What You Can Use Instead Of Celery In Tuna Salad

Celery might be one of the most underappreciated members of the vegetable family. While it has a nice, refreshing crunch, many people find it bland and boring. It is even stereotyped as the kind of "diet" food that gives low-calorie vegetables a bad name. Naturally, too, this is just one of the mistakes everyone makes with celery.

However, celery isn't simply a big, low-calorie stalk of nothingness. While it is a low-calorie food, delivering just 14 calories in a single cup, it is also a great source of fiber and essential antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer, according to WebMD. A diet that is high in celery has also been linked to lowered rates of inflammation, which can lead to serious illnesses, including osteoporosis and arthritis, according to Healthline. Eating celery has also been linked to lowering blood pressure and improving one's digestion, thanks to the presence of a healthy polysaccharide called apiuman. The vegetable's fiber and high water content has even been shown to aid in weight loss and help individuals maintain a healthy weight.

Because of its crunch and health properties, celery has made its way into many classic dishes, including tuna salad.

Celery is a standard tuna salad ingredient

While it might not deliver as rich or strong a flavor as more superstar vegetables like peppers or ripe tomatoes, there are still few things more satisfying than breaking into a crisp, crunchy stalk of fresh celery. This makes it an essential ingredient for dishes like tuna salad, which are enhanced by the added texture — not to mention that it's an easy way to slip some extra veggies into your diet and enjoy all those additional health benefits. Most standard tuna salad recipes include chopped-up slices of celery as a main ingredient, along with mayonnaise, red onion, lemon, and, of course, canned tuna, according to Simply Recipes.

But it's not just tuna salad that can benefit from the satisfying snap of sliced celery. Just about any type of salad sandwich can be livened up with a little bit of extra texture — even vegan ones. Many tasty chickpea salad sandwiches, which deliver a punch of plant-based protein with mashed chickpeas and substitute vegan mayo for extra creaminess, still include celery slices in the recipe for its satisfying crunch, per The Simple Veganista.

Celery can be replaced with a number of crunchy vegetables

However, not everyone is a big fan of celery. Despite its many benefits, some people simply don't enjoy the taste. But that doesn't mean your tuna salad sandwiches have to suffer. For those who are truly opposed to celery, or simply don't want to have to buy a whole stalk of celery for just one recipe, there are plenty of other ways to deliver that tasty crunch to your homemade tuna salad. In fact, just about any other fresh, crisp vegetable will do. Kristine's Kitchen Blog recommends adding slices of carrots, chopped cucumber, or bell peppers to achieve that crunch, along with an extra punch of flavor.

And even if you don't want to replace the celery entirely, there are plenty of ways to take your tuna salad recipe up a notch while still including the classic ingredient. For an extra crunchy tuna salad, a combination of celery, carrots, onions, and minced fennel can add a little something special. However, if you are not looking to just make your grandmother's tuna salad, edamame, avocado, and even bacon can add some unexpected flavor (via The Kitchn). And if you are really looking to spice up your tuna salad, cilantro, lime juice, minced red peppers, and minced jalapeño peppers deliver a tasty kick of both texture and heat (via Simply Recipes).

Leftover celery can be used in a variety of ways

However, if the only thing holding you back from adding the celery to your tuna salad is the worry that whatever you don't use will go to waste, there are plenty of other yummy ways to utilize celery in other dishes. It can also be chopped and sprinkled atop a salad, made into a hearty vegetable stew, braised and served as the main course, or even blended and used as a base ingredient in your new favorite cocktail (via Epicurious). For an easy and healthy snack on the go, celery also makes a great juice or smoothie ingredient (via A Couple Cooks). And, of course, a stalk of celery can also make a great, nutritious snack just on its own, or with a side of hummus or your favorite dressing for a little extra flavor.

Ultimately, these are just a few of the best celery substitutes, but there is no shortage of ways to use up that whole stalk of fresh, healthy celery if you have some left over after preparing your tuna salad.