Best Waldorf Salad Recipe 2021
A Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad generally made of fresh apples, celery, walnuts, and grapes, dressed in mayonnaise, and traditionally served on a bed of lettuce as an appetizer or a light meal.
The apples, celery, and grapes can all be green, which harmonizes the color palette of the dish.
Waldorf Salad is a favorite around here, particularly in the fall when apples and walnuts are in season. It’s especially popular around the holidays, gracing many a Thanksgiving and holiday spread.
According to the American Century Cookbook, the first Waldorf Salad was created in New York City in 1893, by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’hôtel of the Waldorf Astoria.
The original recipe consisted only of diced red-skinned apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts were added later to this now American classic.
Some prefer their Waldorf salad made with yogurt, instead of mayo. I usually stay in the mayonnaise camp (which is what we are using in this recipe), but feel free to substitute yogurt for the mayo if you prefer. In which case you may need to add some honey to offset the added tartness of the yogurt.
Go Nuts Over These Waldorf Salad Recipes
The most interesting thing about Waldorf salads is their fresh sweet, nutty taste.
This is especially excellent for those summer get-aways and even as an appetizer or the Christmas holidays. It has a cheery taste, certainly separate from the usual green salad with vinaigrette.
While, of course, it is always a matter of taste, Waldorf salad is highly rich in texture. Though the level of difficulty in making this salad is somewhat higher compared to tossed salads, there is still basically nothing to putting up a great appetizer such as this one.
Below are some fantastic Waldorf Salaad preparations that would be perfect for the coming holidays. Indulge!
WALDORF SALAD RECIPE
2 medium red apples, cored and diced (about 2 cups diced)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Combine apples, celery, and walnuts; sprinkle with salt. Add mayonnaise and toss to coat all ingredients. Chill until ready to serve. Serve Waldorf Salaad on lettuce or mixed salad greens.
Waldorf Salad serves 4.
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JELLIED WALDORF SALAD
1 (3-ounce) package lemon-flavored gelatin
3/4 cup boiling water
1 cup of cold water
One cup chopped unpeeled red delicious apples
1 cup chopped celery
One cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; add cold water and chill until partially thickened. Fold in remaining ingredients, pour into individual salad molds, and chill until firm. Serve on crisp lettuce with mayonnaise, if desired. This Jellied Waldorf Salaad makes 4 to 6 servings.
SPICED WALDORF SALAD
2 cups coarsely chopped apples, about 2 medium apples
1 1/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
To make Waldorf salaad, place chopped apple, celery, and walnuts in a bowl. Combine mayonnaise, sugar, allspice, and lemon juice. Toss mayonnaise mixture with apple mixture. Serve Waldorf salaad over salad greens if desired.
Tschirky’s original recipe doesn’t mention nuts at all. Walnuts first make an appearance in 1928 The Rector Cookbook and have been fairly standard ever since, though Hopkinson, who doesn’t care for them, substitutes blanched almonds, and I try hazelnuts in Morphy’s recipe because she doesn’t specify a variety.
As they’re included as much for texture as taste, I conclude that most nuts would work here, but the rich bitterness of walnuts remains my first choice – Rowley Leigh recommends the creamy fresh kind if you can get hold of them, but otherwise, toast them before using to bring out their nutty flavor.
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Oliver tops his salad with blue cheese, which, though delicious, has no place in a Waldorf, but the dash of extra-virgin olive oil he uses to finish the dish inspires me to suggest a drizzle of walnut oil instead. It’s not essential, but it does tie everything together quite nicely.
Like Gilmour, Oliver also tosses in some “interesting” leaves to bulk out his salad, but texturally they take the focus away from the chopped elements, so I prefer Grimes’ and Carrier’s suggestion of lining the dish with leaves instead, to keep the two a little more separate.
This approach also has a distinct benefit, as far as I’m concerned, of looking pleasingly retro, even if it does detract from what Hopkinson describes, with some relish, as the dish’s “bland beige hue”. Win-win.
Waldorf Salad Dressing
There really isn’t much to Waldorf salad dressing, it’s pretty much just mayonnaise and a bit of sugar. Some add salt, pepper or a squeeze of lemon juice. I’ve also seen honey and yogurt used in the dressing.
I prefer to keep it traditional and simple but feel free to make it your own by adding your favorite flavors.
I find that anything barbecue goes perfectly with this fresh crunchy salad. Like coleslaw, the sweetness just pairs flawlessly. We love serving it alongside burgers, grilled chicken, or pulled pork.
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