Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Zingy Apple and Celery Salad

January 10, 2011
Photo by Linda Xiao
Author Notes

This is one of those recipes that falls out of nowhere and into your brain. I assume it was inspired by something, but I have no idea what, it just appeared. I know apple and celery salads are a thing, but this one is quite different from your standard version. It mixes up a variety of crunchy, salty, and sweet ingredients for a wonderfully refreshing salad that still feels hearty enough for winter. My husband, who can always be counted on to come up with the most pithy/amusing things to say about what I cook, started eating it and exclaimed (with gusto), "oh my gosh! This salad is changing my life one bite at a time!" So there you go, it's a life changing salad. ;) - fiveandspice —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

It’s hard to imagine a more cheerful salad than this in the dead of winter, or any time really, for that matter. The title of this recipe pretty well describes it, but doesn’t capture the brilliance of the combination of ingredients. The mint, lemon juice, capers and ricotta salata (which was the only ingredient I don’t regularly have on hand, but well worth the effort to find), provide the perfect foil to the sweet-tart apple and raisins. Juicy and fresh tasting, with wonderful bright, bold flavors, this salad is one I plan to make again, often. ;o) —AntoniaJames

  • Serves 4
  • 2 cups celery, thinly sliced (on a bit of a diagonal)
  • 1 sweet-tart apple, such as Braeburn or Pink Lady, cored and cut into smallish chunks
  • 2 tablespoons (heaping) golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons (generous Tbs.) crumbled ricotta salata (or other fresh, salty cheese)
In This Recipe
  1. If the raisins are dry, soak them for 10 minutes in a bit of apple juice or water. Then drain them.
  2. Combine the celery, apple, raisins, and capers in a medium-large bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil and toss well to coat.
  3. Throw in the sliced mint and the crumbled ricotta salata and toss again until everything is a lovely jumble. Serve! This salad also just grows better as it sits a little while and the flavors hang out and get to know each other a bit better (within reason, I'm talking a couple hours to a day here, more than that and the celery does start to lose its crunch).

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    Hannah Mark
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.