Celery and Red Onion Salad

Celery red onion salad

The  Spruce /  Jennifer Meier

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Celery isn't often used as the main ingredient in a salad, but the crunchy texture and refreshing, pleasantly bitter flavor are actually quite good when topped with a flavorful dressing. In this salad, red onions and a garnish of cheese add an additional boost of flavor.

Right after this salad is made, the texture is really crisp and the flavor is light. After a day or two, the celery becomes softer but the flavor intensifies.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 3 cups thinly sliced celery (include the leaves if they are attached to the stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or other hard cheese)

Steps to Make It

  1. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until the onion is soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. If the onion begins to burn around the edges, turn the heat down slightly.

  2. In a large bowl combine the cooked onion and celery.

  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons), lemon juice and salt. Pour the dressing over the onion and celery. Mix well. Top each serving of the salad with grated cheese.


  • Parmigiano-Reggiano and other hard cheeses are great cheeses to always keep on hand. The cheese stays fresh for weeks in the refrigerator and you can just cut off what you need for a recipe. For short periods of time the cheese can be stored in a sealed plastic bag. For longer periods, the recommendation from Steven Jenkins, author of the Cheese Primer is "...moisten a piece of cheesecloth or other cloth - even a paper towel will do - and wrap it around the large hunk. Then, wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil. Store it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator."
  • However, try to buy small amounts of cheese that you'll use up quickly because the flavor does tend to be better the sooner you eat it. When buying cheese for recipes, follow these general measurement guidelines to make sure you're buying the right amount.

Recipe Variations

  • This celery salad can be served as is, but it's also really good tossed with mixed greens and other salad ingredients. We also like it as a topping for salmon.