Celery and Apple Salad with Pecans

I have a celery problem. I’ll choose a recipe that incorporates celery – a stir fry or salad, maybe – but I only ever need one or two stalks. I buy one bunch and tell myself I’ll make “ants on a log” (celery with peanut butter and raisins) or some other snack-y thing, but it never happens. The rest of that celery invariably ends up in the trash. I found a recipe, though, that seemed to have great “celery usage” potential – Celery and Apple Salad with Pecans from the March 2006 issue of Everyday Food.

The recipe calls for toasted pecans, so I started by baking 1/4 cup of pecan halves on a rimmed baking sheet at 350F for 6 minutes. While the pecans toasted and cooled, I peeled and thinly sliced 8 large stalks of celery. I also halved and cored 1 apple (I like Braeburn), thinly sliced it, and then sliced the slices in half.

To make the dressing, I whisked together 2 tablespoons of reduced-fat sour cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons of white-wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. I put the celery and apple slices in a large bowl, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then tossed everything gently with the dressing. I sprinkled the toasted pecans on top to serve.

This wasn’t a tastebud-blowing salad, but it was simple and good. I loved the crunch of the ingredients, and the pecans added really great flavor. I’m a lover of all things sweet, so I’m afraid I would have liked it more as a sugar fest… I could see tripling the sugar in the dressing and using candied pecans instead of just toasted ones. That’s an experiment for next time. This really was a terrific way to use the extra celery I had on hand, though.

TIPS: I had never peeled celery before and the peeling step is optional in this recipe, but I thought the extra effort was worth it. Peeling the celery completely eliminated its “stringiness,” which I thought made it more palatable.

Recipe link: Celery and Apple Salad with Pecans

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