This simple celery salad recipe comes together in less than ten minutes. You just need to toss sliced celery together with apples, nuts, and fresh herbs together in a large bowl for an easy, simple salad.
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What is it?
Celery is a member of the Apiaceae family, which also includes parsley, carrots, and anise. It has a clean, verdant flavor. And while cooks often add it to various soup recipes as an aromatic, it works just as well in salads, too.
When eaten fresh and raw, it has an unbeatable crisp, crunch. That delicious, lively texture and aromatic flavor make celery salad a win.
It also is hardier than various green, leafy vegetables. As a result, celery salads tend to keep well. They're perfect for picnics and potlucks since celery retains its fresh character long after salads made with lettuce wilt.
The ingredients in this celery salad are simple, uncomplicated, and wholesome. You should be able to find just about everything in your local grocery store, or at your farmer's market during fall.
- Celery is the foundation of the salad. Like most members of the Apiaceae family, it's a rich source of antioxidants and a healing food with many potential therapeutic benefits(1) including support for blood sugar balance and metabolic health (2).
- Parsley serves as a nice complement to celery as they're in the same family and share a similar flavor profile. In European folk medicine, parsley is used to support the body's detoxification pathways, such as the kidneys. It also supports cellular health because it's such a dense source of polyphenols and similar plant nutrients (3).
- Apples bring a little sweetness to the salad, balancing celery's mild bitter notes.
- Hazelnuts give the salad substance and make it more satisfying. That's because they're rich in healthy fats and fiber, both of which can help you feel fuller.
- Shallots are members of the allium family, along with onion and leeks. They provide a sharp note and help pull the olive oil and lemon dressing together.
- Extra virgin olive oil is the foundation for the salad's dressing. It's a rich source of healthy fats as well as antioxidants.
- Lemon brings a much-needed acidity to the salad, complementing both the celery and apples.
- Spices include freshly cracked black pepper and celery seed, which enhances the celery flavor in the salad.
As with most salads, this celery salad recipe is easy to put together. There are only two steps to follow, and it only takes about ten minutes of your time. That makes it a great option for a dish you can throw together at the last minute.
- Quality matters. This salad is all about that crisp, crunchy texture. And you'll only get the texture you want from super fresh celery and apples.
- Toast your hazelnuts in advance. While you can make the salad with raw hazelnuts, it will taste better if you toast them first. Roast them in a sheet pan in an oven set to 350 F for about 10 minutes.
- Make the dressing in the salad bowl before you add the celery and apples. You'll just need to mix up the lemon, olive oil, and shallots. Once it's all mixed together, add the remaining ingredients.
Try hazelnut oil instead of olive oil. Adding a bit of hazelnut oil to the salad in place of the olive oil will amplify the flavor of the hazelnuts.
Add blue cheese. Blue cheese is a natural match for both celery and apples. Its funky, salty flavor brings a note of complexity to the salad, too.
Add parmesan cheese. Parmesan has a salty, savory flavor that works well with celery. If adding parmesan to the salad, consider replacing the lemon juice with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
Make it Greek style. You can swap out the apples, and add in cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese for a Greek-inspired celery salad.
Try dates in place of apples. Sweet, pitted dates work just as well in this recipe as do apples.
Add toasted walnuts in place of hazelnuts. They're a little easier to find and more affordable, too.
Swap sliced red onions for the shallots, if they're they're easier to find.
The salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
While you can cut the celery cross-wise at a 90-degree angle, your best bet is to slice on the diagonal at a 45-degree angle instead. It's more visually appealing and allows for more surface area which means better and more intense celery flavor.
Yes, celery leaves taste like a cross between celery, parsley, and lovage. And it's a great idea to use leftover celery leaves in this recipe where their light texture and fresh flavor work well.
More simple, nutrient-dense salads you'll love
- Kooti, Wesam, and Nahid Daraei. “A Review of the Antioxidant Activity of Celery ( Apium graveolens L).” Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine vol. 22,4 (2017)
- Yusni, Yusni et al. “The effects of celery leaf (apium graveolens L.) treatment on blood glucose and insulin levels in elderly pre-diabetics.” Saudi medical journal vol. 39,2 (2018)
- Tang, Esther Lai-Har et al. “Petroselinum crispum has antioxidant properties, protects against DNA damage and inhibits proliferation and migration of cancer cells.” Journal of the science of food and agriculture vol. 95,13 (2015): 2763-71.