Celery salad with apple and fennel, is a light and refreshing salad which I absolutely love! It’s made with crisp celery ribs, sweet-tart apple, fennel, red onion, fresh parsley, grated parmesan and toasted walnuts. All of which are in perfect harmony with the light dressing made with whole grain mustard and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It may sound like a strange mix, but it is truly delicious! Plus, it fast. Prepping the ingredients involves a bit of slicing and toasting the nuts, but beyond that, it all comes together in no time at all!
How to adapt this celery salad recipe
If you aren’t into walnuts, then I would choose lightly roasted hazelnuts, pine nuts or even raw pistachio nuts. Celery stalks, fennel and apple are pretty much a dream team here, so I wouldn’t split this trio. And one other thing you can’t really change too much here though, is the cheese. This salad is all about the cheese. The king of Italian cheese for that matter — Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s a hard, salty unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese exclusively from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and terrific with raw vegetables and fruit. And although they are not the same, you can use Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano interchangeably in this recipe. Whatever you prefer. Do note though, all of the cheese types are not vegetarian since they are made with rennet (an enzyme that’s found in the lining of a goat or calf’s stomachs).
Although I like to think of this salad as a winter salad – it’s a perfect anytime of year salad. This crunchy celery salad is also a perfect option for outdoor cookouts and picnics, as it hold up well so there is no wilting to be had like salads made from leafy greens. And since the apples are tossed in the dressing during the preparation, this prevents them from browning (oxidation). Which also means it makes great next day leftovers!
Tips for preparing the fennel
For preparing the fennel, I either shave it using a mandoline (and handguard!) or quarter it, core it and use a really sharp knife to slice it into really thin pieces. This is also how I prepare the apple pieces. I also like to cut the celery into quite thin pieces. It’s all about texture here.
This celery salad with apple and fennel is a new favourite easy salad recipe in my home! If you’re looking for more simple and refreshing salads that are also great in winter, try out my Creamy Wintery Radicchio Salad and Pear Fennel Salad with Mint & Sumac.
Celery Salad with Apple and Fennel
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 medium fennel, quartered, cored and very thinly sliced
- 1 green or other tart apple, peeled, cut into thin wedges and cut crosswise thinly
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 50 g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 50 g walnuts, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives (optional)
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, grainy mustard, garlic in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
In a large bowl, toss the sliced celery, fennel, and apple with half the dressing. Add the parsley, red onion, and three-quarters of the parmesan and toss gently to combine. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette, scatter with the chives, walnuts and remaining parmesan, season to taste and serve. Enjoy!
- Walnuts can be dry toasted in a skillet or in a preheated oven to 375°F / 190°C. Just spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden, then coarsely chop the nuts.
- I like to use Wellant apples for this recipe -- they have a sweet-tart flavour and crisp, juicy texture, Braeburn, Elstar or tart green apples are also great choices, but you can use the variety you like best.
- Leftovers & Storage: Because of the crunchy nature of celery, apples, and fennel, this salad is a great make-ahead any time of year. It will hold up well as leftovers as well.
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