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I’ll never know why stores sell 16-ounce bundles of celery hearts when I only ever need two stalks. Recently a friend of mine lamented that he had too much leftover celery slowly dying in the fridge, so I know it’s not just me. Unless you start running a juicery out of your home, excess celery is sure to happen. Whenever I have too much celery, I make this delicious celery salad. 

I’m aware that “delicious” and “celery salad” sounds like lies on lies, but it’s truly (cross my heart) something I enjoy. I was browsing one of my favorite cookbooks, Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, and found a celery salad that featured a hard boiled egg. If you put a boiled egg on anything, I’ll sign up—so I tried it out. It was lovely with plenty of crunch from the celery and green pepper, salty with feta cheese, and had mouth-puckering lemon segments tossed in. With the framework laid before me, this salad eventually evolved into the leftover celery salad I make today.

Thinly sliced celery in a mound.


Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

How to make leftover celery salad

The trick to preventing celery from being torturously tough as a raw vegetable is to slice it thinly and on a dramatic bias. Frankly, it’s just easier to eat. Chewing thick hunks of celery is exhausting. Thin slices shorten the stringy exterior fibers and expose more of the tender interior which softens slightly in the lemon vinaigrette while still maintaining plenty of crunch. You get to enjoy the verdant flavor of celery without feeling like you need a rest day. 

It’s no secret that celery doesn’t have much nuance to its watery flavor, so you should add some helpers that excite you. Make no mistake, celery is the star, but a boiled egg, some beans, a dash of spice, or crumbled cheese can help make this salad something to look forward to. 

While this recipe has measurements, it’s definitely the type that you can manipulate to fit your palate. I like to keep it light on the raw onion because it can be too sharp for me. I actually add it to the lemon juice with the salt first while I prep the other parts of the salad so it can break down and mellow out a bit. If you don’t mind the bite of raw onion, add more of it and slice it a little thicker than I do. That goes for the other accessories as well. Don’t be afraid to personalize it, and certainly don’t be afraid to add more celery.

Leftover Celery Salad

Ingredients:

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ small onion

  • ½ bell pepper, deseeded

  • 10 to 12 celery stalks, ends trimmed

  • 1 Thai chili pepper

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • ¼-½ cup frozen peas (or chickpeas, edamame, feta cheese, avocado, or a combo)

  • 4 boiled eggs, peeled and halved

1. Add the lemon juice and salt to a salad bowl. Thinly slice the onion and stir it into the lemon juice mixture. Thinly slice the celery stalks and the bell pepper. Mince the chili pepper.

2. Add the honey, mustard, and olive oil to the bowl of lemony onions. Whisk it all together so a dressing forms at the bottom of the bowl. 

3. Add the sliced celery, bell pepper, chili, and frozen peas. Toss everything together. Serve the salad and adorn the plates with a couple boiled egg halves. Drizzle some excess dressing on top and a dash of salt. 





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