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Your vegetarian taste buds are bored of repeated vegetables, and while looking for some new vegetable recipes to try, you stumble on a recipe that asks for celery root but you don't have any or can't find them. So what is the best celery root substitute?
If I were you, I would have thought that the recipe is asking for the root of celery. But surprisingly enough, these vegetables come from two different plants.
Celery is green and leafy, while celery root or commonly called celeriac, is a root vegetable. Although we picture carrots and radishes as root vegetables, celeriac is much more voluminous than both.
Coming back to the recipe that asks for celery root that, unfortunately, you couldn't find anywhere, and you don't want to give up on it, here are some celery root substitutes for you:
Best Celery Root Substitute
Below are eleven vegetables that are some of the best substitutes for celery root.
If the recipe asks for raw celery root, you can choose chopped celery stalks instead of celeriac. However, chopped celery is not a good substitute for celery root in cooked forms.
The primary difference between the two is their cooking texture. While celery root gives a smooth, creamy texture in recipes like mash or soups, chopped celery is watery, leafy, and crunchy.
Chopped celery will mimic the fragrance of celery root in raw forms, such as in salads. So, if you want to substitute celery root in a salad and don't have it, chopped celery is your best bet.
Parsley root is an excellent root vegetable substitute for celery root. You will get the same color and texture in its cooked form with this vegetable. Both vegetables will yield a creamy, white texture.
However, the taste will be different.
Celery root is more on the peppery side with a sweet undertone. On the other hand, Parsley root lacks the peppery, spicy kick. Instead, it gives a sweet flavor that resembles carrots.
So, if you're looking forward to substituting celery root in a sauce or soup, don't expect the same flavor profile but the same texture.
If the recipe you want to try is a celeriac slaw, you can substitute celeriac with Kohlrabi without a doubt.
Although both the vegetables have different texture profiles, they share a peppery kick to them which can mimic each other's flavors pretty well.
Kohlrabi is a vegetable from the cabbage family with a crunchy texture and sweet-yet-peppery flavor. The vegetable's crunch will not make it a perfect substitute for celery root in cooked dishes, but its peppery under-taste works pretty well in the uncooked form.
Rutabaga is a cross between cabbage and turnips and a great substitute for celery root.
Both vegetables have firm textures (rutabaga is firmer, though), and they yield creamy consistency when cooked.
When peeling, both vegetables will give you some bicep workouts. While rutabaga doesn't have the signature bumpy skin of celery root, its skin is quite challenging to peel off, the same as the celery root skin.
On the flavor profile, rutabaga carries sweetness, spiciness, and a bit of bitterness (that might be absent from celery root) which makes it closely related to celery root in its taste.
However, there's a catch. Cooked rutabaga turns mustard yellow while celery root remains white on cooking.
So, if you don't have an accurate dish color in your head, you can use rutabaga in your soups or stews instead of celery root.
Parsnips are another excellent substitute for celery root. Please do not confuse them with a white carrot because they come from another plant despite being closely related to carrots.
Parsnips have a sweet flavor that gets sweeter on cooking. The texture is firm, and the flavor undertone is nutty and earthy.
While they can be one of the best celery root substitutes due to having the same color and similar texture, they taste much sweeter without the peppery, zesty celery root flavor.
Another difference in both vegetables is their cooked texture. Celery root is slightly crunchy, even with the smooth and creamy finish that parsnips do not have.
So, you can substitute celery root with parsnips, but some aspects will be missing.
Belonging to the mustard family, turnip is one of the most versatile root vegetables that you can have. The best part is that its taste matches celery roots' taste, making it a contender for substitution.
Instead of celery root, you can use turnips in soups, braised dishes, baked dishes, or even salads.
Turnips have a peppery, sweet flavor (that can get bitter if you pick over-matured turnips) that resembles a celery root flavor profile.
Besides substitution, turnip and celery root have such complementing tastes and textures that you can use them together in vegetable mash and salads.
Closely related to turnips, Daikon radishes grow in Asian regions of Japan and South Asia.
In summers, the vegetable is a table favorite in its raw form and cooked in stews and even pickled.
Daikon radishes look like giant white carrots and taste milder than the red-skinned radish. They carry the spiciness but are mellow than the smaller, red-skinned variety.
For the texture, which is firm and crunchy, and its spiciness, you can use it as a substitute for celery root. However, Daikon radishes are not fragrant like celery root, so using some chopped celery in your dish with Daikon radish will achieve the celery root taste and smell.
If you ignore the color of your dish, carrots make one of the best celery root substitutes.
Celery root has a similar cooked and uncooked texture as carrots. On cooking carrots, you get the same buttery sweet texture as celery root, and while raw, they offer the same crunch to your salads or coleslaws.
You can substitute celery root with carrots in your soups, stews, or stir-fried vegetables with only one aspect lacking.
Carrots do not have an aroma like celery root, so adding celery or parsley to your cooked or uncooked dish will solve the issue.
Fennel bulb is an aromatic root vegetable that can give a tough competition to the rest of the substitutes.
The voluminous bulb has a distinct smell that resembles licorice, and people consume the vegetable, particularly for its fragrance.
You can use it as an alternative to celery root in soups and stews, but it may not work well in a mash.
The reason is its much crunchier texture. To get the starchy, smooth texture in a mash or puree, our next contender is waiting in the queue.
What doesn't pair well with potatoes? I have no vegetable or protein to single out. Potato is undoubtedly one of the most versatile root vegetables and makes a fine choice as a celery root alternative.
Both vegetables are thick, starchy, and creamy when cooked in stews or mashed to purees.
You can use both for making a stir-fry or a cold salad by boiling them or incorporating them in your pot roasts.
Whatever you will do, these vegetables will taste exceptional, with the only struggle with potatoes not having an aroma.
That's not a biggie, though.
You can add celery salt or freshly chopped parsley to your dish on completion to get the herbaceous aroma that celery root offers.
The only problem you can face with a potato is that you can't use it raw in salads, pairing it with other vegetables (Though there's a Chinese raw potato salad you can save for your less picky days).
With its sweet flavor and buttery cooked texture, butternut squash can substitute for celery root, particularly in purees, soups, or a mash.
However, you will need to adjust the salt and pepper to meet the goal of the salty and peppery celery root flavor you want to achieve in your dish.
Another point of concern is the vegetable's color which is much darker than the white celery root.
If you need a specific colored soup or a pureé, do not use butternut squash as an alternative to celery root. Instead, go for any other white-colored vegetable that mimics the taste and texture when cooked.
Celery root is an underused vegetable in the US. It's hard to find in the local grocery store, so if you want to add it to a dish, you either need to wander a lot or substitute it with one of the suggested vegetables from the list.
Whatever you do, don’t stop the search for this unique vegetable so that you can create the best alternate recipes.