What a weekend. On Friday, I zoomed six hours southwest to Woodward, Oklahoma, for my grandmother Virginia’s 85th birthday party. On Saturday, I zoomed six hours back to pick up Cookie before the boarder closed, on a different route that was supposed to save me, like, ten minutes. I ended up on a construction detour over red dirt roads and got pulled over for speeding by a policeman in a pick-up truck. (Look, Mom, no ticket!)
On Sunday, I hosted the first stop in Ali’s bachelorette party, which concluded with ten girls belting Alanis Morissette lyrics in a private karaoke room. And yesterday, we celebrated Jordan’s soon-to-be-here baby with a decidedly chill baby shower. Today, I’m resisting the urge to pour myself a third cup of coffee.
Surely I’m not the only person who over-indulged this weekend, right? Let’s reset with a simple, inexpensive, and addictive celery salad. I included chopped celery in two salads in my cookbook, but this is my first celery-centric salad. It’s a crisp, refreshing and totally underrated salad ingredient.
I found the recipe in a new cookbook called Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables by chef Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg. Kat Sacks from Epicurious sent the book to me so I could participate in this month’s edition of #EpiCookbookClub—each month, Epicurious is selecting a cookbook to cook from, and you can participate by tagging your food photos #EpicCookbookClub on Instagram and Facebook. I love it.
I’m quite smitten with Six Seasons. It’s a gorgeous seasonal cookbook that highlights a wide variety of produce and offers inventive recipes for each type. I’ve bookmarked a ton of recipes to try and picked this one to try first, since McFadden said it’s one of his favorite dishes.
I’m learning a lot from his produce introductions. For example, in the celery intro, I learned that celery is super-thirsty and needs a lot of attention from growers, which is why you don’t find it often at farmers’ markets. It gets tough and stringy when it’s not consistently and adequately watered. Have you seen heirloom celery varieties in purple or magenta yet? I’m keeping an eye out for them now.
Before I go, some updates on Love Real Food:
- Tessa made my Lemony Almond-Blueberry Cake
- Abby made my Maple Bourbon Candied Pecans
- Lindsey made my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Sarah made my Fresh Greek Nachos with Herbed Tahini Sauce
- Heather made my Tahini Kale Caesar Salad (and her daughters Pia and Coco made my Banana Pecan Shakes ♥)
- Thank you so much for the kind reviews—Love Real Food has nearly 60 five-star reviews on Amazon!
Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds and Parmesan
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: American
This celery salad recipe will surprise you! Crisp celery, toasted almonds, dates and Parmesan combine to create an irresistibly fresh salad. Prepare the celery and place it in the ice bath (step 1) before you start working on the remaining ingredients. Recipe yields 4 side salad portions.
- 8 long celery stalks, leaves separated and reserved, tough fibers peeled off with a vegetable peeler, sliced on an angle into ¼-inch thick pieces
- ½ cup raw almonds
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 ½ lemons)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used Parmesan*), shaved into shards with a vegetable peeler (to yield about ⅓ cup)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Place the celery in a bowl of ice water and soak for about 20 minutes to heighten the crispness. Drain the celery and pat it dry with a tea towel, then pile the celery into a medium serving bowl.
- To toast the almonds, warm them in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and chop with a chef’s knife.
- To the bowl of drained celery, add the celery leaves, chopped almonds, dates, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Season generously with salt (I started with ¼ teaspoon) and pepper, and toss to combine. Add the cheese and olive oil and toss gently. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes until you reach an irresistible balance of salty, spicy, tart and sweet.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled. This salad keeps well, covered and chilled, for about 3 days (before serving, toss again and pour off some of the excess liquid).
Recipe minimally adapted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden and Martha Holmberg.
*Parmesan note: Most Parmesans are not technically vegetarian (they contain animal rennet), but Whole Foods 365 and BelGioioso brands offer vegetarian Parmesans.
Change it up: I haven’t tried, but I imagine dried cherries, cranberries or chopped apricots would be nice instead of the dates. I bet walnuts would be good in place of the almonds, too.
Make it nut free: Try substituting freshly toasted sunflower seeds in place of the almonds.
Make it dairy free/vegan: The Parmesan rounds out the salad’s flavor, but it’s also nice without the cheese. You might finish the salad with some flaky sea salt (Maldon brand) instead.
I have been loving the parm/date/almond combo with kale salads recently but this is a fantastic way to eat that celery that’s always leftover after you use just a few stalks for one recipe! I’m definitely going to try this in the next week! Thank you!
Yes, I totally understand that problem! This recipe is celery galore. I hope you love it, Aly. :)
I love your cookbook!! I bought 4… 1 for me and 1 for each of my daughters. I made your amazing Hearty Lentil Minestrone yesterday. It is so good!! I planted extra eggplant in my garden .. can’t wait to try Roasted Eggplant Lasagna!!
That’s so kind of you, Cathy. I hope your daughters love the book as much as you do!
Kate! I love celery! Bet I like this salad which I am going to make tonight (if I have all the ingredients.) Over memorial day weekend I made the broccoli quinoa salad and loved it. Unfortunately I live alone (with my own “cookie” who is a cat) and it was too much salad for me and didn’t sit well as a leftover. Need to learn how to half recipes. I have taken a vow to eat way more salads this spring/summer. Keep the recipes coming! Thanks! Dhyan in Boulder
I think you’d love this one, Dhyan. Hello to your kitty!
Ok I have to ask because I’m very confused; why was the border closing? I’m not used to state borders closing at all haha.
Oh sorry! I boarded my dog. The state borders were wide open. :)
Oh ok that makes so much more sense! And that was totally my bad for reading it wrong, because you said boarders not borders lol.
Sara @ Last Night's Feast
Wow, so pretty!!
Thanks, pal! I love how bright and green this one is.
I made this last night without the parm to keep it vegan. This is my new favourite summer salad! Thank you for sharing.
Great! Whole Foods 365 and Bel Gioioso make parmesan that uses a vegetable enzyme instead of animal rennet, in case you miss the parm!
Kate, another big thank you. This celery salad is delicious and something I would never have thought of myself. The toasted almonds and dates were great! I also successfully cut the recipe down to a single person size. Keep those salads coming! Dhyan from Boulder
Awesome, Dhyan! I’m so glad you loved this one. I thought it was a fresh change from the normal leafy salad line-up. :)
I made this last night and it was so good! My husband loved it too… “so many great flavors in your mouth at the same time.” Celery gives this salad the perfect texture. I appreciate the tip of soaking it in ice water to make it nice and crisp.
I love that! Thank you for sharing, Margot.
I love this salad. I’ve made it twice this week. I skipped the parmesan to keep it vegan and it is so so tasty. Thanks for continuing to create my favorite recipes over and over again! I swear we eat something from you at least once a week! (Enchiladas, broccoli-chickpea pitas, pineapple fried rice, yum) I need to buy your cookbook asap
Awesome! I’m so glad you love it, Molli. I’m biased, but I do think you’d love the cookbook. :) Thanks for commenting!
Shout out! I made your slaw in your cookbook with the mango!
Really nice mix of flavors, sweet, and tart, and crunchy! Takes bland, boring salads to a new level. really like your idea of using celery as the base instead of lettuce leaves.
Thanks, Kirstin! I thought it was a nice break from leafy salads.
Going to try this week! Thank you.
Let me know how it goes, Stella!
Made it last night! It was so good! My husband loved it too. Thank you so much for sharing it.
I made this for a potluck yesterday and it was a hit! I doubled everything in the recipe except the oil (it didn’t seem to need more when I put in the first 1/4 cup). Very flavorful. Thanks for another great recipe!
Fantastic salad, made it yesterday and we loved it, never thought to eat the much celery at once, it became fantastic and we totally enjoyed!
Great! I’m so glad this was a pleasant surprise.
Kelli @ Hungry Hobby
What a good idea to shave celery! I’ve never seen that before, but I was in San Francisco for the weekend. I definitely indulged and have been eating detox wraps now!
Oh, I don’t blame you for indulging in San Francisco! The food is phenomenal. I hope this salad helps you reset!
Delicious! I love your creativity with salads! Who woulda thought?! Oh you did! Celery is just such a background/filler vegetable to me- I never would have thought to make it center stage and wow, really enjoyable. I will never look at celery the same again! I did substitute cranberries for the dates as that is what I had on hand. I made the salad 2x now and loving it! My boyfriend loves it too! Thanks again for a delicious and nutritious recipe!
Yes! I’m so glad you enjoyed it– I hope it was a welcome change in your salad routine, Jacquelyn.
By the ingredients I thought this salad sounded interesting, but it is truly wonderful. Crispy and light with amazing lemon and date sweetness offset by the red pepper flakes. It’s perfect! PS it is great the next day.
Awesome! Thanks, Pattie.
I made this last night and it was utterly PHENOMENAL. I mean, it was beyond words. I just ate the leftovers and you are right – it does keep. What other dressed salad can boast that?! I am about to send the link to your site and this recipe to my best friend. I bought your cookbook the other day and can’t wait for it to arrive. Thank you so much for this recipe – I will be making it again and again and again…
Hooray! I love this one, so I’m really glad it was a hit. Thanks for sharing with your best friend, too!
My first Cookie and Kate recipe- So good, but I think I will make it again with just a sprinkling of nuts and Parmesan on top as a garnish. As it, I thought it just a bit rich. The other benefit of garnishing will be better results the next day. The nuts got a little soft with refrigeration. This will be a keeper for me- Bravo Kate.
Yes, feel free to adjust this according to your tastes, Maggie. I love my Parmesan! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
I have to admit, when this post was first published, I wasn’t sure if I loved celery enough to have it play the starring role in a salad. But the recipe lingered in the back of my mind, and I finally wound up with a bunch of celery that needed to be used up this weekend. I didn’t have any Parmesan on hand, but even so, this salad was STUNNING. Bright, crisp, sweet, savory — this is everything you could ever want in a summer salad! The ice bath trick worked wonders on my tough celery stalks; I’ll definitely keep it in mind the next time I use celery in a salad. Thanks so much for sharing!
I’m glad you ended up trying it, Roshni! And that ice bath is so simple, but so effective. It works in so many recipes that include celery.
Made this recipe last night for dinner. Oh yum!! I ate two helpings and my husband who is very picky about vegetables even liked it. Definitely a winner and I will make this again. Thanks so much.
Awesome! I love hearing that, Vickie. Thanks!
This salad is incredibly good! I topped it with some nooch instead of the parmesan, and it was delicious!
Perfect! I’m glad the nooch worked just as well.
I’ve now made the celery salad with dates, almonds and parmesan twice. My husband and I both love it. The saltiness of the parmesan pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the dates and the crunch of the celery and toasted almonds enhance the textural variety. This is definitely a winner!!! Thanks Kate.
Great! Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m glad you found this salad well-balanced and worth making twice.
When you posted this recipe I thought it looked good but I also thought I might not like it; the thought of that much celery… But, I bought the celery and after some time reflecting on all the successful C+K recipes I’ve made I decided to make it! LOVE IT!! I omitted the dates and did not replace because my husband doesn’t like any type of dried fruit in his salad. I used slivered almonds and kept them on the side. The salad is good without them but it is phenomenal with them!! Next time I’ll add dates to my dish too.
I’m glad you decided to risk this one, Heather! This one has been pleasantly surprising to a lot of readers. :)
I normally only eat celery in disguise (i.e., in a soup or sauce), but I am going to give this a try since yep I definitely have a bunch waiting in the fridge! Curious about what you paired it with …
So, update, we just made it, and I can say that while I’m still not the world’s biggest raw-celery fan, this is probably the best raw celery I’ve had! Went with cranberries instead of dates.
“Celery in disguise” made me smile! I think you should try this one, for sure.
Made this salad for lunch today. Prepared half the recipe to make sure I liked it. Loved it! Very crunchy and filling. I added the almonds and cheese at time of eating (to avoid almonds getting soft). Will eat the other half tonight for dinner. As a vegetarian I am always on the look out for new salads for summer. Thank you and this will indeed be added to my keepers.
I’m so glad this one could help to spice up your summer salad routine, Valerie! Thanks so much for reading.
Délicieuse salade! J’adore! Merci, Kate:)
De rien, Sophie! I’m so glad you loved the salad.
This is a fantastic recipe. It is unique, so many have commented that they never thought celery could make such a delicious salad. I take it to friends houses for pot lucks and as an option for our contribution to other get-togethers where we bring a side dish to dinner. At home we make this regularly in our evening and lunch meals.
I try to keep the celery slices fairly small and have been dicing the celery lately. Although, for presentation it looks a little better with larger slices.
While the original recipe is fantastic, substitutions are pretty much a must depending on what is rotating in and out of the kitchen at any given time. Some of my favorite substitutes are:
*Kale in for the celery leaves (when the celery leaves wilt too much to be saved – I actually did not know you could eat those before this recipe!)
*Dried cranberries in place of the dates
*Chopped,Toasted walnuts or pecans in place of the almond slices.
Also, we have found that the pepper flakes add a really interesting depth to the recipe, but we have had some feed back about the pepper flakes being ‘too much’ for those sensitive to ‘hot’ in dishes. Being one of those sensitive persons, I had already reduced the amount of pepper flakes. I found that leftovers containing the pepper flakes see a significant increase the next day in the ‘hotness’ so have, alternately, left the pepper flakes out, substituted chopped/diced red onion, and placed the pepper flakes on the side for those who want that kick to decide how much they like.
Thanks for the notes, Mandy! Your version sounds delicious. I’m glad you find this flexible and satisfying!
Hi Kate, this looks really tasty. do you have any suggestions of mains that might go well with it? looking forward to trying it. glad you didn’t get a ticket. nice cop!
I love your recipes and love e as ting healthy. Would really appreciate communicating with you. Thank you. Dolores Jones
Hi Dolores, it’s nice to hear from you! The best way to reach me is by commenting on the blog—do you have any questions about this recipe?
I made your salad this past Sunday and it was a hit with both my husband and myself. Matter of fact he would like me to make it all the time!
That is great! Thank you, Cyndi for sharing and for your recipe.
I love, love, love this salad. I’ve made it several times at home and finally decided to make it for my co-workers. Huge hit! Everyone loved it and most people came back for seconds and thirds. I would take Kate’s advice about stripping the backs of the celery with a peeler to get rid of the celery strings. I’ve done it both ways thinking it wouldn’t make that much of a difference but it really did.
Nice recipe. This looks so good and delicious. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and its health benefits.
Hello Kate and Cookie,
This celery salad is absolutely delicious, as all the other recipes I have made from your ‘Love real Food’ cookbook. I look forward at least a few times a week to trying a different recipe?
Thank you so much for your insight and ingenuity. When I have time I will comment on the recipes I have made. I have your cook book on my counter. I don’t want to put it away!
Thanks for the support, Imelda! I appreciate the comment and review.
What peeler is that? I haven’t been able to find one like it!
Check out my shop page! https://cookieandkate.com/healthy-kitchen-essentials/
Delicious! Will definitely make this again!!
Wonderful, Nancy! Thanks for your review.
I just finished making this celery salad (double recipe) for the third (3rd) time to take to another potluck dinner. I like using a mixture of roasted & salted pepitas (pumpkin) and sunflower seeds instead of almonds. The key really is working with the salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes to reach that “irresistible balance of salty, spicy, tart and sweet” or else it will be just a bland crunchy salad. It is so much fun watching people enjoy eating this salad!
Thank you, Suzanne for sharing!
This Celery Salad was AMAZING!!! Totally surprised me. I love celery but this sent it through the roof :) I saved some for my lunch at work tomorrow — can’t wait!
Excellent salad in both presentation and taste! Best part is it was easy to make and very healthy. I’ll be checking out your other recipes now. Thank you for posting this recipe. :)
You’re welcome, SM! Thanks for your review.
Dear Kate: On this rainy/snowy day in Kansas City I want you to know how much my family has enjoyed this Celery/Date/Almond salad. I have made it many times and it has always been received with raves.
Today I have prepared a meal for a neighbor and have included this salad.
Thank you again for the healthy and delicious recipes that come from your KC kitchen!
You are so kind! Thank you for sharing, Jackie. Stay warm and safe this weekend in KC!
So tasty, thank you Kate! I actually first tried this kind of salad at Whole Foods! It was awesome and tried finding the recipe through their website, couldn’t, and then found yours, which I was stoked about because I have already made things from your blog which I love! Anyway, this was great, especially because my celery had gone limp, but the ice water perked it right back up! So cool!! I used roasted pecans, as that was what I had on hand, and it worked fine, but I bet almond flavor blends into the other flavors a little better. One question- I could taste the OO a little too much. Just add less next time? I went ahead and added more spice and more lemon juice which seemed to help. This may just be personal preference. Thanks for putting this recipe up online. I love it!
Hi Lacey, I’m glad you are loving recipes! You could add more of the other flavors you like. Sometimes I find the brand of olive oil matters too.
I don’t love celery, but I hate throwing the extras away. This was DELICIOUS! Thanks so much.
This is a wonderful recipe…much better than a standard Waldorf.
I made it twice this week & the second time I added some finely diced granny smith apple.If people live on their own put half of the recipe in a box ( i save the takeaway ones for this)& give it to a neighbour or friend.well done & thanks from a wet Uk today.(Manchester)
Thank you for your review!
Delicious. I’ve been making a lot of celery salads lately and this is a nice version. The dates are an unexpected ingredient and balance really nicely with the cheese. Brought it to a party and nobody had ever eaten a celery salad, but everybody loved it. I slice it very thin in the food processor. All that great celery flavor without the strings! Thanks, Kate!
You’re welcome, Claire! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
Oh my, this was so darn good. We toasted the almonds really well and used half Romano cheese and half Parmesan. My dates were kind of dry so I added dried cranberries and chopped them up fine. Two of us ate the whole salad. We will probably pay for it tomorrow. Lol.
I’m delighted you loved it, Jones! Thank you for your review.
I was looking for a recipe that used a lot of celery and this was amazing! So flavourful!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Llana!
Thank you for sharing this! It is such a lovely and flexible recipe. I made vegan using violife feta non-dairy cheese (one could certainly use a vegan parmesan option though) and added some brown rice and chickpeas. Will certainly be making again!
This was fantastic! I loved everything about it. Thank you so much!
You’re welcome, Melissa! I’m happy you loved it.
Love love love this salad! It’s our go to when we have extra celery we need to use up. Great summer dish. I have tried it with dried apricots instead of dates and often prefer it that way, a bit more tang than sweetness. It’s a winner!
Exactly what I was looking for to use up a bunch of celery. Absolutely delicious, even my partner likes it and he doesn’t usually care for celery. Definitely adding to the rotation!
I’m glad you came across this recipe, Shannon! I appreciate your review.
Who knew a celery salad could be so delicious? Took this to my book club and got rave reviews; everyone else was surprised about a delicious celery salad. Going to make it again to take to a potluck with friends.
That’s great, Julie! Thank you for sharing what you think about this salad.
Linda in Seattle
I liked this salad. I used hazelnuts and added parsley and mint. Served with cold smoked Turkey on a very hot day.
I have no idea how I found this recipe. I hate celery. However, the recipe intrigued me and so I made it. Gotta say it was the hit at the dinner table. Everyone loved it and it will now be a staple in my house. The only thing I changed was to increase the lemon and decrease the oil. Thank you to the chef!
I’m so glad you came across it, Ellen! I appreciate your review.