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 Amazon.com.
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.
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.