We get that celery doesn’t have the best reputation in the food world, especially with children. But hear us out!
It’s more than some type of diet food; celery has a ton of flavor and texture to it, making it a tremendous low-calorie ingredient for various dishes. Plus, it offers a lot of fiber without the fat or carbs. (*)
That said, there are times we’ll need celery substitutes.
You might have run out of celeries after munching on them nonstop, or you and the household hate the vegetable and want something you would actually enjoy eating.
Either way, there are many options, so read on as we show you what you can use instead of celery!
Here is Our Best Celery Substitute List For Soups, Salads, Stuffing, Juice, And Stews
You’ll be surprised by what you can use to substitute celery. We presume that it’s tough to find a celery substitute, given its distinct taste and texture. But there are at least a dozen to use if you’re allergic, ran out, or just don’t like celery.
Here are the best options we love (and may use again):
Carrots offer the similar texture celery has and just as many health benefits! They are a great pair with celery sticks for snacking, or you can eat carrot sticks alone if you’ve run out of celery. (*)
2. Bok Choy
We highly recommend bok choy as a celery substitute if you’re preparing raw and cooked dishes. It’s a popular celery substitute since it doesn’t taste as ‘bland’ as celery does, tasting somewhat similar to mushrooms. Plus, bok choy is versatile, pairing excellently with casseroles, stews, and stir-fries.
Bok choy also has celery’s stalky appearance, without any strings. It’s linked to cabbage but has a bit of resemblance to lettuce at the top. If you want the nice crunch celery has, use bok choy as a whole raw vegetable in salads.
Besides the mildly sweet flavor and softer yet crunchy texture, bok choy has a lot of health benefits, like celery!
3. Fennel Stalks
If you use fennel bulbs for cooking, don’t throw the stalks away! These stalks have a crunchy texture and herbal flavor, almost like celery stalks. Fennel stalks can be an excellent celery substitute for soups, cooked dishes, slow-braised stews, and even mirepoix, a dish that requires celery.
While fennel stalks will take a bit longer to cook compared to celery, they are actually more flavorful, in our opinion.
Fennel stalks have a bit of an aniseed or licorice flavor with some sweetness thrown in. If you aren’t a massive fan of its unique flavor, subdue it when braising or making sauces and stews. Fennel stalks are also great to throw into a vegetable broth, giving it more of an anise flavoring.
4. Chinese celery
Chinese celery is the Asian variety of Western celery. Yes, technically, it’s celery, but hey, you might have some of these at home to use as a substitute for your regular celery.
Both varieties are different because Chinese celery dons thinner stems and more leaves, giving out much stronger flavors. This is oriental celery used as a substitute for regular celery when cooking stir-fries or soups. They are also best in Asian dishes, like dim sum.
To start with a small amount first, as it has a stronger, grassier flavor!
This is also known as the Cardone, which is a leaf-stalk vegetable. Similar to the fennel stalk, the Cardoon requires more time for cooking. The Cardoon’s stalks appear like celery, but it’s larger and has sharp ridges. (*)
This is an excellent celery substitute if you don’t like the taste of celery but like artichokes. The Cardoon has a delicate and sweet flavor similar to artichokes. It is also a healthy ingredient, with people benefiting from its low-calorie count to reduce cholesterol.
You probably have cabbage in your fridge already, so this is a quick yet effective fix if you have none of the celery substitutes mentioned above. Cabbage is a great celery alternative if you’re making risotto or soup, as it has a crunch similar to celery. Simply add more flavor to the cabbage by adding a bit of salt.
One cabbage variety we like using is Chinese cabbage, especially for stir-fry recipes.
6. Water Chestnuts
Like Chinese celery, you can find water chestnuts in many Asian dishes. It’s a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine and has a similar texture and flavor as celery. Make sure that you get fresh water chestnuts and not the canned ones. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much flavor it has.
Water chestnuts have a similar texture to apples and pears so that you can get that crunch. Also, it tastes sweet, with an almost fruity flavor. You’ll want to try this as a celery substitute on stir-fry recipes.
Jicama is a round root vegetable from Mexico, giving a similar crunch like celery, having a texture similar to turnips and flavors identical to apples. They are also known as yam beans, with a nice texture and subtle sweetness to them.
This is a suitable celery substitute when it comes to snacks, salads, and crudites. We love having Jicama raw as snacks, whether with celery or as a substitute for it.
8. Broccoli Stems
Some of us would discard broccoli stems, focusing more on the florets. Don’t do that and save those stems because you can use them later on, especially if you need a quick celery substitute!
After all, the stems have a similar crunch to celery stalks, so it makes sense. When cooking stir-fry dishes that require celery, you can use this, cutting them lengthwise to have more of the celery texture and look. You can also chop them. Heck, cut it however you want; it’ll still make a good celery substitute!
When making soup that needs celery and you have none or hate the taste, you can go for asparagus instead. They have a nice, crunchy texture to them. Or, you can use it for stir-fries when you have no celery, but take note that the outcome will be a bit crispier, especially when baked.
10. Green Onion
Also known as scallions, you can use these instead of celery, though note that you can lose some crunchy texture. However, you won’t notice its texture when using green onions over celery in soups and stews.
You may also use green onion for a slight crunch in salads, such as potato, tuna, or egg salads. You can expect a mild garlic and onion flavor without much of the bitterness celery has, so there’s a significant flavor difference there.
Because green onion has a stronger flavor, only use half the amount stated in the recipe.
11. Cucumbers or Green Apples
Cucumbers sound good, but green apples might be a first to you! How are green apples suitable as celery substitutes? In salads, of course.
Celery is a common salad ingredient for the crunch and not so much for its flavor. While cucumbers and green apples don’t taste like celery, they have the same crunchy texture. They are best for salads or sweeter dishes, but maybe avoid using green apples on soups and stir-fries? Unless the sweet flavor of apple is your thing, no judgment!
Leeks taste a bit more like onion compared to celery, but honestly, we feel it can actually elevate the flavor of certain dishes, especially if you love onions! They are related to onions, chives, shallots, and garlic, having a sweet onion flavor.
These are root vegetables with the same color and texture as celery, adding good flavor and mouthfeel to stir-fries, casseroles, and soups.
14. Celery Salt
If you only need the celery flavor, you can use celery salt, which is made of salt and grounded celery seeds. You can use these in stews, salads, tomato soups, and pasta sauces that require celery. However, avoid adding too much celery salt to your dish, or the flavor will overpower everything! (*)
Bonus: Frequently Asked Questions
We’re not done with celery just yet! We’ve got more valuable info so you can learn more about celery and what it does for your food. Check out these interesting frequently asked questions:
What is celery?
Celeries are stalk vegetables with a crunchy texture. It has a very distinct flavor and has been a staple in many kitchens, as it’s used for cooking, juicing, or even eaten raw.
Celeries grow in marshlands and have been cultivated in various countries, used as a seasoning, food, and even in herbal medicine. There are a lot of kinds of celery available, ranging from Pascal celery in America, Celeriac in Europe, down the wild celery in other regions. It is part of the Parsley family, a family that includes carrots, coriander, dill, fennel, parsley, among other plants and vegetables.
What can I use celery for?
Use it on chicken salad, soups, stews, or even eat it on its own with your favorite ranch or peanut butter! It’s that versatile and deserves a spot on the list of best veggies if you ask us.
You can use the whole celery, from the leaves to ribs. It can be the main ingredient, side dish, snack, garnish for crunch and color, seasoning, or juices and smoothies.
Wrapping It Up
You can find celery in many dishes, but if you have none at home at the moment, you can also use other ingredients similar to celery. That way, you won’t have to hassle yourself into going all the way to the grocery just to find this vegetable!
We hope that you found the best substitute for celery you can see in your kitchen! Let us know what celery substitutes worked best for you in the comments section below.