Celery is known for its crunch, taste, and texture. It is often used in salads, soups, stuffing, and many more ways. If you are looking for a substitute for celery that has a similar taste or texture then this post is for you.
This is a crunchy vegetable with a mild taste. In this blog post, we will explore some of the easy ways to substitute celery into your favorite dishes!
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What Is Celery & What Does It Taste Like
Celery is an aromatic flowering plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family same as carrot, parsley, dill, fennel, and chervil. Celery stalks have a mild taste, crunchy texture, and grassy flavor whereas its leaves are slightly bitter in taste.
It is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Due to its several health benefits, it is considered a low-calorie diet food. It reduces inflammation and improves digestion.
How To Use Celery
This vegetable is mostly known for the crunch and texture it gives to recipes. Its stalks are used especially in salads due to the crunch & crispiness, and in soups to volume & texture. Celery leaves are also great substitutes for parsley, leeks, and cilantro. It easily goes well with other foods like avocado, tomato, Italian parsley, Cilantro leaves, cucumber, peaches, and blueberries.
Celery is also an integral part of French, Italian, and Southern Cuisine. Mirepoix (onion, carrots, & celery) is used in French cooking, Holy Trinity (Onion, bell peppers, & celery) is a part of Southern/Cajun cooking, and Battuto in Italian cooking (onions, carrots, celery, & herbs). These ingredients are a part of thanksgiving dishes, soups, and stews.
Here is the list of the most popular and common ways to use celery
- Soups & Stews
- Thanksgiving stuffing
- Stir fries
- French "Mirepoix"
- Southern/Cajun "Holy Trinity"
- Italian "Battuto"
- Raw as a snack
How To Choose Celery Substitutes
Celery is a low-carb and fibrous vegetable. Mostly used in salads, soups, stews, stocks, stuffing, raw snacks, and a part of many veggie mixes. It provides freshness, crunch, color, volume, and flavors. Which substitute you want to choose depends on what you are trying to mimic in terms of crunch, flavor, and texture.
It definitely adds a crunch to salads, raw snacks, or while cooked (stir-fries). Apple salad, potato salad, and chickpea salad taste much better with chopped celery due to their freshness, and crunch.
When you need the fresh green color as celery leaves, you can use vegetables like asparagus, green beans, broccoli, and bok choy.
Flavor & Texture
It is mild in flavors and high in water content. Adding in soups, stews, stocks, dressings, juices, smoothies, and stir-fries, celery adds tons of flavors. Celery seeds and celery salt provides similar flavors but when you completely run out of any celery variation then there are some alternatives that work well.
Though celery has its own unique taste which is not easy to replace, certain vegetables like jicama, radish, cucumber, green bell peppers provide a similar flavor profile.
Celery gives a nice texture when cooked. It might not be easy to replace it but bok choy, spinach, broccoli, fennel, jicama are good substitutes to replace in cooking dishes.
Best Substitute For Celery
Now that we know what is celery, how does it taste like, and the most common ways to use it, let's see what are the best celery substitutes that you can use in case of unavailability of celery.
Cucumbers are a great replacement for celery in salads for crunch. Like celery, cucumber is mild in taste, crunchy and high in water content. Not only in salads, but cucumber also makes a great alternative to celery in juices, smoothies, and snacks.
Green apple is another substitute for celery when it comes to the crunch and crisp textures in salads. However, Apple has its unique sweetness and flavors apart from the crunch. But they still work great in salads and juice/smoothies. They're also a delicious snack (raw) or addition for Thanksgiving stuffing - perfect with that turkey dinner in the holiday season!
Green onions are mild onions with garlicky flavor and are not bitter as celery leaves. They make a good alternative in pasta salads, chickpea tuna salad, and egg salad where you look for crunch and green color. You need to substitute half the amount of celery required for the recipe with green onion due to its stronger flavor profile.
Radishes are a great alternative to kick up your salad game. They have a crunchy texture and peppery taste, that works best in salads and raw snacks as a substitute for celery.
Fennel bulbs are a good replacement for celery especially in soups, stews, and stocks. They have a distinct licorice flavor when consumed raw but that mellows down once cooked. In cooked dishes, fennel works best as a substitute for celery.
Jicama is a crunchy root vegetable with the flavor of celery and it's great for snacking. It also blends well in smoothies, added to salads, or makes for an excellent snack or side dish with your meal! This works as a celery substitute in salads and snacks for crunch.
Carrots are an excellent substitute for celery and can be used in many dishes. They work best as a substitute in soups/stews/stocks, stir-fries, or salads. Carrots also make fantastic raw snacks as sticks or if you like to have juice. Instead of celery juice, you can try carrot juice. Use ½ cup of chopped carrot for every 1 medium-size celery stalk.
Leeks have a mild onion flavor that is perfect for adding depth to your dishes. Their unique aroma also enhances flavors in stir-fries, soups, stews, or stocks. Leeks are a great substitute for celery even though it has an onion flavor. They're fantastic in soups and stews, stir-fries, Mirepoix, or in Holy Trinity. Celery is also used as a leek substitute.
Celeriac (celery root)
It is a root vegetable closely related to celery, the flavor of which is stronger and earthier. It can be used in dishes like soups or stews. For salads, you need to slice them thin due to their strong flavors.
Water chestnuts have a rich, salty flavor that works well with stir-fries, saute, grilling, and soups. They're also good in salads as they are versatile enough to be enjoyed any time of day.
Bok choy, or “the Asian cabbage” as it's commonly known to many people in America has a much better flavor. The green leaves are tender and light-green in color. They have the same crunchy texture with hints of lemon that you get from eating celery ribs when cooked properly.
Bok Choi can be used for stir-frying, soups, salads, stews, and stocks. Its white part is a great alternative to celery in Holy trinity, mirepoix, and battuto mix.
Celery seeds are used as a spice both in whole and ground form. They are slightly bitter with earthy flavors. They are best to use in stuffing, or with mirepoix or with Holy Trinity or in Battuto to give food that traditional oniony/celery taste without overpowering other flavors.
Start out by adding about ½ teaspoon celery seeds for 1 cup of chopped celery - don't overdo it as it may overpower the dish.
Green Bell Pepper
Green bell peppers are mild in flavors and used in Holy Trinity mix. You can easily substitute celery with an equal amount of green bell pepper. They work as a replacement of celery in soups, stews, stocks, stir-fries, raw snacks, and salads.
The flavor of celery salt is quite unique, made with celery seeds and salt. It's most commonly used in soups, stews, and salads. Just be careful not to add too much salt as celery salt already have salt in it. Start with the small quantity and adjust as per taste.
Asparagus is a crunchy veggie that you can enjoy in so many different ways. It tastes great on its own, or dipped into some dip! As an alternative to celery stalks, try using this tasty green for soups and stir-fries. You can check roasted asparagus in the air fryer and garlic sauteed asparagus with mushrooms.
Green cabbage makes a great substitute for celery due to its crunchiness and high water content. Cabbages work well in soups, stir-fries, or salads to give extra flavor.
Green beans may not sound like a good replacement for celery but they can definitely add a crunch, flavors to many dishes. Use them in stir-fries, soups, stews, or stock. They also make an excellent crunchy snack themselves.
The broccoli may not be a perfect substitute for celery in every type of dish, but it’s great as an option in salads, raw snacks, soups, stews, and stir-fries. Broccoli has more flavor and contains less water than its crunchy counterpart. Due to this it can give an extra boost in flavors when cooked or eaten raw.
This is the infographic for celery substitutes in soups, salads, stuffing, and other recipes.
What To Look For In A Celery Substitute
Keep in mind all substitutes have their own uniqueness and flavors may not be the same. Every substitution will work in a particular recipe due to specifications like color, crunch, and texture. If a recipe required celery, for example, cream of celery soup THAN you need CELERY.
Check this list on what to use as the best celery substitute as per requirement.
- Salads/Raw/Snacks- Apple, Jicama, Cucumber, Radish, Carrot, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Bok choy
- Soups/Stews/Stock- Jicama, Broccoli, Bok Choy, Carrot, Green beans, Fennel, Leeks, Celeriac, Celery Seeds, Celery Salt, Cabbage
- Stuffing- Green onion, Green bell pepper, Carrot, Celery seeds, Celery salt, Fennel
- Stir fries- Green bell pepper, Cabbage, Carrot, Asparagus, Green beans, Broccoli
- Juices/Smoothies- Cucumber, Carrot, Apple
- Mirepoix - Celery seeds, Celery salt, Green bell peppers, Fennel, Green onion
- Holy Trinity- Carrots, Celery seeds, Celery salt, Fennel, Green onion
- Battuto- Green onions, Carrot, Celery seeds, Celery salt
These celery substitutes will give you the flavors and texture without having to go out of your way to get celery and are easily available. Experiment, choose any, add a little and adjust as you like the flavors.
Jicama, Fennel stalks, Apple, Cucumber, Celery Salt, Celery seeds, and green bell pepper are the best substitutes for celery anytime.
Must-Try Celery Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Celery seeds and celery salt both are used as a substitute for celery. Seeds are used in whole and ground form. When ground seeds are combined with salt it results in celery salt. You can always replace celery salt with celery seeds but not vice versa due to the salt. You may still use celery salt but before adding the salt to the recipe. Adjust it after the blend.
1 medium stalk of celery is equal to ½ cup of chopped one.
Celery seeds are very strong in flavors and aroma. Start with ¼ teaspoon of seeds for ½ cup of celery.
Celery salt is a mix of ground celery seeds and salt. While using it to replace celery there are a few points to keep in mind. Start by adding ¼ teaspoon of celery salt for one stalk of celery. Always adjust salt before adding the celery salt else a dish turns very salty.
Let me know in the comments if I missed any other good substitutes for leeks. Will add to the list. Thank You.