It's crunchy, hydrating, low in calories, and high in nutrients. Plus, celery plays well with other ingredients. What's not to like?
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fresh celery stalks
Credit: Chris Simpson

You know celery: It's light and crunchy, and it often turns up on a crudités platter or stars in salad. Maybe you use it as part of a mirepoix when making soups and stews, but are you overlooking the health benefits and the culinary possibilities of this common vegetable? Here's the lowdown on the immunity boosting wonder. Celery has a mild, earthy, slightly peppery taste. Its stalks are pale green and fibrous, and they grow in bunches of approximately eight to 10. The stalks taper into leaves at the top. Everyone eats the stalks but, "Don't trash the leaves," says New York City-based registered dietitian Amy Shapiro, MS, CDN. "They contain the same nutrients as the ribs, but in more concentrated amounts." Whir a handful into a fruit smoothie, or sprinkle them over soups and salads for a peppery bite.

While celery is largely water, it also provides several important vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin A, which supports immunity, skin, and eye health, and vitamin K, which helps blood to clot and protects bone density. The folate found in celery helps support mental performance; too little has been linked to a higher risk of memory problems and depression. Celery's potassium supports heart function and blood pressure. It's also a good source of fiber, containing one gram per large stalk, which supports good gut health and boosts a feeling of fullness. Last but not least, it delivers a good dose of immune-boosting iron.

You might enjoy celery as a snack, munching on a stalk plain or filled with nut butter or hummus or guacamole, or you may prefer to use it in your green juice. While those are great ways to savor the unique taste and get its nutritional benefits, we also have three inventive and healthy recipes to help you use celery more often.

Tofu-Celery Stir-Fry
Credit: Chris Simpson

Tofu-Celery Stir-Fry

Here's a quick vegetarian main for two with tofu to provide protein. Ginger, scallions, chili-garlic sauce, and cilantro stems kick up the flavor in our Tofu-Celery Stir-Fry.

Green-Grape-and-Celery-Tonic
Credit: Chris Simpson

Green-Grape-and-Celery Tonic

For maximum antioxidant absorption, enjoy the vegetable raw, says Shapiro, like in this vivid green shot of energy. Be sure to serve our Green-Grape-and-Celery Tonic chilled.

Tomato-Braised Celery With Olives
Credit: Chris Simpson

Tomato-Braised Celery with Olives

Both tomatoes and celery help fight free radicals. This briny, nourishing side dish of Tomato-Braised Celery with Olives is nice with pork chops or roasted fish.

Recipes by Lauryn Tyrell; food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich; prop styling by Suzie Myers.

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