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I'm planning on making a cornbread stuffing (likely one of the NYTimes' recipes) for a potluck Thanksgiving. (e.g., stuffing will cooked outside of the turkey)

Unfortunately, all of the recipes require celery. I'm allergic to celery and would like to make a portion without it for myself. What can I substitute for celery that provides the same flavor and texture? Celeriac and celery root are a no-go, and jicama and lovage aren't available where I live.

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    Are you allergic to parsley? Sometimes I use the parsley stems when I need a bit of celery and don't want to buy a whole bunch Nov 17, 2021 at 8:49
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    It's completely not the same flavor, but green bell peppers (or other not-spicy peppers like Anaheim) are pretty close in texture. It's stuffing so you end up with a lump of mush anyway; if you're allergic to celery i would avoid anything close and just make some good tasty mush :)
    – Pointy
    Nov 17, 2021 at 21:55
  • We grew Armenian cucumbers that tasted just like celery, this year (but that's not normal, as I understand it). Nov 18, 2021 at 0:50
  • Feh, my first suggestion was gonna be lovage. Although you'd probably find you were allergic to that too -- it's a close relative.
    – FuzzyChef
    Nov 19, 2021 at 22:30

5 Answers 5

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You don't need to substitute anything, you can just leave it out. I've made both regular and cornbread stuffing with and without celery and I've never felt it was missing anything without celery, in fact I personally prefer it. Celery will release moisture as it cooks, I've found that I can compensate for it by adding a small amount more stock or water at the beginning.

If you want to replace the texture element then I'd suggest chopped peppers, sauteed or roasted to partially cook them as if you add them raw they won't always cook through in time. Other options are apple and onion, although they are stronger flavors that may interfere with the result you want.

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    I would add fennel to your list.
    – moscafj
    Nov 17, 2021 at 12:01
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    I think as celery and fennel are in the same family there's likely to be intolerance to fennel @moscafj .
    – GdD
    Nov 17, 2021 at 13:27
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    Another couple of thoughts which spring to my mind for the texture (but with milder flavors) are asian pears (which can have a Granny Smith-like texture, but very mild flavor) or turnips or daikon (as a substitute for jicama)---there are a lot of mild root veggies which could give a bit of bite to a dressing. Nov 17, 2021 at 14:29
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    maybe a little grated carrot, if you want to get the moisture right - it might, like apple, change the taste though
    – lupe
    Nov 17, 2021 at 15:04
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    The danger of sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) is the potential for severe flatulence. I made a dish with sunchokes ONCE. Never again. Nov 18, 2021 at 19:39
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In my experience, the stalks of swiss chard have a very similar mouthfeel to celery. I find the stalks more fibrous, but that shouldn't be a problem given you'll be cooking them.

Chard is a member of the beet family, whereas celery is a member of the parsley family, so it might not cause the same allergic reaction you experience with celery.

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    And roasting chard stems results in something really delicious
    – Pointy
    Nov 17, 2021 at 21:52
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    And if you’re not a fan of Swiss chard, the stems of bok choy (in the cabbage family) has a similar crunchy texture and high water content
    – Joe
    Nov 17, 2021 at 22:27
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Fennel

By which I mean the vegetable - fennel bulb, not fennel seed. Substitute fennel for all the celery. It is a good fall vegetable and has a great crunch and flavor for stuffing. Fennel stalks actually look and crunch kind of like celery and so will not be weird interlopers.

https://foodprint.org/blog/how-to-use-fennel-stalks-and-fronds/

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For a substitute for celery flavor, I'd suggest fenugreek seeds. They have a flavor that's a mix between celery and maple syrup. Fenugreek can be powerful so it may be good to do a trial run to figure out how much you'd need. The seeds are hard and need to be ground prior to use.

Fenugreek is a member of the Fabaceae family (beans). Apparently it has some cross-reactivity with peanut allergies and many people with peanut allergies are also allergic to fenugreek (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00673/full). I can't say whether or not fenugreek has cross-reactivity with celery allergies.

Fenugreek could be found in Indian groceries, often sold whole.

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  • Fenugreek leaf could also work, although if the OP can't get lovage or jicama, I doubt they can get Fenugreek leaf.
    – FuzzyChef
    Nov 19, 2021 at 22:31
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For me, the crunchy texture of the celery is an important component of stuffing. If I couldn't use celery, I would probably substitute it with something even crunchier, such as water chestnuts for a savory stuffing, or maybe coconut for a sweeter stuffing.

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