Love tuna salad, but not a fan of celery? I hear you.
But just because you’re not a fan of celery doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your favorite sandwich either.
There are plenty of options for substitutes for celery in tuna salad that will keep the flavor and texture of the dish intact without having to deal with all those pesky fibrous strands.
So, what’s the best substitute for celery in tuna salad?
The best substitute for celery in tuna salad is cucumber. Cucumbers are an affordable, widely available vegetable that is crunchy, refreshing, and easy to slice into a salad. They can be cut into cubes or into thin strips, and they taste great in a variety of dishes, but they’re especially good in tuna salad.
Still looking for options?
Then keep reading!
16 Best Substitutes for Celery in Tuna Salad
Tuna salad is a classic, but so many people don’t like eating celery that I decided to make a list of the best substitutes.
Why not try out one of these veggies instead?
My personal favorite, and a refreshing alternative with a little less crunch than celery.
If you don’t want it to be too crunchy, you can slice it thinly or even grate it into your tuna salad.
My mom used to do this when I was growing up and I loved it!
More crunch, more sweetness to complement the tuna.
Grating carrots has a similar effect as grating cucumbers (and makes it easier to mix into the tuna), but if you like carrot sticks they’re also a great choice for an alternative—and they come in all those fun colors too!
Next time you’re making a batch of tuna salad, try dicing up half a small onion (or more depending on your personal preference) instead of celery.
The onion will add that crunchy element you’re looking for, plus it’ll give the whole mixture a bit more spice and bite.
If you’re not the biggest fan of onions, don’t worry—they’ll cook down and really only give an overall peppery flavor to the entire thing.
4. Red pepper
This one adds crunch and color without being quite as overpowering as an onion can be.
It also adds some sweetness that can help balance out the saltiness of the tuna itself.
Radishes add a nice peppery flavor and extra crunch to your tuna salad—you can’t get any more different than celery than that!
The taste is a little less sweet than the stalks, and they’ll really amp up the flavor of your tuna salad.
Beets are another great substitute for celery in tuna salad.
They’re a little on the sweet side, but they add some amazing color to your tuna salad too!
If you want to make your tuna salad look like it came from a restaurant, try beets.
They taste great with canned tuna too.
7. Green onion
Green onion is great for adding a little more spice, plus it has a fun green color that contrasts nicely with the pink tuna.
Plus, you could even leave it in longer pieces so that it adds even more crunch than celery does.
Just chop up a few green onions and add them in to your tuna salad before you put it between two slices of bread or eat it with crackers.
8. Green peas
For when you just want to step away from the crunchy veggies and add in something soft and smooth instead.
I recommend thawing them first so they have time to soften up a bit and get ready to mix in with the rest of your salad.
Then, just wash ’em off, drain well, and mash them up a little before adding them into the mixture.
9. Spinach leaves
Spinach leaves are super healthy, so you’re not sacrificing anything when you switch from celery to spinach in your tuna salad.
They also add an unexpected shot of flavor and texture to tuna salad, which makes it taste even more amazing.
In particular, I love using spinach leaves that have been chopped very finely; they almost look like little flakes of celery, but they taste way better.
10. Bamboo shoots
Bamboo shoots have a mild flavor that complements the tanginess of tuna salad perfectly.
What’s more, their crisp texture is reminiscent of celery’s hydrating crunchiness—so you’ll hardly notice the difference between celery and bamboo shoots in your meal!
Cabbage is crunchy, colorful, and nutritious!
What more could you want?
Just add a cup of shredded cabbage to your tuna salad instead of the celery.
It’ll have the same satisfying crunch and delicious flavor, but with way more nutritional value.
12. Bok choy
Next up: bok choy.
This cabbage variety is crispy, asian-flavored, and full of fiber and vitamins A and C.
How do you use it in place of celery? Just use one cup of chopped bok choy instead of the celery.
You’ll still get that satisfying crunch with an extra kick from the asian flavors in this vegetable.
You’ll get a kick out of this spicy replacement for celery.
The jalapeño will add a little bit of heat to your tuna salad, but it will also give you an extra crunchy texture that you may miss if you’re used to eating tuna with celery.
I know what you’re thinking, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
Apples make a great substitute for celery because they have just enough sweetness that makes them perfect among all other fruits that could be added to tuna salad.
15. Broccoli stalks
You’ve got the florets for the salad—why not use the stalks in it as well?
They’ll add more fiber and nutrients than most vegetables out there!
The crunchiness of the stalk will also mimic that of celery very well, so you can keep that satisfying texture while adding a bit more substance to your meal.
You can enjoy some nice acidity from this substitute, which will be especially useful if your tuna salad is on the sweeter side.
Just make sure you remove any excess water before adding it into your dish.
How to Pick the Right Substitute for Celery in Tuna Salad
If you love the crunch of tuna salad, but you hate the taste of celery, there are plenty of alternatives out there that will give you the texture you crave without having to deal with a vegetable that tastes more like grass than it does anything else.
Just remember to keep in mind these few things when looking for your perfect replacement:
How Crunchy Is It?
Celery is known for its crunch, so if you want a replacement that’s similarly crisp, look for something that has an obvious bite to it.
What’s the Flavor?
If you’re looking for something to take over for celery’s taste (like onion or garlic), this is what you want.
But if you just want something crunchy and neutral, go with a vegetable like jicama or kohlrabi.
Is It Too Moist?
You never want your tuna salad to be soggy, so be sure the vegetable you choose is dry enough not to add too much moisture to your dish.
Will It Hold up Well?
Some vegetables are better fresh than they are chopped and sitting in mayo—or at least they don’t keep their texture as well.
Make sure whatever substitute is going to last long enough for you to enjoy your lunch!
16 Best Substitutes for Celery in Tuna Salad
- Red pepper
- Green onion
- Green peas
- Spinach leaves
- Bamboo shoots
- Bok choy
- Broccoli stalks
- Pick any substitute from this list to use in your tuna salad.
- Prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Be ready to munch in no time!