Celery, Date & Walnut Salad ♥ Recipe

A 'light' but festive salad, a medley of crunch and autumn flavors
Today's Thanksgiving salad idea: A simple yet festive salad made with celery, dates and toasted walnuts.

The first year in my own home, I signed up to host Thanksgiving dinner for a fair-sized crowd, fourteen. Like all good guests, people offered to bring a dish, my sister the salad. But when she arrived, the salad had been completely forgotten, not left behind, mind you, forgotten -- we've laughed about it ever since. (Trust me, there's little that escapes my sister, so it's useful to have 'something' to hold over her. For. Life. 80K. For Life.) Ever since, salad rarely finds its way to Thanksgiving dinner, there are just sooo many other foods, we'll be back to lettuce soon enough.

Still, especially for small Thanksgiving gatherings, a salad can be a welcome respite from all the rich, plenteous food. I loved this salad and think it would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Think Crunch. Think Color. Think 'autumn flair'. Perhaps a Thanksgiving salad isn't optional after all.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes

DRESSING (enough for 4)
1/2 a shallot, minced very fine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or any good vinegar
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

1 - 2 ribs celery, sliced thin on the diagonal
1/4 - 1/2 of a date, sliced thin
2 - 3 toasted walnuts, chopped
2 - 3 shavings from good Parmesan

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss with the salad ingredients. Serve alone or atop a bed of fresh arugula or other salad greens.

DAY BEFORE Assemble dressing. Toast the walnuts.
MORNING OF Prep the celery and dates.
BEFORE DINNER Assemble salad ingredients, toss with dressing.

Use any good vinegar but sherry vinegar is definitely one of my favorites because it's smooth and sweet, while still completely vinegar.
No dates? Substitute golden raisins or another dried fruit. The dates do add sweetness so if you elect to skip the fruit entirely (or use one that's not so sweet), you might stir a teaspoon or two of maple syrup into the dressing.
For 12 servings, Food & Wine uses 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons walnut oil and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, a 1:2 vinegar:oil mix. It may be the classic proportion but is rich-rich mixture for my taste. Do, of course, mix the dressing to your own taste.

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Here at A Veggie Venture, vegetables are the real stars of the Thanksgiving table. So watch for new Thanksgiving recipes all November long, new additions to my collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes. Whether it's 2006's famous World's Best Green Bean Casserole or 2007's favorite Cauliflower Cream or a brand-new recipe which catches your fancy, this year, move vegetables to your center stage.
© Copyright 2008

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Oh yes Alanna, this would seem just the right touch of salad for a large Thanksgiving group or small.

  2. OH DEAR.

    Apparently one of the things that got past the sister is remembering to enter this contest. Luckily for me, my sister is very good with gentle reminders.

    I think the olive oil with lime sounds perfect for a cilanto-heavy salad, one of my favorites.

    adanna UNDERSCORE kellogg AT yahoo DOT com


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna