I love celery. Hubby doesn’t. But he’s away at the moment, so my house is currently celebrating this underrated vegetable. Celery deserves more than its “negative calorie” image. I admit in the past I have viewed it only as a vehicle for nut butter, but celery has a load more to offer us than that. Today I am celebrating celery in all its glory.
The quick nutritional run down is that it’s loaded with vitamin K, fibre and potassium, and it is wonderfully alkalising. Throw in antioxidants, a good dose of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C and a little calcium and magnesium, and suddenly celery is looking good. It also contains sodium (the good kind) and so is perfect for rehydration and balancing out the electrolytes when partnered with potassium and the rest of the vitamins and minerals.
But don’t forget the leaves! Often ignored, these fabulous foliage contain more vitamin C, calcium and potassium than the stalks. I use mine as I would parsley, so added to salads, or on top of soups, veg, or beany mixes. They work well juiced or in green smoothies, or you can get fancy and make delicious celery salt a la 101 Cookbooks. It’s so lovely to be able to use the whole vegetable to minimise waste and save some cash.
Making pesto with the leaves is a great example. They don’t keep well, so it’s a nice way of using them up. Use this recipe as a guide, this is how I like it, but you can add more or less of anything to make it your own. I had a complete disaster today in the form of my blender breaking (OMG…hence the lack of smoothie post today) so I made this in my mortar and pestle, which is the best way to make it anyway. You can adjust the texture easily and keep it as chunky as you like. Otherwise if you don’t own one, a food processor or blender is absolutely fine.
Celery Leaf and Macadamia Pesto
1 cup celery leaves
1/3 cup (heaped) macadamias – you can substitute other nuts here also
1/2 – 1 clove of raw garlic
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus optional 1/4 tsp lemon rind
2 tbs olive oil
A decent pinch of sea salt – or to taste
A pinch of chilli powder (optional)
If you’re a dairy lover, feel free to add in a couple of tablespoons of parmesan cheese
Put all ingredients in a food processor, blender or use a mortar and pestle to blend until combined and still slightly chunky. That’s it! Use anywhere you would use pesto – on pasta, on salads, dressings, eggs, veggies or even as a dip.
P.S. Do you have a problem with limp celery? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Because celery has such a high water content, if left out of the fridge for a few hours this will start to evaporate and leave you with limp stalks and leaves. Give it a quick rinse in cold water and pop it in the fridge and you should be able to pep it back up a bit.