Apio con Palta (Avocado Celery Salad)

Apio con Palta (Avocado Celery Salad)

In the United States, raw celery is often relegated to iterations of ants on a log (celery spread with cream cheese or peanut butter and raisins), as an accompaniment to carrots on a crudité plate, or standing tall in a Bloody Mary. Not so in Chile, where it grows incredibly well (to Gilligan’s Island–type proportions), and it is the backbone of one of Chile’s favorite salads.

Apio con Palta is fresh and bright and perfect as an accompaniment to stew or other soft foods, giving that crunch that is essential to every meal. It’s also one of the elemental salads of a Chilean barbecue, and it’s one of the only times you’ll see avocado cubed in Chile, as opposed to mashed.

Don't skip the olives and/or radishes, which give a nice color and flavor contrast. It is important for this and every salad served in a home in Chile is that it’s dressed in the kitchen, not on people’s plates. Every kitchen has a command center where the oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper take up residence, and unless you’re at a restaurant, you’d seldom see dressings on the table. Feel free to use white wine vinegar if your family prefers it over lemon.


  • 1 bunch celery
  • 2 radishes
  • 2 large avocados
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup pitted black olives or walnuts (we use aceitunas de Azapa)
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Use a potato peeler to gently remove the outer layer of the heartier celery ribs. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Leave a couple of leaves in the mix.
  2. Cut the radishes into thin slices.
  3. Soak the celery and radishes in ice water for 2 hours. Drain.
  4. Cut the avocado into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Mix everything in a bowl. Dress with the lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with olives or walnuts, and season with salt.
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