What’s the Best Celery Root Substitute?
If you don’t have any around or simply you have an aversion to celeriac, we’ve got you covered. Choose your celery root substitute, depending on the dish you’re preparing!
Celeriac is quite the underdog when it comes to cooking, maybe because of its gnarly, lumpy aspect, and maybe because of its flavor! Who knows why it hasn’t become more popular? The stalks, leaves, and roots are edible and quite tasty, incredibly fragrant and versatile, not to mention being full of nutrients!
When raw, celery root is crunchy. When cooked, the texture becomes smooth, rich, and a little starchy. Its aroma is earthy, nutty, a little minty or piney, and pungently herbal. It has a peppery, refreshing kick to it and it’s rather salty by default.
Celery root is a great addition to many foods whether boiled, simmered, roasted, grated, puréed, grilled, or raw. But if you don’t fancy it or you’ve simply run out, you may need to find a substitute. Here is how to find the best celery root alternatives for dishes!
Choose your celery root substitute depending on the dish you’re making
1. What can you replace celery root with in soups?
It has a soft texture and delicate flavor, and it is creamy while it maintains a crunch when slightly cooked. Celery root is ideal in soups, but it can be replaced, fret not!
Parsnips are similar in terms of taste and texture, and they even look similar to celeriac. It might just be your best option when replacing celery root.
Parsnip, however, tends to have more of an intense herbal smell than celery root, and it’s sweeter when cooked. Texture-wise, both parsnip and celery are smooth, light, and creamy, parsnip even more so while celery root tends to maintain a slight crunch.
In soups, broths, and reductions, stews, and sauces, salads and raw dishes, carrots are great choices to stand in for celery root.
When cooked, carrots become soft and sweet. While they will not provide the same taste and intensity in terms of flavor, carrots will mimic the texture and sweetness of cooked celery root. Another downside is that being orange, carrots might alter the color of your dish. Keep this in mind!
2. The best celery root alternative in salads
The following ingredients maintain their crispy bite when raw, and yet still have a soft side. Here’s what to add instead of celery root to your salads!
Jicama is similar to potatoes in appearance. You can add it raw or slightly cooked to your salads, to replace celery root. They both have a crunch when raw, though jicama is rather sweet and mild in terms of flavor. And when raw, it’s juicier than celery root, which tends to be on the dry side.
- Daikon Radish
While it tastes good roasted or cooked, daikon radish is a perfect ingredient to replace celery root in salads. It’s white and has a mildly peppery flavor. Sure, you’ll get a hint of spiciness, typical for radishes, but it’s rather smooth.
Daikon is also crunchy, just like celery root. In terms of taste, the spiciness will help to mimic celery’s herbal intense aroma. But you won’t have that particular parsley-like smell.
- Chopped Celery
Chopped celery is a good alternative to celery root. The leaves and stalks of celery are quite juicy, aromatic and have a watery crunch. They have an earthy taste with a slightly salty and tart undertone.
They are also quite fragrant and peppery. In terms of consistency, celery stalks and leaves are watery, not creamy, so don’t count on them to obtain the rich texture of celery root in cooked dishes. But do add them to add flavor to sauces and especially to salads.
3. What to use instead of celery root in sauces?
Celery root can add extra flavor and a dollop of rich creaminess to sauces. But there are other ways to make your sauces extra flavorsome, trust us!
- Parsley Root
Many of us add the fragrant leaves of parsley to our foods. But the root is quite tasty too! And it’s a good choice to replace celery root in soups, roasts, and sauces.
They are similar in terms of color and texture (cooked and raw), and they provide a similar flavor as well, somewhere in between celery and carrot. Parsley is a good addition to any cooked dish.
You can easily find turnips in most groceries. Their firm, crispy texture when raw and their smooth feel when cooked make turnips an appropriate celery root substitute. In terms of aroma, turnips are earthy, nutty, and sweet but lack that peppery vibe. They can be added to sauces or they can be eaten raw.
4. The best celery root substitute in stews, roasts, and cooked dishes
When roasted, braised, fried, and anyhow cooked, celery becomes soft, creamy, mushy, and incredibly sweet. The following vegetables have the same characteristics so they can easily replace celery root.
- Fennel Bulb
Yes, the fennel bulb could be a good celery root replacement in cooked dishes. The white part of the fennel is sweet in flavor and keeps a crunchy texture when cooked. Make sure not to cook it for as long as you’d cook celery root since it will become soft faster.
Another detail you need to know is that fennel tends to have a licorice, anise taste when cooked. When raw, fennel is similar to celery root in terms of smell.
Tender, starchy, creamy, and rich, potatoes are quite savory. They are perfect for replacing celery root in cooked dishes, from soups to roasts.
They are sweeter and more earthy with a nutty aroma but lack that herbal, peppery taste. However, when it comes to texture, potatoes and celery behave the same when cooked; they become soft, creamy, starchy, and sweet.
- Butternut Squash
While it will not have the musky, zesty, earthy, peppery, and herbal flavor that celery has, butternut squash has a sweet hint. When cooked, both of them become sweeter, nuttier, mushy, and creamy. Butternut squash will need a hint of salt to give it that savory flavor of celery root.
Rutabaga is one of the best substitutes for celeriac even though it is not particuarly popular. We suggest you use rutabaga in cooked recipes because it is quite similar to celery. When cooked it becomes sweet and has a savory undertone.
This plant, related to kale, broccoli, and cabbage, has white bulbs that are tender, mild, and sweet in flavor, just like celery root. In cooked recipes, whether simmered, baked, braised, roasted, or stir-fried, kohlrabi has the bite of celery and the aroma of a milder cabbage. But it will do the trick.
If celery root is nowhere to be found in your kitchen there are plenty of veggies to replace it. There’s a celery root substitute for every dish and every preference!