by D. R. Hildebrand
Whenever I go food shopping I tend to pick up, ponder, and put back the same foods every time. Most of these foods are in recipes I want to make, but are sold in quantities I will never finish—at least not before they go bad. I get excited when I see them but then pause and picture myself weeks later combing through the refrigerator finding a pile of limp, rotten remains, and I pass.
Celery is my number one culprit. I always intend to eat it but never actually buy it. I don’t have a juicer, though if I did I’m still not sure I’d consume it fast enough, and even with peanut butter I’ve never liked eating it as a snack. So I decided recently that I would tackle celery in spurts: whenever I would buy this vitamin K-rich veggie I would be prepared with a handful of dishes that included it, and I would make them in succession until every stalk was gone.
Here are a few easy recipes for anyone with a similar celery conundrum. Modify them as needed and enjoy. And please feel free to share your own.
Chickpea Melt, makes five to six sandwiches
- two 15-oz cans chickpeas
- four stalks celery, diced
- six tablespoons relish (or half a 10-oz jar)
- two tablespoons mustard
- one tablespoon soy sauce
- onion powder or onion flakes as desired
- tomato slices
- non-dairy cheese
- In a mixing bowl, empty one can of chickpeas and mash them with a masher until they are crushed but not smooth. Empty the second can and repeat.
- Add the celery, relish, mustard, soy sauce, and onion powder and mix them together.
- Toast the bread with the cheese, add slices of tomato, a few spoons of chickpea mix, and eat.
Tofu stir-fry, serves six
- three cups water
- one-and-a-half cups brown rice
- one 14-oz block extra firm tofu, cubed
- four stalks celery
- one onion
- six cloves garlic, diced
- one “knuckle” ginger, diced
- one bag frozen broccoli
- half cup sliced almonds
- sauce or seasoning as desired
- Bring water to a boil. Add rice, reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly until the water is gone, about 45 minutes.
- In a frying pan, place one ounce of olive oil over high heat. Add cubes or slices of tofu and allow them to golden or brown as desired. After five to ten minutes, flip them.*
- In a separate pan, sautée celery over medium heat. After five minutes, as they are softening, add onion. After another five minutes, add garlic and ginger. Stir regularly.
- To the tofu add frozen broccoli and a sauce of your choice (sometimes I make peanut sauce; other times I use Very Teriyaki or Hoisin Garlic Sauce) and lower the heat to medium.
- Once the broccoli has cooked, add in almonds, the sautéed celery, and serve over rice.
*The higher the heat, the quicker the edges of the tofu will harden. Setting the tofu in seasoning before sautéing it will change the taste and keep the tofu a bit fluffier.
Stuffing*, serves six to eight
- five stalks celery, chopped
- two onions, chopped
- four tablespoons non-dairy butter
- four cups vegetable broth
- two bags vegan stuffing mix
*I would make something to go with the stuffing, such as the sweet potato patties and steamed carrots in the photo above. And perhaps we should be using another word for stuffing, since we aren’t “stuffing” anything.
- Sautée celery in the non-dairy butter over medium heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add onions and continue sautéing for five more minutes.
- Add broth and let simmer for three to five minutes.
- Spread the stuffing mix into a 9×12 baking dish and pour the broth mixture evenly throughout. Mix thoroughly and pat the top down with your fingers until it is firm but not dense.
- Bake at 350F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the top is crispy.
Pumpkin White Bean Soup, serves eight to ten
- two to three tablespoons olive oil
- five stalks celery, sliced
- one large onion, chopped
- five cloves garlic, minced
- one “knuckle” ginger, minced
- six cups pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped
- four cups vegetable broth
- four cups water
- one teaspoon thyme
- one teaspoon cumin
- one teaspoon pepper
- half teaspoon salt
- half teaspoon allspice
- two ounces fresh parsley, minced
- two ounces fresh cilantro, minced
- two cups white beans, cooked
- Place a large cooking pot over medium heat and oil. Add celery and sautée for two minutes.
- Add onion, garlic, and ginger and continue sautéing for five more minutes.
- Add pumpkin or squash. Continue sautéing for a few more minutes, then add broth, water, spices, and herbs.
- Let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, then add beans. Simmer a few more minutes, and serve.