7 creative ways to enjoy the taste and crunch of celery
The last time I visited my mum, she proudly showed me her vegetable garden. The biggest surprise was seeing her celery. The plants were HUGE, but the most surprising part was that she had bought the celery from the supermarket, chopped it at the base to eat the stalks, and had then planted the base in the ground which had regrown into large, fresh looking celery and mum was so proud. Enjoyment doesn’t just come from eating great food, it can also come from the growing process too.
If you look up the health benefits of celery, the results may surprise you in a positive way. It’s a good source of potassium and provides low calorie dietary fibre. I have also noticed over the years that the stringiness in celery seems to have reduced. Since then, I have eaten it a lot more I love the fresh taste and that unforgettable snack-time crunch. I find it to be the perfect partner to many recipe ingredients, adding a freshness that’s not easily achieved otherwise. Celery is a great addition to salads, soups and stews and I love using it in different ways, like adding celery salt to dishes like scrambled eggs and on tuna melts.
As we head towards the warmer months, I find myself looking for healthy, fresh juices for my family and myself. I love the idea of colourful creations, and how they can add a vibrancy of uplifting colours to the table. Try these red, orange and green celery inspired smoothies and take a look at some of the other great ways you can enjoy celery. Bon appetit!
Here are 7 ways to make celery taste great:
- Celery stalk toppers- My kids have an appetite for snacking that knows no bounds. I’m always looking forcreative ways to provide them with creative options and I find that the shape and stability of celery stalks make them perfect for fillings. The options are only limited by your imagination, some ideas include Cottage, Ricotta or Philadelphia cheese combined with chopped caramelised onion, mushrooms, semi-sundried tomatoes and/or olives. You could also make a tuna salad using your favourite tuna, grated ginger, lemon zest, avocado and a mayonnaise or similar sauce. Combine and top onto the celery. To add texture and interest, I sometimes use a piping bag with a rosette or similar nozzle. I love involving my boys in the kitchen and this is a final touch they enjoy doing themselves. Other topper options include peanut butter, dips or guacamole.
- Sensational salads - I love the fresh crunch of celery in salads. Try this apple celery and ginger salad from fellow contributor, Callum Roberts. It's sure to revitalise and lift your energy levels. Another salad to try combines celery with pineapple and walnuts and will have your family and friends coming back for more, or for a tasty lunchtime treat, take a look at this celery and prawn salad by Schreurs and Sons. Delicious!
- Marinated Sicilian caponata – I love trying new meals and Chef Martijn Korving delivers a full flavoured Italian dish, which can be eaten on the side of a main meal or as a delicious sauce over pasta. Featuring eggplant (aubergine), celery and capsicum (sweet-pointed pepper) it is one that’s sure to please even the most discerning guest.
- Soup - For cold evenings, nothing beats a hearty minestrone soup. I’ve always loved homemade soups and this one is so delicious. In an oiled saucepan on medium heat, add 2 celery stalks sliced diagonally into 1cm portions, 1 thinly sliced leek, a teaspoon of rosemary and 1 clove of minced garlic. Stir until softened. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste and 1 litre of vegetable stock. I like to include an assortment of vegetables, so I often head to the freezer for a top up of 500 grams of mixed vegetables. Simmer until the vegetables have softened. I love how the celery is infused with the flavours of this soup. You could also add chopped spinach or kale to the dish. Others may like to include beans and/or pasta. Season to taste and serve with a dollop of sour cream and buttered sourdough or garlic bread alongside. Amazing!
- Bouquet garni – At the end of this French inspired Ratatouille recipe is a description of how to create your own bouquet garni, using a selection of herbs tied together and used to flavour various dishes. Try it for yourself. It really makes such a difference!
- Smoothies -This refreshing apple, celery and cucumber smoothie uses a flavour combination of only 4 ingredients - ginger, celery, cucumber and apples. Not only is it big on flavour, but it will also look great on the table.
- Potato salad – This often featured in dinners when I was growing up. My mum always took a layered approach to the dinner table, with many options available to try. Now that I have my own family and understand the commitment it takes to be creative, while serving healthy and wholesome meals daily, I look back and fondly recall the dishes from my childhood. There are so many ways to make potato salad. One of my favourites uses boiled potatoes, celery, hard boiled eggs and capers. For the sauce I combine mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and chopped dill. If I’m pressed for time or missing ingredients for the dressing, I have been known to cheat and use a Masterfoods tartare sauce. My mum used to top her potato salad with walnuts. It not only acts as a garnish, but it tastes great too!
For more great recipe ideas, type your vegetable or cuisine in the search bar or check out Salapedia.