Celery Salad with Green Apple Vinaigrette

published May 15, 2024
Salad Person
Celery Salad with Green Apple Vinaigrette Recipe

The best thing to do with that forgotten celery bunch in your crisper (you know the one!).

Serves4 to 6

Makes6 1/2 cups

Prep20 minutes to 25 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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A gray plate with celery salad and a silver fork on a marble surface.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

I spent a lot of my life thinking celery “wasn’t my thing.” What a waste! I am a firm believer that you’ll like most vegetables, but you have to find the way you enjoy them. So, I set out to enjoy celery not in soggy soups (sorry!), but in snappy stir-fries and crunchy salads. I love the crunch, but I’ve always disliked celery’s stringiness.

That’s why I love this salad. The trick is to peel the outside of the celery a little bit — no need to be too fussy with it. Then you slice the celery on a bias. This gives you maximum crunch with absolutely no unpleasant stringiness. Plus it’s a great way to use up a bunch of celery, as so many recipes call for only one or two stalks (and then the rest just wastes away in the crisper).

I think a base of crunchy celery, savory Pecorino Romano (or Parm), nutty almonds, and chewy dates deserves a standout dressing. I add chopped green apple to my dressing for a burst of juicy, tart flavor. The best part? Coating the apple in vinaigrette prevents it from oxidizing so it never turns brown — even when it sits in the fridge overnight — which makes this salad a perfect make-ahead side for picnics and cookouts. 

Even if you “aren’t a celery person,” I think you should give this salad a try. My fiancé was very wary when I made it for dinner, but he ended up going back for seconds (and thirds!). This is the kind of salad that will win anyone over.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Say goodbye to stringy celery! Peeling the outside is a quick and easy way to ensure this salad has the best texture.
  • The dressing is a keeper. Juicy tart green apples are the standout ingredient in this balanced, flavorful vinaigrette.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

Key Ingredients in Celery Salad

  • Celery: Shave the outsides of the stalks to prevent any stringy bites.
  • Apples: Tart Granny Smith apples add a burst of flavor to every bite.
  • Dates: Chewy dates add a touch of sweetness.
  • Almonds: Buy roasted, salted almonds for ease.
  • Pecorino Romano: Grated Pecorino gets in all the nooks and crannies for maximum flavor distribution.

Helpful Swaps

  • Swap fresh-squeezed lemon juice or another vinegar for apple cider vinegar.
  • Use a large bulb of fennel in place of half the celery.
  • Use other roasted, salted nuts and seeds like pecans, pistachios, or pepitas.
  • Instead of dates, try another dried fruit like apricots or sour cherries.
  • Replace shallots with a small red onion.
  • Instead of Pecorino Romano, add crumbled feta or shaved ricotta salata.
  • Stir in drained and rinsed white beans for a more complete meal.

What to Serve with Celery Salad

This salad is delicious on its own, but would also make a great addition to a bigger meal.

Salad Person is my column dedicated to making better, more delicious salads at home that you’re actually excited to eat. Each month, I’ll provide tips and techniques so you can enjoy them as much as I do — which is a lot! Follow along and find the recipes here.

Celery Salad with Green Apple Vinaigrette Recipe

The best thing to do with that forgotten celery bunch in your crisper (you know the one!).

Prep time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Makes 6 1/2 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the apple vinaigrette:

  • 1

    medium Granny Smith apple

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh parsley

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 3 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons

    maple syrup or honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1/3 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1

    medium bunch celery (about 8 large and medium stalks)

  • 1

    medium shallot

  • 6

    pitted dried Medjool dates

  • 1/2 cup

    roasted, salted almonds

  • 1/3 cup

    grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more as needed

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to a large bowl as you complete it: Core 1 medium Granny Smith apple, then finely dice until you have about 1 cup. Finely chop the leaves and tender stems of 4 fresh parsley sprigs (about 2 tablespoons). Finely grate or mince 1 garlic clove.

  2. Add 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly pour in 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil and whisk until all of the oil is incorporated. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of the vinaigrette as you complete it: Pick the leaves from 1 medium bunch celery. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough fibers from the outside of the stalks. Trim and thinly slice the stalks on a slight diagonal until you have about 6 cups. Thinly slice 1 medium shallot (about 1/3 cup). Coarsely chop 6 pitted dried Medjool dates (about 1/2 cup). Coarsely chop 1/2 cup roasted, salted almonds. Add 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese.

  4. Toss to coat. Taste and season with more kosher salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with more Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. Let come to room temperature and shake or whisk well before using.

Substitutions: You can substitute roasted salted almonds with raw almonds. Roast them at 375ºF until fragrant and toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.