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Celery Salad with Tuna

Makes 4 servings10 minutes hands on time10 minutes total time

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 4 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 10 minutes

Total time: 10 minutes

This is like tuna salad, but with the ratio flipped: celery plays a starring, rather than a supporting, role here. In fact, if you’re low on tuna, you can use only one can, and this will still be good. My 20-year-old son, who is usually more interested in food that is either hot from the deep fryer or has a gigantic bone sticking out of it, will eat and eat this salad, directly from the bowl, until it’s gone. It multiplies well and also halves easily, and you can stretch it with a can of drained white beans, if you like (recalculate the carbs if you do).

Celery can keep a month or more in the refrigerator, but if it gets too raggedy for eating raw, try this “recipe” instead: braise it over very low heat, covered, with a splash each of olive oil and water (or wine), a generous pinch of salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a few smashed cloves of garlic. After 2 hours, add a big squeeze of lemon juice and eat it.


1 whole “heart” of celery, or a bunch of celery with leaves (enough to make around 3 cups sliced)

2 (5-ounce) cans oil-packed tuna, undrained (if it’s not oil-packed, drain it, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the salad)

1/2 cup sliced pepperoncini (These are mild pickled salad peppers. If you don’t have them or don’t like them, swap in something else pickly, like sliced dill pickles or roasted red peppers or a big spoonful of capers, or just skip it)

Juice of 1 lemon (or ¼ cup of the pickling liquid from the pepperoncini)

Salt and pepper


  1. Trim off the tops from the celery bunch, then cut across the whole bunch to slice the celery stalks, along with all the leaves, into thin slivers. Use the whole thing, or measure around 3 cups of slices and leaves, and stop there.
  2. Put the celery in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, including the oil from the tuna (or the olive oil), and mix gently. Taste and add more lemon, salt, or pepper if it needs it. This is crunchiest and most delicious fresh, but it can keep in the fridge for a day or so.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]