I love a simple veg-froward salad and this Celery Salad is just that. It’s a no-fuss recipe that let’s celery shine by leaning on a simple vinaigrette, tons of fresh chives, and toasted pecans for a buttery, toasty contrasting crunch.
Why I Love This Celery Salad Recipe
Like I said earlier, I love a simple veggie salad and this 3-Ingredient Fennel Salad is a great example. Similarly, this celery salad is all about, well, the celery. A simple vinaigrette made with evoo, sherry vinegar, Dijon and honey is all that dresses the crunchy slices of stalk.
For a contrasting crunch I toss in toasted pecans (which are optional but totally change the vibe of the salad). To compliment the nutty pecan flavor I add a few shaves of Gruyère cheese and finally, for even more brightness, I add tons of chives and celery leaves (try to find celery with them still intact).
Ingredients In this Simple Salad
- extra-virgin olive oil, the extra-virgin part is important. Since the salad is so simple, a flavorful olive oil is very important.
- sherry vinegar, it just pairs so well with celery. If you don’t have sherry vin, you can sub with white wine vin or apple cider vin.
- Dijon mustard, essential for adding depth of flavor and emulsifying the vinaigrette.
- Honey balances out the salty flavors!
- Celery stalks, preferably with leaves still intact!
- Pecans, especially when toasted, add a beautiful texture and flavor. To toast pecans (and most nuts) arrange them in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350ºF (177ºC) oven until fragrant and golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- Chives, I cut the chives into 1-inch pieces which ensures they stick to the celery and every bite has at least one piece.
- Gruyère cheese, though Parmesan would also be fantastic.
- Red pepper flakes add a nice kick! If you’re looking for something a bit more bild and floral, opt for cracked black pepper.
Make Ahead Tip
Celery is pretty good at holding it’s crunch, so this salad can sit for a bit and retain it’s lovely texture. However, I don’t recommend making this too far in advance. If you’re looking to get most of it prepped ahead of time you can slice the celery, toast and chop the pecans, and make the vinaigrette. Just toss everything together before serving.
Test Kitchen Tips
- If your celery is wilty, trim the ends off of the bottoms of the stalks and place them in a glass or jar of water in the refrigerator. Just a few hours and they’ll crisp right back up! Then check out this article on how to properly store produce—the method for storing celery might surprise you!
- When toasting nuts for a recipe, I’ll often toast more than I need (or the entire bag of nuts). This will save you time in the future when a recipe calls for toasted nuts. Once toasted and cooled, store them in an airtight bag or container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- If you’ve got extra celery that needs to be used up, check out these recipe ideas!
Variations on This Celery Salad
- Swap the olive oil out for walnut oil or infused olive oil (lemon or basil would be great).
- For a more summer-y salad, swap the pecans for toasted slivered almond and add some torn fresh basil. Swap the vinegar out for fresh lemon juice and add a bit of minced fresh lemon zest.
- To keep it dairy free, skip the cheese.
- To make this vegan, skip the cheese and use sugar or maple syrup in place of the honey.
- Give it a Mexican twist by swapping the vinegar out for fresh lime juice, using cilantro instead of chives, and Manchego instead of Gruyère. A few thin slices of red onion would also be delicious.
- Toss some thin slices of apple into the salad.
Serve This Side Dish With…
Simple Celery Salad with Chives & Pecans
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- kosher salt
- red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch celery, 10 large stalks, preferably with leaves intact
- ½ cup toasted and chopped pecans
- ⅓ cup chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shaved
- In a large bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, Dijon, and honey; season with salt and red pepper flakes.
- Wash and trim celery (reserve celery leaves). Thinly slice celery on the bias. Chop celery leaves.
- Add celery, half the pecans, half the chives, and half the Gruyère to the bowl with vinaigrette. Toss to combine, season with salt to taste, then transfer to a serving plate.
- Top salad with remaining pecans, chives, and Gruyère. Sprinkle celery leaves and additional red pepper flakes over top. Serve immediately.
I liked this. It was something different and a nice fresh, crisp contrast to our panko fried tofu. But my husband thought it was “just OK”. Will have to try it on some others, perhaps with the variations.