft, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, and chili flakes (if using) to the pot and stir. Sauté until the garlic is very fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Add the 5 cups of diced vegetables and the lentils to the pot and stir to coat everything in the oil. Season heartily with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables and lentils another two minutes or so, stirring often.
  • Add the vegetable stock and tamari and stir. The liquid should cover all the vegetables and lentils nicely, by about a half inch. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are just soft, about 45 minutes. It helps if you place a lid on top of the pot slightly askew, leaving a little gap for air to escape.
  • When the filling is done, in a small bowl mix together the arrowroot powder and cold water. Scrape this slurry into the pot with the filling and stir to mix it in. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • For the celery root mash, place the diced celery root and garlic cloves in a medium saucepan. Cover the vegetables with cold water/vegetable stock if you like, and then place the pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer until the celery root pieces are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Drain the celery root and garlic, and place it in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse the vegetables a couple times to get them moving. Add the olive oil, unsweetened almond milk, and some salt and pepper. Run the motor on high until you have a cream, homogenous mixture. Check it for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Divide the filling amongst the 4 oiled dishes. Then, divide the celery root mash among the tops of the 4 dishes, smoothing it out with a butter knife or spatula. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top of each pie and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Place the assembled pies back on the baking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake the pies until the filling is bubbling and the tops are very lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
13/11/2014 (Last Updated 09/02/2023)
Posted in: autumn, carrots, creamy, earthy, gluten free, lentils, main course, nut free, refined sugar-free, sweet, umami, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • Anastasia

    This recipe is perfect! So many beautiful vegetables have been used. It makes me dream about having my own garden ^^

  • Phoebe

    This looks divine! As a fellow gardener I completely agree with you on the satisfaction and calmness that comes from tending to a vegetable garden. Not to mention the creativity it inspires in the kitchen. I’m currently growing some turnips and I think I’ll use those in place of the celery root here. Thank you for the inspiration and happy gardening!

  • Yana

    Absolutely delicious! I skipped the carrots and used a mixture of sweet potato and beet. So good! This will be my main dish for my family vegetarian Thanksgiving table.

  • Meredith

    I just made this recipe tonight, however, the filling part was waaaaaaay too liquidy! i had to carefully dump out a LOT of liquid, was almost like a soup. i followed the directions to a TEE! what happened???

  • Erin

    I was searching for ways to use up the celery root I have in the fridge and I came across this. I had a variety of other root vegetables on hand and decided to make it. I am not usually a huge fan of root veggies, but this was delicious! The celery root mash was amazing! I am so happy that I found your recipes. I will definitely be ordering your cookbook!

    • Laura

      So glad that you enjoyed it, Erin. Thanks for leaving this thoughtful comment :)

  • Martine

    Hello! I absolutely love those individual dishes! I’m in the process of registering for my wedding (!) – do you know where you got them? Thanks, M

  • sarah

    I’ve been looking for a new celeriac recipe for Thanksgiving this year — I have a gratin I love, but I wanted something non-dairy this year. I think this will be it, especially since I’ve done pies like this successfully doing the filling and mash up the day beforehand, which will be a great help in the Thanksgiving whirlwind of cooking.

  • Sadie

    I’ve been wanting to try this beautiful recipe for a while and just had it for dinner last night. I used carrots, parsnip, kumara and Beetroot for the filling. Absolutely Devine! Lots of compliments too – thank you!

  • Trinity Keeble

    Not all blogs are created equal. I enjoy your writing.

  • Kat

    This is practically unbeatable it is so good! My omnivore husband who doesn’t like beets at all loved this dish. It’s now on the “we can have this anytime” list. Amazing!

  • sharon

    I made it and it is wonderful
    I did add some red wine to filling — i like red wine and french lentils
    and I used mashed yukon golds for the top

    thank you!

  • Debbie Metz

    This looks lovely!! I have always wanted to start a garden but didn’t feel I had enough time :(

  • Maggie @ Veg Fiend

    Yum, and yum. I have never cooked celery root, but maybe I will after reading this stunning recipe :)

  • Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño

    Those photos are divine! Gardens are so elusive, I think that’s why I love them so much! Always learning, kind of like cooking in that way. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  • Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen

    I dream of an own garden as well. One that I can grow beets and lettuce in. One that has a big apple tree heavy with fruit each fall. And currant bushes, one for each type: red, black, and white. Gooseberries would be fabulous as well. Yeah, gooseberries would be nice. Oh and chickens so I could have fresh eggs each morning. Maybe these will be just dreams but I take the freedom to dream big, especially after reading this post. I’m in love with these gorgeous pies! That filling is so vibrant.

  • dervla kelly

    the light in these photos is breathtaking. I can’t stop dreaming about that sun falling across the vegetables. And this garden keeper’s pie will be perfect for my thanksgiving table.

  • Kaley

    My favorite side dish is always the mashed potatoes!

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve just started gardening and love it already. I plan on enjoying celery root in next year’s harvest. My favorite holiday dish would have to be a wholesome pumpkin pie sweetened with maple syrup and enclosed a date-pecan crust. Yum! Love your blog.
    Happy Holidays!

  • Patsy Byers

    My new fall/winter holiday meal tradition is quince included in our dessert–in cobbler, sorbet, panforte, membrillo, poached…

  • Jenna Davies

    Amazing recipe! Can’t wait to try it!

    My all-time favorite holiday side dish are lightly seasoned, roasted potatoes that my mom makes.

  • Shaun

    My favorite holiday dish is traditional french-canadian meat pie, but made vegan. It’s usually haphazard but always involves tempeh, mashed potatoes and plenty of pepper. Very stick-to-your-ribs!

  • Maggie

    Stuffed acorn squash is my favorite… With warming spices, veggies, greens, quinoa, chickpeas and slivered almond filling.
    I love celery root… Got many from my CSA this year and I just might have to try my hand at it in my garden next summer.

  • Jacqueline

    This is definitely happening for us this Thanksgiving. My very favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving dish (one that changed my mind about brussels sprouts) was red grapes, walnuts and brussels sprouts roasted and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar. Thank you for this imaginative recipe!

  • Chris Miles

    I think this dish is perfect for my family. We will pair it with one of my favorite thanksgiving dishes – curried butternut squash soup. Thank you.

  • SouthernSpoon

    Lovely recipe– will try with cauliflower mash as celery root is pricey here! And my favorite holiday dish has to be my mother’s dressing… homemade buttermilk biscuits and homemade cornbread mixed with the perfect amount of onion, celery, and seasoning, and drenched in just a little broth before going into the oven alongside the turkey. I recreate it every year, but it’s never quite as good as hers!

  • Camilla

    Last year I made Susanne Goin’s Kale Dressing from Bon Appetit… Let me tell you! My family enjoyed it so much that after our traditional pie buffet, we all tucked in for seconds of dressing!! Fantastic!

  • Jordan @ The Balanced Blonde

    Wow, these photos are way too gorgeous for words. I am so impressed! Also… looks waayyy too delicious. And it is super fun to read about your feelings about gardening– you are killin it in my eyes, because I tend to ruin everything I try to create in the garden!! Regardless… you’re a rockstar!!

  • Ella

    I will be making dinner for my whole fam, and they can not have Thanksgiving without sautéed green beans and slivered almonds! I hope to make a vegan pudding of some kind, with a chia seed base, for a lighter dessert!

  • Jenny

    Gorgeousssss wow love The color of your filling – so perfect for autumn and thanksgiving. As for holiday dishes, my mom makes a Dutch mushroom starter for both thanksgiving and Christmas dinner — sliced mushrooms sautéed in a savory roux and then baked with breadcrumbs dotted with butter. Best served in traditional shell- shaped oven safe plates :) happy holidays

  • Julie e

    I hope to make this tonight for dinner.
    My favorite holiday dish is cornbread dressing made with homemade veggie stock and chock full of celery and onion.

  • Hope

    Stunning photos.
    My favorite “holiday dish” is my dad’s Yorkshire pudding.

  • Anna

    green beans!