How many times have you opened a reliable health cookbook and found celery listed in the ingredient list and shoved it away frustrated because your local grocery store doesn’t stock celery? Many times? Same. So wouldn’t it be a huge help if you knew a handy celery substitute to use in these recipes?
Today we will discuss the best celery substitutes that you can try. Moreover, I will also list each of their benefits so that you can choose the one most easily available and appropriate for you. But before we leap into the rabbit hole, let’s take a brief tour into the nutritious world of celery.
Overview of Celery
Most of us are already aware of this, but for those who don’t, celery is a rage in the world of health enthusiasts and with good reason too. It has a long list of health benefits that have taken the world by storm, especially authors of health cookbooks (sorry, not sorry).
Similarly, not infrequently, I get emails from people that they can’t find celery at their local store and don’t know what else to use in its place. This is for all such concerns I never answered (for which I’m truly sorry).
Is celery nutritious?
The answer is obvious, isn’t it? Yes, celery is nutritious, and yes, the answer was quite obvious. But exactly how nutritious is celery? Now that is the real question. Celery is packed with vitamin c and fiber. It also contains high levels of potassium B vitamins (particularly folic acid, B6, and B1).
Moreover, celery is rich in sodium. However, what most people don’t know is that it is equally rich in potassium. Therefore, the effect of sodium is offset due to the potassium in it. Thus, people with salt sensitivity can easily consume it without worrying about any negative reaction.
Not only this, but celery also serves as a great post-workout food as it helps replenish lost electrolytes in the body. Thus, it makes sense why so many people all around the world love it.
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What are the benefits of celery?
Celery has a boatload of benefits, as I have already established. Below I have listed some of its most commonly perceived benefits:
- It is hydrating: don’t know what to enjoy after or ahead of a hectic day? Something delicious and healthy too? Well, my choice is celery. Celery has high water content, making it quite refreshing and replenishing to enjoy. Especially in your morning drink!
- It is good for your heart: we all know about the little fist of flesh that keeps us alive. So it is best to take care of this organ and provide it with the best nutrition. Therefore, we eat celery. Celery is rich in potassium and calcium, linked to ideal heart health. Moreover, it also contains folate and vitamin K, responsible for effective red blood cell production and blood clotting.
- It supports digestive health: celery contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. These fibers are essential for our gut and digestive health. Moreover, a study involving celery extract showed that it promotes mucosa production in the stomach. This substance prevents ulcers from developing in the stomach.
- It boosts brain health and memory: celery was discovered to improve our brain’s cognitive functions, i.e., It improved the brain health of people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, it was also found to counter the negative influence of aging and depression.
What can I use instead of celery?
Now let us get back to the business of substitutes for celery. There are a handful of suitable substitutes that you may try. However, each substitute performs a particular role. Therefore, not all of them will be easily swappable.
Jicama is a round root vegetable with golden-brown skin and a starchy white interior. It has many names such as yam bean, Mexican water chestnut, and Chinese turnip.
Many people describe it as a cross between pear and potato. Jicama is juicy and crunchy to bite. Moreover, it boasts an impressive nutritional profile.
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Jicama is rich in antioxidants. Therefore, it reduces the risk of a variety of chronic diseases. Jicama is packed with a variety of essential nutrients such as dietary fiber, iron, potassium, copper, and nitrate. These nutrients regulate cholesterol levels, blood circulation, and blood pressure.
Moreover, the dietary fiber and water in Jicama helps in digestion and improve gut health. Not only this, the prebiotics and fiber in them are also known to prevent certain cancers.
However, make sure not to cook it for too long. Doing so will make it lose its crunchiness.
2. Celery Seeds
Celery seeds are spices that are found in both ground and whole form. They taste a lot like celery but have stronger notes of earthy flavor. Celery seeds, not unlike celery, are also extremely healthy. But always use them in a pinch when replacing celery in a recipe since they have a much stronger taste.
Celery seeds are quite nutrient-dense. They are particularly rich in iron, calcium, and manganese. Moreover, they also contain the nutrients required for optimal bone health, such as phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.
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It is also great for anemic people, as it is rich in non-heme iron. Moreover, magnesium reduces the risk of diabetes type 2 in people who consume it regularly by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Carrots are another great substitute for celery that you may try. French chefs have used a combination of carrots, green onions, and fennel or leek as a celery substitute in mirepoix. Moreover, carrots have a long list of health benefits too.
Carrots were first grown in Afghanistan as a root vegetable. Its benefits include the strengthening of bones and our body’s immune system. However, the most major health benefit of carrots is that they are excellent for our eyes.
Carrots contain beta-carotene, which our body turns into vitamin A upon digestion. Vitamin A protects our eyes from cataracts and other problems. Moreover, it contributes to its general well-being too.
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Apart from this advantage, the carotenoids and anthocyanins in carrots also reduce the risk of certain cancers. Carrots are also good for our heart’s health and help relieve constipation.
Carrots have the same crunchiness as celery, although the taste and color vary significantly. You can also use this celery substitute in chicken soup and stews.
4. Fennel Stalks
Fennel stalks are an excellent substitute for celery. Some people even use fennel bulbs. However, I find them quite potent, unlike celery which has a mild and mellow taste. Moreover, fennel stalks lose their sharpness upon cooking, which is why they are way more convenient than fennel bulbs.
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Fennel stalks are a great food for ingredients. So if you consumed celery for its skin rejuvenating benefits, this is the perfect option for you. Fennel stalks can also replace celery in celery smoothies or green juice. But it is most popular as a celery substitute in bolognese.
Moreover, I suggest you replace celery with it in your green juice because it is great for weight loss. Fennel stalks have a low GI (glycemic index) value but a high fiber content. Therefore, it makes for the perfect low-calorie food.
5. Bok Choy
Bok Choy, or Chinese cabbage, pak choi, and pok Choi, is also a famous substitute for bok choy. Bok Choy is a great option in Asian meals instead of celery. It is quite healthy, crunchy, juicy (almost 95 percent water), and nutritious. I particularly like it as a celery substitute in potato salad.
Bok Choy is full of essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Bok Choy is packed with selenium, an element known to decrease the rate of tumor growth. Moreover, it also contains vitamin B, beta-carotene, and folate. I have already mentioned their benefits in the substitutes above.
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Unlike the substitutes mentioned above, this one is not for cooking. Therefore if you ever use it in place of celery, make sure that it is in a salad. Cucumbers are not fit for cooking, neither do they carry a lot of taste. However, their power lies in their refreshing crunchy juiciness.
Cucumbers also have many health benefits. First and foremost, we have their nutrient content.
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Next, cucumbers are rich in antioxidants and are a great way to hydrate your body. An average cucumber consists of 96 percent water. Moreover, they maintain low blood sugar levels and also help with losing weight.
You can use cucumbers as a celery substitute in tuna salad.