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Celery Salad

By definition, one of the healthiest meals we can eat is salad.

Most salads have a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, greens and healthy fats. This year, we will be examining salad making, salad dressings and all the ingredients that can go into a wonderful, tasty and healthful salad, as a meal or side dish. So keep an eye out on this column for an occasional piece on salads.

Today's entry is going to feature what is usually an afterthought in salad making, celery. We've all been to parties where people load up small pieces of celery with herbed cream cheese, peanut butter or any number of other tasty ingredients. Restaurants usually serve celery alongside Buffalo Wings. Celery is inexpensive, healthful and readily available at any supermarket.

In putting together this tasty, crunchy dish we will be looking at an Italian ingredient, tomino cheese. This Italian cheese may be difficult to find. So you can substitute any other semi hard cheese that suits your desires. Such as medium sharp cheddar, colby, monterey jack and even for a spicier version, pepper jack cheese. These are all American made and readily available.

Celery and Walnut SaladServes 4

2 stalks celery, cleaned and trimmed1 green apple, peeled cored and small diced1 lemon, juiced4 oz low-fat tomino cheese, or other substitute, shredded1 Tbl fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (or 1/2 Tbl dried parsley)1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste

Clean and trim celery, cutting into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long, sliced each of those pieces lengthwise into thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick. Place celery strips and apple in a small bowl and stir in half the lemon juice. Add the cheese, parsley and half the walnuts. Whisk together the olive oil and remaining lemon juice in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining walnuts and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss to distribute evenly.

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