This celery salad recipe is so easy to pull together and so fast. I don’t know about you, but in my book, the best salads are usually the ones with the best crunch. And clearly, there are few salads in the world crunchier than one with celery as the starring ingredient!
Plan to let the celery salad sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving so the celery has some time to absorb the dressing. Don’t worry — it will still be very crunchy! It will also be more flavorful. A marinating time of between 4 and 8 hours is ideal if you can plan accordingly.
Celery Salad Substitutions
With luck, most (if not all) of the rest of the ingredients for this recipe are in your kitchen or pantry already. Feel free to make substitutions or omissions as you like — no celery seed? Skip it. Shallots instead of onions? Use them. Out of capers? Leave them out. Or think about adding a finely minced anchovy or two to the dressing or maybe a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (but know that the salad will no longer be vegan or vegetarian).
Vegan Celery Salad
If you leave out the optional Parm at the end, this is a vegan salad. There are also vegan Parmesan cheeses out there….or if you have a favorite vegan cheese you like, add that instead!
What Can I Do With a Lot of Celery?
I feel like this is a more common predicament than one might imagine! Maybe we bought a bag or bunch of celery for a specific recipe, like tuna fish or potato salad, and only needed a small amount for that dish. Maybe we brought home that big bunch with all sorts of good intentions for pre-dinner snacking, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. That’s ok! You’ve set yourself up for celery salad!
Crunchy Celery Salad
This salad has a very light dressing with no mayonnaise. It’s more like a vinaigrette, but it’s packed with flavor thanks to the capers, garlic, vinegar, herbs, optional red pepper flakes, and Parmesan (if you are not making the salad vegan). It’s not a creamy salad but rather a crisp, light, and fresh celery salad.
And, yes, it’s quite healthy! It has a good bit of olive oil, but other than that, each and every ingredient is on the full-on good-for-you side, so there should be zero guilt involved in making or eating this salad. And, of course, celery is basically a no-cal, no-fat food, so you can pile your plate high.
If you need to plan a salad to bring to a potluck or a picnic or buffet, you can’t do better than this one. It will stay fresh and crunchy for hours, and it looks really inviting. Just pack it up already dressed, and by the time it gets put out for eating, all of the flavors of the dressing will be “married” to the main ingredients, and you won’t have a moment’s worry about a soggy salad. I have eaten this 5 days after dressing it and keeping it in the fridge and it’s still crunchy and even more powerfully flavorful.
How to Make Celery Salad
Trim the leaves from the celery, discard any limp leaves, and then coarsely chop the remaining leaves. Slice the celery into ¼-inch slices on the diagonal. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, red wine vinegar, capers, garlic, celery seed (if using), oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Add the sliced onions and celery and toss to thoroughly combine.
Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8. Toss again and sprinkle the Parmesan on top, if desired, before serving.
What to Serve With Celery Salad
- Barbecued Chicken
- Chicken Piccata Orzo Salad
- Lemon Garlic Tilapia
- Fall-Apart Pork Shoulder
- Broccoli Salad
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- 2 hearts of celery (about 20 stalks, with leaves)
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons drained capers (roughly chopped)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- Generous pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 medium red onion (quartered and thinly sliced)
- ¼ cup coarsely grated or shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Trim the leaves from the celery, discard any limp leaves, and then coarsely chop the remaining leaves. Slice the celery into ¼-inch slices on the diagonal. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, red wine vinegar, capers, garlic, celery seed (if using), oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Add the sliced onions and celery and toss to thoroughly combine.
- Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 8. Toss again and sprinkle the Parmesan on top, if desired, before serving.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
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