You can usually find it raw, sitting next to other veggies in the crudité platter, or showing off its "wild" side in a Caesar. But celery isn't just an afterthought — the veggie is wonderful for enhancing the flavour of soups, adding a nutritious crunch to salads and even spiced up as a side dish.
It's time to get your crunch on and discover just how delicious celery can be.
Although it may seem like just a stick of crunchy water, don’t be fooled. Celery is actually loaded with nutritional benefits. Rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as vitamin A, B, C and K, it’s great to keep your heart healthy and, according to Chatelaine, has even been known to prevent certain types of cancer.
Researchers at the University of Illinois also suggest that celery may help prevent Alzheimer’s, thanks to a compound called L-3-N-Butylphthalide, and prevent UTIs by expelling water from your body without depleting it from its potassium.
What’s more, The University of Maryland Medical Center reports eating celery every day also helps lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. And it goes without saying that chomping on celery regularly is great if you're looking to maintain a trim figure or lose weight, since it’s high in water and fibre.
Studies show celery has been proven to help repel mosquitos. That’s right! Extensive testing says that the oil extracted from celery repelled the pesky little bugs when used topically on the skin.
Picking the Crunchiest Celery
Celery is easily available all year. When choosing your celery, look for stalks that are tightly bunched together and crisp, rather than rubbery. The leaves should be vibrant and green with no black spots, which could be a sign of insect damage. The best way to avoid bitter celery is to look in the centre for a rounded stem. A great tasting, healthy celery should have a few thin stalks in the centre. Once you get your celery home, it will keep in the fridge, The Kitchn suggests wrapping the bunch in foil, to keep stalks crisp for weeks.
Preparing Your Celery
Celery may be one of the most low-maintenance vegetables out there. When you’re ready to eat it, simply rinse the celery under cool water to remove any dirt, chop into pieces and top with your favourite spread (we like nut butters and raisins, ricotta and dried fruit, or cream cheese and hot sauce). Or you could try one of these recipes!
Crunchy and delicious, the fibre of celery combined with the protein of the chickpeas make the perfect lunch or side salad.
8 large celery stalks, stripped of its strings
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 ½ cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp golden raisins
½ cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1. Start by slicing your celery stalks thinly, about 1/8-inch thick. The easiest way to do this is to use a mandolin. Place in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, add the chickpeas and the Parmesan dressing and toss to coat. Add the celery, golden raisins and about ¾ of the almonds. Combine well and season with salt to taste.
4. Divide the salad between four bowls. Top with the remaining almonds and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese.
Great as a side dish, but why not try it over pasta or quinoa?
1 bunch celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with their juices
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place the celery in a steamer above 1 inch of boiling water. Steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir to combine well. Add the celery and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Taste as adjust seasonings as needed.
3. Eat as a side or over rice, pasta or quinoa.
The depth of flavour added by roasting the vegetables is unbelievable. Dare I say, this soup strikes a perfect balance between light lunch and comfort food.
8 large celery stalks, chopped into large pieces
½ bulb fennel, cut into large pieces
2 whole cloves garlic
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
3 medium redskin potatoes
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Celery and fennel leaves, to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the celery, fennel and garlic in a large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly and roast for about 40-45 minutes, tossing occasionally to brown evenly.
2. In the meantime, cook the potatoes in the chicken broth until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Set aside.
3. Once vegetables are roasted, add them to the potatoes and broth.
4. Working in batches, add part of the soup and veggies to a blender and puree until smooth (make sure you leave an opening for steam to escape. You’ll avoid the unpleasant mess that comes with the lid blowing off). Return the soup to a clean saucepan and add Greek yogurt.
5. When all soup has been pureed, set over medium heat and add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with fennel fronds, celery leaves or a few parsley leaves to garnish.
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