Filled Celery Photo

The family’s filled celery.

The Pennsylvania Dutch side of my family has passed this filled celery recipe down for generations–my great-grandmother used it too!  Creamy, mild, and slightly savory, with a delicate pastel coral color, the filling is an absolute delight. The celery is also specially prepared the night before to be crisp, tender, and moist. We looked forward to my mother serving it at every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

The seasoning–G. Washington’s Rich Brown Seasoning–is vegan, and many vegetarians use it to lend a “meaty” or deep flavor to gravy. You can also make “beef” broth with it. It gives this vegan filled celery recipe just enough of a savory flair to make things interesting. Their website has a store locator; if you can’t find it locally you can order it through


My family had lost track of where this recipe came from, but I was able to find it in a cookbook from the 1950’s called “Mary Meade’s Magic Recipes for the Electric Blender.” Oddly enough, we never needed to use a blender to make the filling.

How I Made It Vegan

Easy–I just substituted vegan cream cheese for the dairy cream cheese. I also upped the tomato paste to 2 Tbsp. because for some reason the vegan cream cheese tastes better with an extra tablespoon of it.

Other Changes

My family changed the preparation of the celery, so that you cut off the roots and stand them vertically in water in a pitcher in the fridge the night before. They draw up water just like flowers! This step makes a big difference.

We also use only the celery hearts (the “babies” are the choicest pieces, as in the photo above), so that these are as tender as possible. We ignore the original directions to cut off the leaves, as they are beautifully decorative.

Vegan Filled Celery

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Vegan Filled Celery



  1. The night before, cut the bottom ends off the celery stalks. Stand the stalks upright in a pitcher, fill the pitcher with a few inches of cold water, and put the pitcher in the refrigerator. If you use tiny celery hearts (which I highly recommend!), they may float in the water. That's ok; my mom fondly calls them "floaters."
  2. The next day, take the celery out of the pitcher and dry the stalks well with paper towels.
  3. Use a fork to press and mix the seasoning packets and tomato paste into the vegan cream cheese.
  4. Use a butter knife to fill the celery. Next, either level off the filling with a knife (as in the left and right stalks in the photo), or run the knife down the filling at a 45 degree angle on the left and right side to make a steeple shape (as in the middle stalk in the photo).