Stalking the Week: Waving the magical celery wand

Maybe it’s the wand-like shape of a celery stalk which suggests it is imbued with magical, “negative calorie” powers. Let’s just get this out of the way up front: it’s a myth that you burn more calories digesting celery than are actually in the celery itself. And nutritionally, it’s not really a big standout – there’s a reasonable amount of water and vitamin K in each stalk, but mostly it’s just a fiber delivery system.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this relative of carrots and parsley for its other merits, like the crunchy texture and clean, distinctive flavor. Those firm green ribs stand up great to all sorts of dips and schmears, making celery a perennial favorite on the veggie-and-dip tray at parties. But there are several other ways to enjoy it, especially in crunchy salads with fruit or other veggies.

The recipe that got this all started for me was a vegan creamy celery soup in the recent issue of Vegetarian Times. But that recipe isn’t yet posted on their site, and I’m not a big fan of copyright infringement, so I can’t share it with you here. I did manage to find a very similar recipe from Pamela Goes Primal, however, linked in the recipe list at the end of this post.

Celery doesn’t always get top billing in recipes, especially in things like stews and soups, where it more often is there to “sturdy up” the mix of ingredients that might otherwise feel mushy in the mouth. But it serves that purpose admirably, and throwing a few extra ribs into the chipotle veggie stew I found on Whole Foods’ site helped it stand out just a little more.

Want to see how celery works its magic? Here’s your week’s worth of stalk-centric recipes:

  • Crunchy green bean and celery salad from The Bitten Word (here)
  • Celery bites with roasted red pepper cream from Whole Foods (here)
  • Celery, apple salad from AllRecipes (here)
  • Chipotle veggie stew from Whole Foods            (here)
  • Sunny side up lentil salad from Epicurious (here)
  • Celery fennel salad with pumpkin seeds from Epicurious (here)
  • Creamy celery soup from Pamela Goes Primal (here)

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