Celery belongs to a class of plants known as stalk or stem vegetables, so-called because we eat their firm stem, or stalk. Several other stalk vegetables closely resemble celery in form, although they usually cannot be directly substituted.
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Cardoon stalks look quite similar to celery, but their flavor is closer to that of an artichoke. Cardoons are highly fibrous and only edible when cooked; they feature most prominently in Italian cooking. Peel cardoons first with a vegetable peeler, then cut and dip into acidulated water before they turn brown. Cardoon stalks can be boiled, steamed or breaded and fried. They are a traditional accompaniment to the hot anchovy and oil dip known as bagna cauda.
Chard is a leafy vegetable that comes in a rainbow of shades, from red to yellow to white. Both the leaves and the stems of chard are edible; it is the ribbed stalks of white chard that most resemble a white celery stem. Chard stems can be pickled, cooked in a gratin, chopped and sauteed or even eaten raw. Chard stems have a mild vegetable flavor.
Rhubarb's bright red color will likely prevent anyone from confusing it with celery, although its ribbed stalks bear a superficial resemblance. Rhubarb's flavor is famously tart; paradoxically, it's often treated as a dessert vegetable and made into jams and pies, which allows the cook to incorporate a great deal of sugar to offset its natural flavor. It can also be used in a sweet-tart sauce for meat.
Chinese celery is a relative of the celery plant, with thinner stalks and more leaves. Its flavor is stronger than celery, both grassier and a bit peppery. Because of its stronger flavor, it is almost always served cooked. Add it to soups and stir-fries.