Celery reaches stardom in a salad with a blue cheese dressing. (Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle)

Celery reaches stardom in a salad with a blue cheese dressing. (Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle)

When a simple salad needs some crunch, call on celery

This recipe is destined to be in your repertoire well after celery’s 15 minutes of fame has passed.

Celery had long languished as an underrated vegetable until it suddenly became Instagram-famous for completely unsubstantiated claims about magical healing properties. Never mind all that and enjoy it for what it is: an accessible, good-for-you vegetable that deserves to be brought out of the background and onto center stage.

Celery offers so many more culinary possibilities than you probably imagine — it is wonderful braised or stir-fried, for example, and it totally pops as a cool, crisp base for a winter salad.

This recipe plays the mild, juicy crunch of the vegetable against a creamy, pungent blue cheese dressing made more healthful by swapping out some of the typical mayonnaise with yogurt, which also adds a lovely light tang.

Sliced radishes and flecks of fresh chives add color and flavor, resulting in a simple salad with an elegance that belies its humble ingredients. It is destined to be in your repertoire well after celery’s 15 minutes of fame has passed.

Celery salad with blue cheese dressing

1 large bunch celery, preferably with leaves

3 medium red radishes, thinly sliced into half moons

¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon honey

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Use a peeler to remove the stringy outer layer of the 4 or 5 outermost dark green celery ribs. Cut the white bottom end away from the remaining paler, leafy stalks. Remove the pale innermost leaves and coarsely chop them. Slice the stalks thinly on the diagonal, and place both the sliced stalks and the leaves in a large bowl with the radishes.

Whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the cheese, then add the dressing to the bowl of celery and radish, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle with the chives and serve.

Makes 4 servings. Nutrition per serving: 120 calories; 10 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 390 milligrams sodium; 15 miligrams cholesterol; 4 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 1 gram dietary fiber.

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