Marinated celery salad is a simple dish with an elevated flavor profile. Crunchy celery and diced red onion are softened in red wine vinegar and paired with parsley, walnuts, and shaved parmesan cheese. The ingredients are basic, but the tastes are complex!
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When my in-laws visited over New Year’s weekend, I made a delicious celery salad with black-eyed peas from Martha Stewart Living. It received good reviews, and I’ve been wanting to use this dish as inspiration for a blog post ever since.
Martha’s version of celery salad featured diced red onion that was marinated in red wine vinegar and olive oil before being mixed with the other ingredients. There was also some parsley but pretty much no other seasonings besides a little salt. Amazingly, the step of marinating red onions in vinegar added plenty of flavor.
So, that’s what inspired today’s marinated celery salad. However, I chose to marinate red onions, celery, and parsley all together in red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt. I wanted the celery to take on more of a “quick pickled” flavor. Plus, I changed up the fix-ins and used chopped walnuts and shaved parmesan.
The walnuts add an oily texture and nutty flavor, while the parmesan contributes delicious notes of aged, salty cheese. They are truly the perfect companions to tangy celery and make this dish seem so elegant for such little effort! Enjoy this marinated celery salad for Easter brunch or dinner this weekend, a weeknight meal, or a future dinner party. It gets even more flavorful as it sits in the fridge, making it a great prep-ahead option!
How to Make Marinated Celery Salad
- Dice the red onion, slice the celery, and chop the parsley. Combine them in a large mixing bowl.
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. Pour over the salad, and toss until coated. Transfer to the fridge for an hour so that the flavors can meld together.
- Prepare the walnuts and shaved parmesan. Add them to the salad, and enjoy!
Easy huh? For the full recipe instructions and ingredients list, check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Expert Tips and FAQ
- Let the marinated celery salad sit for an hour in the fridge for best results. It can sit for up to 24 hours for maximum flavor. Just remember to stir the salad every few hours or so while it sits if you can. I prefer to add the walnuts and parmesan just before serving, but these ingredients hold up well if they are mixed into the salad before it sits in the fridge. It’s up to you!
- To get parmesan shavings like the ones in my photos, use a swivel peeler on a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I always keep a block of this cheese in my fridge. It adds so much flavor, even in small amounts, and it can last for a long time.
- To make this salad nut-free, omit the walnuts or use sunflower seeds instead. If you need this dish to be vegan, omit the cheese. On a similar note, Parmigiano-Reggiano is not vegetarian because it is made with animal rennet. However, there are vegetarian parmesan cheeses available. I believe that Trader Joe’s sells a block parmesan cheese that is fully vegetarian and can be used interchangeably with non-vegetarian parmesans.
- This dish holds up well in the fridge and can be made in advance. Remove the dish from the refrigerator about a half hour before serving so that it isn’t too cold.
Can you eat celery leaves?
All parts of celery are edible, including the leaves. You can chop them up in the same way you would herbs and add them to salads. They taste like celery stalks and provide many nutrients.
What can I make with extra celery?
If you have leftover celery after making this marinated celery salad, add it to soups and stocks or use it in pasta dishes and grain salads. You can also freeze celery for later use by following the instructions in my tutorial on How to Freeze Celery.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
If you can’t get enough of this simple marinated celery salad, check out these other delicious recipes!
- Raw Parsnip Salad with Dates and Sage Vinaigrette
- Radish “Potato” Salad
- Lemony Fennel Lentil Salad with Parsley
- Fresh Melon and Sugar Snap Pea Salad
- Italian Marinated Green Bean Salad
- Shaved Asparagus Salad with Mint Tarragon Dressing
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Marinated Celery Salad
- Combine the celery slices, diced red onion, and chopped parsley in a mixing bowl. In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. Pour this mixture over the salad ingredients, and toss until well-coated. Cover the bowl and transfer to the fridge. Let it sit for at least an hour to let the flavors meld.
- In the meantime, prepare the parmesan and walnuts. I like to use a swivel peeler on a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano to make wide shavings.
- Add the cheese and walnuts to the salad after it has finished marinating. Stir well, and enjoy!
- This recipe yields about four heaping cups of salad and can serve more than four if it’s part of a larger spread.
- If you are making this in advance, you can add the walnuts and parmesan at the same time as the other ingredients. They hold up well, so it’s up to you.
- The salad can marinate for up to 24 hours for maximum flavor. If you can, stir the salad every few hours while it sits in the fridge. Remove the salad from the fridge and let it sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before serving so that it isn’t too cold.
- To make vegan, omit the cheese. If you want this dish to be fully vegetarian, sub a vegetarian parmesan cheese for the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Have a great weekend! – Lizzie