Celery stalks, with the help of a chef’s knife, transform into a celebration of vegetables and crunchy cashews accented with a light sesame dressing.
Though I don’t come from a tradition that celebrates Fat Tuesday, I thought it would be educational to try some sweet pàczki for dessert on Tuesday night. I picked up a box of six pàczki at the local supermarket, and the sheer size of each pastry gave me pause. So I checked the calorie count just before I served them to the family. Discovering that they contained a somewhat shocking 410 calories a piece, I decided to offer the kids half of one. They could save the other half for the next day’s breakfast or snack.
So we didn’t dive headlong into the extreme indulgence of Tuesday’s holiday, but I still need to be more mindful of what I eat. To move in a healthier direction, I decided to invent a new Asian salad recipe. It uses just three simple ingredients–celery, carrots, and cashews. Celery is perfect for this chilly time of year, when we are still weeks or months away from farmers markets opening and fresh garden produce.
When I lived in northern China, I enjoyed a sesame-infused celery salad that was far tastier than plain raw celery. I also liked to order Gong Bao Ji Ding or Kung Pao Chicken. These two concepts came together in one delicious salad that I can’t stop eating. But that’s okay because it’s so healthy!
Celery has no calories at all. In fact it is considered to have negative calories due to the crunching energy required to eat it. However, plain celery isn’t that appealing to me. But by simply adding some light dressing, carrots, and cashews, I’ve got a flavorful salad that I can pile onto my plate with zero regrets!
Cashew Celery Salad
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced into 1-cm pieces
- 1/4 cup cashews (or peanuts)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cooking oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated OR fresh ginger paste
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, optional
- Add about 4 cups water to a medium or large saucepan or pot and bring water to boil. Add diced carrots and cook for 1 minute before adding celery. Blanch celery with carrots for 1 more minute before draining and rinsing in cold water for 1 minute. Set vegetables aside to drain and cool.
- To make the dressing, smash garlic clove with the side of a chef’s knife. Remove peel before mincing garlic as finely as possible. Transfer garlic to a small bowl. Add sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, cooking oil and ginger, and whisk together until blended.
- Into a serving bowl add the blanched vegetables. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat well. Adjust seasoning to taste. Cover salad and chill for one hour or more before serving. Just prior to serving, stir in sesame seeds and cashews and toss to mix. Serve cool.
I’m sharing this salad at Fiesta Friday this week,
co-hosted by Laura @ Feast Wisely.