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Waldorf Salad is fresh, crisp, crunchy, and sweet. So refreshing and filling, the perfect side dish to any meal!
Waldorf Salad is a side dish that originated in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The original Waldorf salad recipe had only four simple ingredients: apples, celery, mayonnaise, and lettuce. A Swiss immigrant by the name of Oscar Tschirky is credited for creating this salad in 1893. It became famous and is still a favorite today.
Waldorf Salad was served often in my husband’s family, along with my mother-in-law’s delicious pork roast, for Sunday and holiday meals. In fact, I had never heard of it until I started visiting his family. It has become a favorite dish of mine ever since.
The classic Waldorf salad is truly the perfect side dish because most of the ingredients you usually have on hand. It’s light, refreshing, crispy and satisfying. Sometimes we will make this salad to eat as a main dish or with simple sandwiches on hot a summer day or night.
Because this recipe makes a huge salad, I love taking it to church or family potlucks. It serves 12-16 people depending on serving sizes. It is a great addition at Thanksgiving and Christmas because it’s colorful and light, a perfect complement to turkey or ham dinners.
Waldorf Salad Ingredients
The original Waldorf Salad recipe contained only apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Dress it up with any of the following:
- Grapes: I always add red or green grapes to my salad. If they are large grapes, cut them in half.
- Turkey or Chicken: For a main course salad, add turkey or chicken. Cut it into cubed, bite-size pieces. This is a great way to incorporate leftovers into a meal.
- Pomegranate Seeds: These seeds add a fresh splash of color and taste to the salad.
- Pineapple Tidbits: Fresh or canned pineapple gives the salad a more tropical taste.
- Raisins, dried cranberries, or dates: Add some sweetness and chewy texture to this salad by adding raisins, dried cranberries or dates. If grapes are not in season, this is the next best option.
- Walnuts: Walnuts have become a traditional ingredient in Waldorf salad. I love the added crunch in addition to the crunchiness of the apples.
- Pecans: Many people have allergy issues with walnuts, making pecans the next best option.
- Broccoli or Cauliflower: Either of these vegetables are great choices because of their mild flavor and health benefits.
Crunchy Apples are a Must
Crisp apples are the most important ingredient in this salad! I like using two different varieties of apples when I make it. I prefer a Granny Smith apple and a red-skinned apple, but if they aren’t in season I will use whatever apples I can find that are crisp. Honey Crisp, Gala, Fuji, Sweet Tango and Pink Lady apples are some of my favorite, but you can use any apples you have on hand.
Waldorf Salad Dressing
This recipe uses the same creamy dressing as the original Waldorf salad recipe – mayonnaise. The sweetness of the apples and raisins complements the mayonnaise without it overpowering their flavor. Variations have been added to this dressing over the years. For a sweeter dressing, mix 2 teaspoons of sugar or 1 teaspoon of honey into the mayonnaise before it is added to the salad. Stir in a little lemon juice for a fresh, citrus flavor. Substitutions for the mayonnaise can be made as well. For example, use non-fat yogurt, Miracle Whip, Greek yogurt, sour cream, or light mayonnaise for a lighter dressing.
More Delicious Salad Recipes
Salads are a fresh and delicious way to get vegetables and fruits into your diet. It doesn’t take a lot to give a salad a little extra flavor and color. These salad recipes are unique, healthy, and easy to make.
- Nuts About Berries Salad – This salad is loaded with (you guessed it!) nuts and berries. It is fruity and refreshing.
- Mandarin Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans – My favorite part of this salad is the pomegranate seeds mixed in with the fruit and pecans. It is so flavorful!
- Kona Grill’s Red Pepper Coleslaw – Gorgonzola cheese and roasted red peppers give this traditional coleslaw a delicious twist.
- Asian Cucumber Salad – This low calorie salad is loaded with healthy vegetables and is lightly tossed in a rice vinegar based dressing.
- Fresh Mango Avocado Coleslaw – If you are lucky enough to find ripe mangoes and ripe avocados at the same time, you have to try this coleslaw! It is so colorful. The textures and flavors go so well together.
- Greek Side Salad with Greek Dressing – This flavor packed salad will not disappoint. Colorful vegetables, olives, and beans are dressed in an olive oil and vinegar dressing.
- Slice apples then chop into bite-size pieces. Place apple chunks in a bowl and toss in lemon juice.
- Mix celery, grapes, and walnuts in with the apples. Add mayonnaise or yogurt and stir until the fruit and nuts are well-coated.
- Refrigerate salad until ready to serve.
- Serve on a bed of green leaf lettuce or mixed greens.