Celery Salad with Cannellini Beans, Feta, and Olives

 

It’s the same old story. I purchase a beautiful pale green crisp bunch of celery, include it in a few salads, a soup, stew, or cut it into sticks to dip or scoop up a spread.

The leftover celery is banished to the ‘crisper drawer’ in the fridge and left to get limp and die.

Since commercially grown celery is mostly toxic water laced with industrial chemicals I only buy it if it is organically grown. Determined not to waste any I include the crunchy refreshing vegetable in many recipes and always looking for new ways to use it.

Today’s Celery Salad with Cannellini Beans, Feta, and Olives is a staple on my winter menu. Celery is always available year-round.

Peeling the celery is the ‘secret’. I once watched my friend from Brazil peel an entire head (or stalk) of celery and was surprised to hear that she always removes the ‘strings’ from every rib (stick from the stalk). From that moment on my celery ribs became stingless.

I wish I knew that when I was an elementary/preschool art teacher teaching ‘edible art’ making ‘Ants on a Log’. The strings made the logs difficult to chew and got trapped in the tiny teeth. The stringy stalks were not a problem with vegetable printing and sculpture.

Celery Salad with Cannellini Beans, Feta, and Olives has a long shelf life. Use it as a main course, side salad, or sandwich filling.

Celery Salad with Cannellini Beans, Feta, and Olives

Serves 8-10

Cook’s notes: Cannellini beans are ‘white kidney’ beans. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the strings from the celery stalks; this produces tender slices.

Make it your own: I sometimes use skinned chickpeas instead of the cannellini beans. Parsley can be used when Basil is out of season or unavailable. Tuck leftover salad into pitas!

Dressing:

¼ cup Sherry Vinegar or Red Wine Vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

4-6 cloves Garlic Preserved in Olive Oil

¼ cup Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Whisk together the dressing ingredients, set aside.

Salad:

3 cups cooked Cannellini Beans (from 2-15.5 ounce cans), rinsed

6 cups peeled Celery cut diagonally into thin slices

1 cup Celery Leaves, roughly chopped

Note: 1 large bunch of celery should provide 6 cups of sliced stalks and 1 cup of the leaves.

 4 Scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 cup pitted Green Olives, rinsed and sliced

¼ cup Basil Leaves, thinly sliced

1 cup Feta Cheese (I prefer Sheep’s Milk Feta), rinsed

Combine the cannellini beans, celery slices, scallions, and olives. Pour the dressing over the mixture, toss, and refrigerate for several hours.

Before serving allow the salad to reach room temperature. Stir in the celery leaves, basil slices, and feta.