The Potager

The Potager

Friday, June 29, 2012

Foodie Friday - A celery substitute

I have heard it is difficult to grow celery. I have never tried it, and I probably never will. I don't use that much celery to begin with, and during the summer I have a secret substitution that grows easily.
Swiss Chard. I particularly love Bright Lights. The colors are so amazing! If you have a garden and have never grown chard, you need to try it next year. It is easy to grow and will not bolt in the heat of summer. When small the leaves are tasty in a salad and when full size it's a cut and come again vegetable.  According to June's Cooking Light magazine, a cup of cooked chard greens has six times your daily recommended intake of vitamin K, which helps with bone health. And having just had another birthday, bone health is becoming more important to me
Chard has two parts, the sweet tasty leaves and the crunchy stem. Because they cook differently, most recipes use one part or the other. Most recipes, in fact, use the green and say things like "discard the stems". What? Throw away a perfectly yummy part of a vegetable? Never.
After I use the leaves in something yummy, like White pizza topped with Garlic and Swiss Chard,
I save the stems to use within one day. There are plenty of recipes for the stems, but I also use them as a celery replacement in tuna, egg and chicken salads. Chard, like celery, is higher in sodium than most vegetables, and it is crunchy. It doesn't taste like celery (celery seems sweeter and saltier than chard to me) but when added to a salad it serves the same purpose. But more colorfully!
Simply slice and /or chop up the chard stems as you would celery for your favorite salad. Today I am making egg salad.
Do you see how beautiful they are? We could call this confetti egg salad! But we won't. It's just the color my egg salad is in the summer. Oh and this was taken before the mayo was added.
There it is, ready to eat. Yum, Yum. Next time you have chard stems left over, try using them as a celery sub. They are really good - and good for you!


  1. What a good idea! I grow chard and use the stems -- but I never thought of using them raw and chopped in the place of celery. Celery does not grow here (in the Memphis area -- where we are 100+ degrees all this week and next it looks like, 105 tomorrow!). Thanks for the tip!

  2. I make my own salsa sauce. Sub 'd chopped shard stalk for celery.! WoW! Whole new tang and sutlle earthyness! Thanks for the idea.