Getting used to cooking with celery took some time for me. Now, though, I love using it when I make soups, stuffing, salads, and even in my cocktails. Not everyone gets used to the flavor and texture of celery, so knowing about other alternatives can be useful at times.
What Is Celery?
This vegetable from the Apiaceae family is extremely low in calories and contains mostly water. It is related to other vegetables including carrots, parsnips, and parsley.
For centuries, celery has been used by many people as a means to lose weight, but it has many more health benefits.
For one, celery contains high amounts of fiber that is good for regulating bowel movements and lowering cholesterol levels. Celery also contains vitamins A, K, and minerals like potassium, folate, sodium, and choline.
You can consume one stalk of celery for only 5.6 calories, which makes it an extremely healthy food.
As if that wasn’t enough, celery also contains several antioxidants. These include selinene
Limonene, kaempferol, and p-coumaric acid. Antioxidants like these can help prevent damage from free radicals in our environment and food, as well as the destruction of healthy tissue.
In terms of flavor, celery is a little bitter and is a bit peppery. The texture is very fibrous and it can take a long time for this vegetable to soften.
Celery is traditionally part of a broth, soups, stews, salads, and more. You may even recognize it as a topping in the famous cocktail bloody Mary. Some people even use celery and its seeds as a natural supplement for health reasons.
You can freeze celery for later use. If you don’t have it in your kitchen, the options below will help.
What Can I Replace Celery With?
Since this vegetable can be tough and relatively flavorless, these substitutes for celery stalk, seeds and root can help make your meal even more special:
Best For Soup, Chicken Salad, Potato Salad, and Mirepoix
Fennel is a relatively similar vegetable to celery, especially in terms of texture. For replacing celery, we suggest you stick to the stems and bulb of fennel. This option is much more aromatic and has a slight flavor of anise.
You can use fennel when you prepare soups, chicken and potato salad, stuffing, and more. This choice is also perfect for a mirepoix when you prepare stews or sauces. The flavor in fennel can be strong, but once you start cooking it, it becomes more subtle and the texture softens too.
Fennel seeds are also a great replacement for celery seeds.
See More: Fennel Substitutes
This is not a common vegetable that everyone loves to use, but it turns out, it is a great substitution for celery. Some people refer to jicama as “yam bean” and use it because of its texture and flavor, which is somewhat sweet.
Jicama is very crunchy and juicy, so it goes well in salads and as a snack.
Unlike celery, you should cook jicama for less time so that it stays crunchy and retains its flavor. You can surely find jicama in a Latin American market and sometimes in farmer’s markets. Keep in mind that jicama is higher in calories than celery, but the flavor may be worth it.
Since carrots are related to celery, using them in its place can be a good choice. Carrots are much sweeter than celery, but if you use the leaves and stems, the texture can be closer.
This choice is a good source of vitamins and minerals, and it contains some antioxidants as well, which makes it a healthy option.
Carrots can alter the color of your dish, so you may want to consider this before adding them to a recipe.
Use carrots when you prepare soups, sauces, broth, chicken and potato salad, and even as a side dish. If you want, you can cook carrots for a while, so they soften, but they taste great raw too.
Best For Bolognese Sauce, Stuffing, and Gumbo
Broccoli is a very versatile vegetable despite its rough texture. To replace celery, you can use the stems of broccoli instead of the whole vegetable, as it mimics the fibrous texture better. In this case, though, you’ll need to cook the broccoli, as it doesn’t taste too good when raw.
Use broccoli stems when you prepare sauces, stuffing, gumbo, and stir-fry. You can chop the stems up in semi-circles like you would celery, and some may not even notice the difference.
The flavor of broccoli is a topic of debate, as some think it is bitter while others don’t notice it at all!
#5. Bok Choy
Bok choy is also known as Chinese cabbage, pak choi, and pok choi. This vegetable is mild, fibrous, and hard. However, bok choy softens when you cook it and it also releases a slightly bitter and peppery flavor that is close to celery.
Some dishes like stuffing, gumbo, stew, and soups turn out amazing when you use bok choy. Like celery, bok choy consists of mostly water, with only a little bit of carbohydrate and protein. It is also a healthy source of fiber.
Some think of asparagus as a difficult vegetable to use, but it is very easy to cook with and molds to many flavors. The key part when you use asparagus is that you give yourself enough time to cook it so that it softens enough.
Asparagus goes fantastic in a gumbo, salad, soup, bolognese sauce, and stuffing.
Asparagus tastes earthy, a little bitter, and salty, so it may change the flavors in your dish a bit.
Use a few stalks of asparagus for every one stalk of celery that your recipe calls for. Keep in mind too, that asparagus is fibrous and extremely hard raw, so it needs cooking before you use it.
When you prepare to stuff this Thanksgiving, try using the items in this list. Some particularly good vegetables include bok choy, broccoli, carrots, fennel, and asparagus. You may want to mix some of these for a closer flavor.
While celery salt can add some of the flavors of celery, it doesn’t change the texture of your dish at all. For every stalk of celery in your dish, use one teaspoon of celery salt, but make sure to reduce the rest of the salt in the cooking process. Using celery seeds may be a better choice when you truly need the peppery and bitter flavor of celery.
If you need to replace celery with celery seed, use one teaspoon for every two stalks of celery. Celery seeds taste more aromatic and strong, so you should always try the flavor before you add. Start slow and keep adding as you cook if necessary.
Celery is one of those vegetables that we all find extremely healthy, but don’t know how to use. Some people truly dislike the texture and the flavor, but a recipe can suffer if you don’t add it. Instead, you can try one of these six celery substitutes as they are all tasty and results in delicious textures.
Up next: Celery Salt Substitutes
*image by depositphotos.com/Kryzhov