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3 BEST Substitutes for Celery to Amp Up Your Recipes

Hey there, fellow kitchen adventurers! If you’re anything like me, you might’ve encountered an ‘oh-no-celery-in-the-fridge’ moment more often than you’d like.

Whether it’s for whipping up that aromatic mirepoix or adding some crunch to a Waldorf salad, celery is a staple in many kitchens. But where’s the fun if we don’t occasionally improvise when we’re missing a key ingredient?

It’s not just a matter of finding a similar texture; each substitute brings its unique flavor. In this blog post, we’re dishing out the details of three impressive veggies that can stand in for celery and give your recipes an exciting twist.

Whether you’re a health enthusiast or a foodie exploring new tastes, these substitutes ensure that flavor and satisfaction won’t be compromised.

Key Takeaways:

  • Celery is a nutritious and versatile vegetable, but sometimes its flavor can be overpowering.
  • Fennel, leeks, and spinach are great substitutes for celery that bring their unique flavors and textures.
  • Use these substitutes in recipes like roasted vegetables, potato leek soup, or tomato basil pasta to add a twist to classic dishes.
  • Keep the ratio in mind when replacing celery with a substitute and adjust accordingly to suit your taste.

Celery: The Star We’re Replacing

Before we unveil our stand-ins, it’s only fair to give a nod to the original star of many a soup, stew, or mirepoix.

Celery is a part of the Apium genus and is, in fact, incredibly nutritious. It’s a low-calorie vegetable that’s a rich source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, making it a staple in many healthy diets.

However, sometimes its bitter or peppery flavor doesn’t quite hit the mark, and that’s where our substitutes come in handy.

1. Fennel

Fennel, with its distinct anise flavor and slightly sweet profile, is the perfect celery replacement when you’re after a complex and aromatic dish.

Its bulb offers a crunch akin to celery, making it ideal for raw dishes or when you need something to hold its texture in a stir-fry.

To Use It: Simply slice it thinly and sauté with a bit of olive oil, or tuck it into a roasting tin with a chicken for a flavor explosion. Replace celery with equal parts fennel whenever you’re feeling a little daring with your culinary creations.

2. Leeks

Leeks are allium vegetables, related to the onion and garlic. They bring a mild, sweet flavor that’s perfect for those who find celery too strong.

Their texture is softer than celery but holds its own when sautéed or simmered in a dish. Plus, they’re easier to digest for those with sensitive tummies.

To Use It: For recipes that call for a base of celery, sweat leeks in butter or oil. Use about double the amount and enjoy the slightly sweeter and more vegetal tones they bring to the table.

3. Spinach

Spinach might seem like a wild card, but hear us out. This leafy green provides a splash of color and a punch of nutrients that few other veggies can match.

It won’t quite give you that crunch, but it’s incredibly versatile. Use spinach in recipes that could do with a little iron boost and a more delicate texture.

To Use It: simply chop or tear spinach leaves and add them in the last few minutes of cooking. This way, you’ll retain that vibrant green color and avoid overcooking them. Use about twice the amount of spinach as celery, and you won’t be disappointed.

Recipes with These Substitutes

Fennel in a Roasted Vegetable Medley

For this hearty side, mix up chunks of fennel, sweet potatoes, and red onions. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and roast until golden brown and caramelized. The fennel will mellow out and infuse the other veggies with its wonderful flavor.

Leeks in Potato Leek Soup

An all-time favorite, potato leek soup swaps celery for leek, creating a creamy, warming bowl of goodness. Sauté leeks and onions in butter, add diced potato, cover with broth, and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender. Blend it up until smooth, and you’ve got a comforting meal.

Spinach in a Tomato Basil Pasta

Toss fresh spinach into your hot, cooked pasta along with a quick tomato basil sauce. The spinach wilts into the sauce, adding both nutrients and a fresh, earthy flavor that pairs beautifully with the acidity of the tomatoes.


In conclusion, don’t let the absence of celery hold you back from creating delicious and nutritious meals. Fennel, leeks, and spinach are just a few fantastic options for adding new flavors and textures to your dishes.

Experimenting with new ingredients is a fun and rewarding way to elevate your cooking skills and expand your culinary repertoire. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting out in the kitchen, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new!


Fennel in a Roasted Vegetable Medley

A hearty and flavorful side dish featuring roasted fennel, sweet potatoes, and red onions. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or holiday gathering.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 188 kcal


  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Knife
  • Cutting board


  • 1 fennel bulb cut into chunks
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine fennel, sweet potato, and red onion.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Toss the vegetables until evenly coated with oil and salt.
  • Spread the vegetables out on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and caramelized, tossing halfway through cooking.
  • Serve hot as a side dish or enjoy leftovers as a delicious addition to salads or sandwiches.


  • Feel free to add other vegetables like carrots or bell peppers to this medley for even more flavor and variety.
  • You can also sprinkle with your favorite herbs or spices for an extra kick. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 3gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 94mgPotassium: 663mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 16110IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 1mg
Keyword roasted vegetable medley, substitutes for celery
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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating