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.
Anytime I add a lot of lemon zest and juice to pasta, it just seems extra summery. This dish is quite similar to our lemon spaghetti with raw zucchini recipe. They both have an abundance of fresh lemon juice 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
- Chop a ¼ cup of fresh parsley and set aside.
- 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.
- Zest 1 lemon and lightly chop any large strips.
- 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.
- In a large pan saute the garlic in a ¼ cup of olive oil on medium to medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- When the garlic turns lightly golden add the celery strips and cook for 3 minutes more. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a ½ teaspoon (optional) of crushed red pepper flakes.
- 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.
- 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 ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil onto the spaghetti. Add the zest and parsley and mix one more time before serving. Enjoy!
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 ¼ 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.
- 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.
More light summer pasta recipes
- Lemon caper pasta
- Pasta with cherry tomatoes
- Lemon garlic shrimp pasta
- Linguine with white clam sauce
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!
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 4 cups celery sliced into ¼" matchsticks
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 large lemon zested
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice fresh squeezed
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional, to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ 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 ¼ 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 ½ 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 ¼ 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.