Celery is known to have a bold flavor and a peculiar smell which is not everyone’s favorite. So to keep everyone happy, we need to find a substitute for celery.
The history of celery goes back 3,000 years; when the Greeks and Romans used its seeds for medicinal purposes. Being a descendant of the parsley family, it is native to the Mediterranean areas.
While some people enjoy this unique combination of overpowering flavor and the strong aroma, others consider it difficult to ingest. Despite being controversial, this plant continues to steal the limelight in the culinary world.
The modern large leaf celery originated from wild celery, also called ‘smallage.’ It quickly became the favorite ingredient choice for use in dips and spreads. Later on, celery juice surfaced as a modern take on healthy food choices and became popular in the western world among fitness enthusiasts. However, people are now exploring other organic produce as an effective substitute for celery.
There are quite a few options available when it comes to replacing celery in food. Most choices belong to the same family but have different characteristics.
Fennel is an aromatic herb having the same texture as celery. All the parts of this organic produce, from its bulb to the flowers, are very useful. Fennel stems are a good celery alternative for many. These fibrous stalks can be easily sautéed for a stew or chopped up for a garden pickle. They taste good and also help reduce inflammation in the body and suppress appetite.
It does not only have an interesting name but is delicious too. Also known as ‘yam bean’ or ‘Mexican turnip’, this tuberous root is crunchy like the celery and also brings along a subtle sweetness to the platter. Some people like to eat it raw in salads or they cook for just a few minutes to enjoy the crunchiness. Although sweet, this starchy jicama is good for diabetic people.
● Water Chestnuts
If you are a big fan of Chinese food, then this will definitely add to your list of favorites. Water Chestnut tastes like pears or apples and is a great swap for celery. Its fruitiness makes your stir-fried dishes scrumptious. This tuber vegetable is not a nut yet it provides antioxidants, slows tumor growth, and effectively reduces blood pressure.
● Broccoli Stems
Being a cool-season vegetable, broccoli is the key ingredient of almost all the spring and fall recipes. While the green florets make up some of the mouth-watering recipes, but there is nothing more delicious than the stem itself. Yes, you heard it right! The broccoli stem is much loved in vegetable stocks, soups, and even pasta. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and a natural cure for osteoarthritis, schizophrenia, and cancer.
Chefs around the world consider it a fantastic substitute for celery for a more earthy, bitter, and salty taste in recipes. Use this secret ingredient to make your Thanksgiving stuffing and Bolognese sauce a hit, just by increasing the cooking time for a deeper taste. Celery may be a good source of vitamins, but asparagus claims to have more nutritional value. It also keeps your digestive system healthy.
Planning to make the famous French mirepoix? Try using carrots instead of celery for a brighter color. To create a beautiful texture, add the carrot leaves and stem to the recipe too. Carrots are rich in Vitamin A and can improve your vision. They also prevent constipation.
● Bok Choy
Bok Choy, also known as “Chinese cabbage,” has been a staple in Chinese cuisine due to its slight peppery kick to the taste buds. Mostly used in coleslaws and salad recipes, it’s a great replacement for celery as it is not as bitter yet resembles the stalky appearance. This Chinese cabbage has vitamins and nutrients. The potassium in it is very good for stronger bones.
Zucchini is a descendant of the squash family. It is also known as Courgette or Baby marrow too. Zucchini is an essential ingredient in soufflés. It gives a very refreshing taste in summers as it is full of Vitamin C and rich in proteins and carbohydrates. Cooked or sautéed, Zucchini is more popular than raw one.
Although celery continues to be the main ingredient choice for all good reasons, there is no harm in experiencing newer tastes and aromas in cooking. Don’t let your recipe suffer because of your bitter and stinky relationship with celery. Instead, look out for better options that compliment your mood and won’t deprive you of the goodness. A substitute for celery can offer you sweetness, a hint of saltiness, or a peppery joy.
It’s time to let your taste buds experienced something new and exciting than celery.
So much more awaits you on the other side!