Classic Pear and Celery Salad Recipe

Food presentation is an art. I occasionally see lovely food designs in hundred-year-old magazines that may not quite work a century later. Then again, maybe they do. As food fads wax and wane over time, these old presentations sometimes almost seem refreshingly cutting edge.  Pear and Celery Salad definitely is dramatic, and is sure to be a conversation item at any party; however,I have mixed feelings about whether it is a fun but quirky recipe, or just a bit odd.

Source: Libby’s Advertisement in Ladies Home Journal (February, 1918)

The Pear and Celery Salad is placed on a bed of celery leaves, which creates a beautiful foundation for the salad. Celery slices are heaped into a large mound in the center of the plate, and then surrounded by canned pear halves (poached fresh pear halves would also work well). The mounded celery is topped with a mayonnaise, chili sauce, and nut dressing.

This recipe definitely turned out better than I thought it might. The tender pears melted in my mouth and  their delicate flavor was nicely balanced by the crunchy celery and nuts. The dressing reminded me a little of French salad dressing, except that it was nutty instead of smooth. The dressing worked well with the celery – and was intriguing with the pears.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Pear and Celery Salad

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chili sauce

1/2 cut walnuts or other nuts, chopped

celery leaves from 1 head of celery

approximately 2 1/2 cups celery, cut into 1/2 – inch slices

1 29-ounce can of pear halves, drained

To make the dressing, place the mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl; stir until combined. Add nuts, and stir. Set aside.

Arrange celery leaves on serving plate, then place the sliced celery in a pile in the center of the plate. Surround the heaped celery with the pear halves which are stood on their edge. Gently spoon the dressing on top of the celery. There may be more dressing than needed. Reserve and extra dressing and serve separately.

23 thoughts on “Classic Pear and Celery Salad Recipe

  1. If I were to use this, I might consider doing individual salads, with the celery filling the pear centers and the dressing on top. It seems like this would be a little messy to serve. I can see the celery going everywhere after the first person takes their portion.

  2. Interesting recipe! Here we fill the pears with mayonnaise and shredded cheese, so I’m sure this is good. I do like shoreacres idea of individual servings better than the recipes.

    1. My mother made the pears with mayonnaise and shredded cheese. I thought it was so gross as a child, but, served it to my picky family as an adult and we all loved it!

      1. Until I read your comment and the other one about pears with mayonnaise and shredded cheese, I’d never heard of this salad. Now, I’m curious.

    1. It is easy to make. It took me a little time to get the presentation right. When I first did it, I didn’t have the pears evenly spaced – and it looked a little lopsided, but that was easy to fix.

  3. This is a lovely presentation – well done! Impressed also that you try these old recipes even though you’re not sure they sound good – nice to be pleasantly surprised.

  4. Beautiful food presentation.
    I wouldn’t have thought of putting these flavor together, but it sounds like they work deliciously. Thanks for sharing this pretty and tasty recipe.

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