This Italian celery salad is both light and refreshing and takes less than 10 minutes to put together. Sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese shavings and dressed with a light lemon dressing, this vegetarian salad is perfect for summertime.
This post was originally published in September 2020 and has been updated for content
This celery salad is a simple version inspired by Ina Garten's Celery and Parmesan Salad. The sharp flavor of the parmesan cheese complements the light and crunchy texture of the celery. Finished off with the bright lemon vinaigrette this refreshing dish pairs perfectly with grilled meat or a heavier main dish.
🥬 Ingredient notes
- Celery - An entire bunch of raw celery is used in this celery salad recipe. Both the stalks and leaves of celery are edible and provide great flavor and texture. The only part you will discard, are any brown tips or bad spots along with the very bottom of the celery.
- Parmesan - The shaved parmesan cheese adds a great salty and sharp quality to the celery salad which can sometimes be plain on its own. Pecorino romano, asiago or feta cheese would be good alternatives.
- Lemon Dressing - The dressing for this celery salad is a simple vinaigrette made up of lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. It's light and adds a nice brightness to the salad.
📋 Substitutions and Variations
- Vegan/Dairy Free - To make this celery salad vegan or dairy free, omit the parmesan cheese.
- Nuts/Seeds - Add sliced almonds, sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts for extra crunch.
- Fruit/Vegetables - Add in dried cranberries, sliced apples or sliced fennel for extra flavor.
- Spicy - Add ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the dressing to kick the flavor up a notch!
🔪 Step by step instructions
First slice the entire bunch of celery into one inch slices, discarding the bottom of the stalks and any brown tips or bad spots. Combine in a mixing bowl with the parmesan shavings to toss together.
In a small mason jar or container with a lid, add all of the ingredients for the dressing. Cover and shake until the dressing is creamy and well combined together. Pour the dressing over the celery and parmesan and toss everything together.
Serve this celery salad immediately or place in the fridge to chill for 30-60 minutes.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in the Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Is your celery not as crisp as you would like it to be? Cut the bottom off of the bunch of celery and place it in cold water for 20-30 minutes to crisp it up again.
🍽 Serving and storage suggestions
I don't recommend making this celery salad more than a few hours ahead of time as the dressing will start to break down the cheese and celery. Instead, mix together the celery and parmesan and store in the fridge separately from the dressing. Then, when it's time to serve, simply toss the salad with the dressing.
Leftover celery salad can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.
🥗 More salad recipes
If you loved this Italian celery salad, check out these other salad recipes that I know you will love too!
Italian Celery Salad with Parmesan
- Slice the entire bunch of celery, including the leaves, into approximately one inch pieces. Discard the bottom and any brown tips or bad spots.
- Combine celery and parmesan cheese shavings in a mixing bowl and toss to combine.
- In a small mason jar or container with a lid, combine lemon juice, olive oil, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Close jar and shake until combined and creamy in texture. Pour dressing over celery and parmesan and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately at room temperature or chill for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
- Crisp up limp celery by cutting off the bottom of the bunch of celery and place it in cold water for 20-30 minutes to crisp it up again.
Substitutions and Variations
- Vegan/Dairy Free - to make this salad vegan or dairy free, omit the parmesan cheese.
- Nuts/Seeds - add sliced almonds, sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts for extra crunch.
- Fruit/Vegetables - add in dried cranberries, sliced apples or sliced fennel for extra flavor.
- Different Cheese - try feta, asiago or pecorino romano as other cheese alternatives.
- Spicy - add ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the dressing to kick the flavor up a notch!