I happened across the most gorgeous leafy celery at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago and decided it was time to share this recipe with you. I’ve made this appetizer several times since I found it in Deb’s new cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Everyday.
The recipe caught my eye last winter because I love raw celery in salads. Vegetable platters have just about ruined celery for Americans, but it’s a different story in salads and the like. Celery is crisp, refreshing, affordable (buy organic, and it’s still affordable!), and keeps well.
Deb continued to reel me in with the mention of “Parmesan rubble.” You just take a fork to some Parmesan and break it into little pieces. Why didn’t I think of that? I had to try it, I love it, and it sounds like something cute from the Flintstones.
I’m ignoring the elephant in this recipe, which is the olives. You’ll definitely need to enjoy or at least tolerate olives to get behind this recipe. No getting around that.
However, when you add Parm rubble, celery, chopped toasted almonds, fresh garlic, vinegar and olive oil, the recipe becomes a lot more than a bowl of olives. It’s irresistibly briny, crisp, crunchy and fresh. Your friends are going to ask for the recipe.
- To make this recipe in a hurry, buy pre-pitted olives and tear them by hand into a few pieces. You can use jarred or canned green olives, or pick out your favorites at the olive bar at your grocery store. I’ve recently fallen in love with Castelvetrano olives, which are buttery, crisp and less salty than most.
- I almost always recommend buying raw nuts and roasting them yourself for the best flavor, but if you have a trustworthy source of tasty (unsalted!) roasted almonds, that would save you some trouble, too.
- Buy the freshest organic celery available, but don’t stress if it doesn’t have pretty leaves to add to the mix.
- This recipe has a mix of Mediterranean flavors and goes great with creamy hummus and crackers or toasted pita bread.
- Deb suggests that if you’re serving this at a party, prepare the olives/Parm/celery in larger pieces that guests can spear with toothpicks—I like that idea!
Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you, and check out Deb’s book. For a similar but lighter celery option, don’t miss this celery salad with dates, almonds and Parmesan.
Torn Olives with Almonds, Celery & Parmesan
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
This fun Mediterranean appetizer features briny green olives, crumbled Parmesan, crisp celery, and toasted almonds. Recipe yields about 2 cups, enough to serve 4 to 6.
- 2 cups (270 grams) large pitted green olives, drained and torn into bite-sized pieces*
- 1 cup diced celery (from 2 to 3 medium ribs)
- ½ cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped**
- 2 ounces Parmesan, crumbled with a fork or knife point into ½ cup rubble
- 1 large garlic clove, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, more to taste
- Kosher salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
- Leaves from celery ribs, roughly chopped, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, toss all of the ingredients except the celery leaves together. Taste, and adjust the seasonings to your preference (I usually add a little more olive oil and vinegar, and about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt).
- Garnish with the chopped celery leaves. Refrigerate until needed, for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted just the tiniest bit from Smitten Kitchen Everyday by Deb Perelman.
*Deb’s notes: If you’re serving this as part of a cheese spread, keep the pieces chunky and offer toothpicks for serving. If it’s a first course, you can chop everything smaller and offer forks. (I like to chop it pretty small and serve it with hummus so people can pile it onto the hummus.)
**How to toast your almonds: I roasted whole almonds on a rimmed baking sheet for 12 to 14 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then chopped them.
Kate, the Torn Olive recipe sounds fabulous! Just as a reminder, the word Flintstones is just an ordinary plural word. No need for the apostrophe. :-)
Thanks for sharing!
Just so you know, Libby, the words “torn” and “olive” aren’t proper nouns; therefore, they don’t need to be capitalized. :)
This is such a creative idea. I love this combo!
All of your recipes are wonderful and this sounds unique and delicious. I can’t wait to try it!
Thank you, Diane!
This looks delicious. Where do you find VEGETARIAN chunks of Parmesan? I can only find grated or shredded in tubs at Whole Foods, thanks.
You can get a block and then crumble it. A fork works nicely!
I made this for last night moon eclipse party and yes, it is great! It is so creative and unusual mix of ingredients! But it is amazing how well different tastes and textures make a perfect combo ! And you were right, my guests wanted the recipe (and you got new followers as well :) ). Thank you!
Wonderful, Jonna! Thanks for the review.
This sounds like an all-star appetizer!!
It’s so good, Gaby!
Made a big batch of this to eat for lunch this week. I added a little red onion to the mix and put it on top of lettuce. Delicious! Love the salty/briny flavor. It’s a great recipe to switch up my usual lunch salads.
Thanks for sharing, Sam! I appreciate it.
LISA W LARCENAIRE
so easy and yummy! I had only rice vinegar in the house and it worked fine – wonder how fresh lemon juice would have been. Thanks so much! so unique and yummy!
Thank you, Lisa!
Any other nuts that would substitute for almonds in this recipe? (I’m allergic)
Hi, you could use pistachios or walnuts.
Mary Nell Raphael
I made this for the first time, and yes, my guests did ask for the recipe and they loved it. So I sent them to your website.
It was really delicious! I wanted to make this as quickly as possible, so I used a bottle of already cut and marinated green olives with it’s own marinate as well as some sliced black olives. I can see where adding some hummus as a first layer would be delicious as well.
Thanks for sharing this unique recipe.
Lovely! I’m happy to hear that, Mary. Thanks so much for your review.
Made this and it was a hit! The flavors and textures together are so good. I substituted Apple Cider Vinegar because it’s what I had on hand and it turned out great! Thank you!
That’s great! Thank you, Samia.
I made this as a quick dinner for myself when I thought of this recipe at the grocery store to pick up some olives. I don’t like green olives but I love kalamata, so that’s what I used and it turned out really nicely. Of course those are really salty so I didn’t have to add any extra salt. Instead I added some red pepper flakes for heat (I like spicy food). I served it over some toasted Italian bread and arugula. It was a lovely light, quick weeknight dinner but didn’t feel sorry in the least. Will definitely make again.
Thanks for sharing, Rachel!
This recipe is so yummy! I eat insane amounts of hummus, and this was a delicious way to change things up. I serve mine with carrot chips and makes a healthy lunch
I made this for a “snacky” dinner (meaning we basically have large portions of snacks as dinner) along with fresh hummus, warm naan, pita chips, and egg salad (out of place here, but it needed to be eaten!) and it was AMAZING. I didn’t have almonds, so I used toasted pecans (my granny picked and shelled them) instead. They lent a nice sweetness, but I think almonds would definitely be the way to go and provide a better crunch. Will absolutely make again!
I love “snacky” dinners! Thank you, Mandy for sharing and for your review.
I also used pecans, because they were sitting there in the cupboard, but agree that almonds would be better. And I replaced the parmesan with a vegan (aged and cultured) cashew cheese (from treeline), which was an amazing fit, just saying ;)
And, yes, it’s an amazing recipe, thanks!
This looks amazing!!! I could eat this whole bowl!
Torn olive was stellar! I didnt have white wine vinegar, used tarragon. Didnt have almonds, used pecans, (unroasted). I served it with grilled burgers and grilled buns. Fabulous.
Thank you, David!
I LOVED this salad – salty, crunchy, cheesy goodness. It was perfection!
This is a great recipe, so full of flavor! We only did a cup of olives and put it over chickpea pasta for a delicious dinner!
That sounds delicious! Thank you, Dana for sharing. I appreciate your review.
I love the Torn Olives with Almonds salad. I saw it this morning and had to make it. I’m eating the entire bowl, it’s that good. I used vegan cheese and it’s wonderful. I love your recipes!!! I’m going to make Spring Pea and Asparagus Pasta (with GF pasta) tonight.
Thank you for sharing! I hope you love the spring pea pasta.
My mother always served an appetizer of green olives and celery on Thanksgiving. So this recipe gave me a way to keep up the tradition. My guests loved it, as did I. We thought it was a little chunky, so gave it few pulses in the food processor. Will be making this every year now.
I just saw this recipe and got the urge to make it right away. As I only had a few olives, I made a sample portion. Also, I had some skinless, soaked almonds that needed to be used, so I put these instead of the roasted ones. I also used some nutritional yeast because that’s what I had on hand. Now I am obsessed! I am going to buy a big batch of green olives and some slivered almonds for toasting, and I’ll make your vegan parm. This is going to be part of my mezzes’ table from now on. So good and easy – and unusual to boot! Thanks for sharing. I love all your recipes, and this was superlative,
I made this to add something a little different to a standard dinner in our household (rotisserie chicken and roasted broccoli). Other than substituting sherry wine vinegar, we had all the ingredients already on hand. This tasted great sprinkled over our dinner plates, plus scooped up with crackers. I especially like the freshness that the celery provided. Thanks for the recipe!
You’re welcome! I’m happy you enjoyed it, Emily.
This is becoming one of my go-to salads. I’ve been using Lindsay Natural Green Olives, they are delicious. One time I only had Lindsay black olives and they worked very well also. Thanks for sharing this recipe – it’s delicious!!!
My husband began a weight loss effort 2 months ago. I made him this salad and he eats it for breakfast every morning, and as a snack when he’s needing some energy. He has lost 26 pounds so far, eating this salad and a variety of fish/salads each day. This is truly one of the ore delicious salads either of us has ever eaten. Thank you for sharing. I will be making this for years…..
Congratulations! I’m happy you both have been able to enjoy my recipes on your journey. I appreciate your review, Nora!
Hi there –
Do you think this could be made the day before / would keep well, or not so much? Thanks!
Hi! This is good as leftovers too. I hope you love it!
Great recipe. Loved the contrasting flavours and textures!
I minced fennel bulb and celery to veg it up for the less brine-inclined folks. Also substituted sherry vinegar for white wine vinegar and worked a treat!
Thanks for the great idea!
This recipe is absolutely stunning! It’s been a my go to for weekday lunches. I added a big bunch of lacinto kale for some extra greens and eat it with two hard boiled eggs and a slice of bread. The perfect fuel for an afternoon workout AND keeps me full until dinner!
That sounds delicious!
I don’t like raw celery, but I gave this recipe a shot because the blend of flavors sounded delicious. Indeed, the celery flavor was too strong for my taste. But I made it a second time subbing equal parts chopped red bell pepper, and I absolutely loved it! Marked this one as a ‘fave’ in my recipe collection.
I’m glad you tried it, Emmaline! Thank you for your review.
This recipe is delicious and I will definitely be making it again! But it turned out a bit too salty. My fault – the olives I used must have been very salty themselves, so I should have tried it before adding salt at the end. Next time I’ll omit the extra salt. I added lemon juice to try to even it out and that was a nice addition.
I’m glad you loved it, Kia! Thank you for your review.
Outstanding recipe. So delicious and healthy. Our guests love it and demand a recipe before they live. We also go to farmer’s market to get the beautiful leafy celery.
Thank you, Maria! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
this is truly delicious. i saw the recipe on instagram, immediately craved it, and put it together in about five minutes using pre-pitted castelvetrano olives. perfect as a healthy late afternoon snack!
I’m glad you loved it, MJL!
Delicious!!Super quick and easy! We ate it as a salad with dinner, so cut not super chunky, but larger than if I was making it to go on crackers. I saw this recipe, we had all ingredients except for the olives, ran to the store at the last minute- just to make this!
I’m glad you loved it, Ruth! I appreciate your review.