The cost of celery is cheap, making it a staple in kitchens around the world. But it's not just used for making "ants on a log" (peanut butter spread on celery and topped with raisins.) Celery gives a crunch to a salad, or flavor to soups, pot roasts or stir-fries. But what if your recipe calls for celery root? Can regular celery be substituted?
As the name implies, celery root is the root of a celery stalk. However, don't expect to find celery with its roots in tact at the store. It is a rarity that a single plant is used for both its stalks and roots. This is because different varieties yield different traits for both parts so a plant may have a bright crispy stalk but a dull and dingy root. Celery root, also called celeriac, has more of a nuttier flavor with a cross between celery and parsley. Its flavor and starchy texture makes it a poor substitute equivalent for celery. Celery root is brown, shaped like a globe and knobby, making it hard to peel.
Celery root can be added to mashed potatoes, made into a gratin, pureed into a soup or shaved into a slaw. Store both celery and celery root in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for up to two weeks. Both celery and celery root are very low in calories, fat and sodium, but both are high in vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
Savory Veggie and Black Bean Soup (Printable PDF)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 cups water
1 can (14-ounce) low-sodium vegetable broth
4 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups salsa
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (14.5-ounce) can no added salt diced tomatoes
In a large soup pot, combine onion, celery, carrots, garlic, cumin, chili powder, pepper, water, broth and 2 cans of the beans. Place remaining 2 cans of beans and salsa in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth. Stir into soup mixture along with the corn and tomatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Yield: 12 servings
Nutrition analysis per serving: 190 calories, 1 gram fat, 570 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrate, 13 grams fiber, 10 grams protein