What to do with lots of celery in the fridge?  Make pasta with celery, of course!  It’s real easy, with a great texture from the lightly cooked celery strips.  It has that celery crunch and a garlicky, lemony fresh parsley flavor.  It’s definitely an all-year-round dish but works particularly well in the summer when looking for lighter pasta recipes.

Overhead shot of plated spaghetti and celery on blue board.

Anytime I add a lot of lemon zest and juice to pasta, it just seems extra summery.   This dish is quite similar to our pasta with asparagus and lemon, and our lemon spaghetti with raw zucchini recipe.   They both have an abundance of fresh lemon juice and parsley.

Ingredients shown: pasta, celery, garlic, lemons, parmigiano reggiano and parsley.


Simple ingredients in this one, and if you are vegan just omit the Parmigiano Reggiano shown.  The celery pasta is excellent either way!

How to make pasta with celery

  1. Chop a 1/4 cup of fresh parsley and set aside.
  2. Julienne 4 cups of celery strips.  No need to be absolutely perfect here, do the best you can to make the pieces the same length and similar thickness.

Recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Zest 1 lemon and lightly chop any large strips.
  2. Slice 4 cloves of garlic.  Bring a pot of salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon of water)  to boil, and cook pasta to al dente.  Before draining the pasta, reserve 2 cups of pasta water.   
  3. In a large pan saute the garlic in a 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium to medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  4. When the garlic turns lightly golden add the celery strips and cook for 3 minutes more.  Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a 1/2 teaspoon (optional) of crushed red pepper flakes.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. To the pan, add 1 cup of pasta water.  Also, add in the juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons of juice).  Let the sauce cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the spaghetti to the pan.  Mix thoroughly or toss to emulsify.  Cook for 1 more minute allowing the sauce to stick to the pasta.  Taste test and adjust salt and crushed pepper flake levels if required.  If the spaghetti is too dry add in a few ounces at a time of the reserved pasta water.  Finally, remove the pan from the heat and drizzle a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil onto the spaghetti.   Add the zest and parsley and mix one more time before serving.  Enjoy!

Two bowls of pasta on blue table.

So that’s how to make a great summertime pasta recipe!  Serve the celery pasta with more extra virgin olive, red pepper flakes, lemon wedges, and Parmigiano Reggiano on the side.

Substitutions and additions

  • Capers – Capers are a great ingredient, with a ton of flavor.  Because of their potency, use about 2 tablespoons, any more than that will overpower the celery and lemon flavors.
  • Anchovies – Use 3 chopped fillets as a good starting point.  Saute them with the garlic until they dissolve.  Anchovies have great flavor but are not for everyone.  We love them!
  • Basil – Love this addition – Add in a 1/4 cup or more of freshly torn leaves right at the end along with the parsley.
  • Veggies – So many good ones can be added to this celery with pasta.   Chopped asparagus, cherry tomatoes, chunks of zucchini, and fresh spinach would all be appropriate.

Top tips

  • Celery – The crunch in the celery makes this dish especially nice.  If you’re at all hesitant, undercook the celery.
  • Sauteing garlic – Getting a nice light golden color on the garlic, will maximize its wonderful flavor.  Make sure to not burn the garlic, but to have a slight golden color on it before adding the celery.  Once the celery is added, water will be released,  hindering the garlic’s ability to brown.
  • Pasta water – Reserve 2 cups or more to ensure the celery pasta is perfect before serving.  The recipe calls for 1 cup, but if the pasta dries out, use a few ounces at a time to bring the consistency right back.

Overhead photo of celery pasta in a bowl on blue table.

More light summer pasta recipes

If you’ve enjoyed this recipe for spaghetti with celery, or any recipe on this site, we want to know so tell us in the comments below. We would love to hear how you did and it’s nice to show others as well. Thanks!

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Pasta With Celery

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Perfect summer pasta dish with loads of fresh celery, lemon, parsley and garlic flavor.


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 cups celery sliced into 1/4" matchsticks
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 large lemon zested
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional, to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Julienne 4 cups worth of celery into 3" long matchsticks.
  • Meanwhile, cook spaghetti to al dente in salted (2 Tbsp kosher salt per gallon) water.  
  • Saute garlic in a 1/4 cup of olive oil in large pan over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes.  After garlic is lightly golden add the celery and cook for 3 minutes more.  Add 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper to season the celery. 
  • Add 1 cup of pasta water and the lemon juice to the pan and cook for 1 minute more.  
  • Add in the spaghetti and mix to thoroughly coat with the sauce.  Cook for 1 minute, then remove pan from heat.  Taste test and adjust salt and red pepper if necessary.  Add the zest and fresh parsely.  Also, drizzle a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil onto the spaghetti.  Mix one more time and serve with more crushed red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive, lemon wedges and cheese.  Enjoy!


  • If the pasta dries out before serving, just add a few ounces of the reserved pasta water to loosen it right up.
  • Only 1 tsp of kosher salt was used, adjust according to taste.
  • Crushed red pepper is optional.
  • Serve with extra red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and lemon wedges on the side.


Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 67.3g | Protein: 13.9g | Fat: 28.1g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 694mg | Potassium: 514mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 2.8g | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 4.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. 5 stars
    My vegetable bed was being overrun with celery, so I was very happy to see this recipe. Just tried it, and my husband and I both enjoyed it. Thanks for the great videos.

  2. 5 stars
    I love watching you and cooking your recipes The pasta celery was amazing who would have thought delicious Thank you

  3. You are doing ab outstanding Job, your take on some of the recipes are out if this world, I love your passion that you put into everything you make, one of my favorite is the episode is the one where you show us how to use and season the metal sheet for making pizzas,
    But over all, I have enjoyed every episode’s so it very hard to pick anyone that stands out, they are all great.
    One of the best thing you do, is doing a week of a particular item, like when you did the pizza week, I really enjoyed that one.
    It’s great to see someone who is just a regular Joe, (if you understand that reference then we are both getting old, lol.)
    Anyway keep up your work, and again thank you, and that one chef to another.

    1. Thanks man! I try to break things up into series or playlists for YouTube. I do plan to put all the recipes in the 3 different pizza series into published posts here on the blog. But that’s taking some time as I feel pizza making and putting those recipes into detailed written instructions is quite challenging. I am most definitely a regular Joe haha. Appreciate the support!

  4. Love the simplicity of this. I tend to forget about celery. This is a good reminder that it can be the star of a delicious and beautiful dish.