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Lucky Comestible 6 (2): Classic Waldorf Salad

[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I’ll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I’ve recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days.  The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the second entry on apples.]


[Quick note: Don’t forget about the Trail Mix Giveaway–running until Friday! ]

As I was finally catching up on some long overdue blog reading the other night (and please forgive me if I haven’t been leaving as many comments as I used to–I promise I’m still reading!), I came across Diann’s post mentioning her 4-year blogiversary (congrats, Diann!). 

It suddenly struck me that I’ve missed my own 2-year anniversary (at the end of October).  Could it be that I’m preoccupied with end-of-semester assignments and marking?  Perhaps the excitement of Halloween clouded my memory (okay, not a great excuse–my memory is always clouded).  Or is it my fretting over an upcoming TV appearance for my book** on November 17 (be sure to watch if you’re in the Toronto area!).  Probably none of the above.  It’s just that I was just spending too much time mulling over the appropriate sequence of courses for this current Lucky Comestible series.  I mean, does one serve the salad before the soup, or soup before the salad? 

Hmm.  That’s a tough one. According to the Wellspring of All Things Informational, Wikipedia, soup follows the first course (which they call the entrée) ; after that, we have some fish or relevées (lighter courses), then a main dish, and then a salad, with dessert and cheese plate in pursuit.  It’s common knowledge in these parts that Italian meals often serve a salad toward the end as a kind of digestive aid (which makes total sense, as the raw ingredients contain enzymes that do just that). 

Well, now that I’ve discovered the joy that is Waldorf Salad, I wasn’t about to save this darling for the end of the meal! 

Believe it or not, I had never tasted a true Waldorf Salad before making this one.  (I know!  Even with me being all worldly and everything).  As a young adult, for me the name always evoked images of raucus witticisms and much imbibing at the Algonquin Round Table; impeccably-coiffed socialites in Chanel Suits, their French poodles (equally coiffed) trotting alongside on golden leashes; or Holly Golightly peeking in that store window before Breakfast (all of which occurred, of course, in the same city as the hotel in which the salad originated).

While I knew it contained apples, I wasn’t as clear on the other ingredients.  I imagined it must have something exotic, such as mizuna or ugli fruit (okay, not really; in those days, I didn’t even know what ugli fruit was.  I just liked the name). Or that it involved a multi-stage, every-pot-in-the-house sort of preparation.

Silly me!  This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Of course, “simple” doesn’t necessarily equate with “commonplace” (think of a simple but divine square of dark chocolate, a chic and tailored little black dress, or the perfect filligreed snowflake, for example).  The same principle applies to this salad; the quality of the whole is, perforce, determined by the quality of its constituent parts. 

In fact, I like to think of it in terms of a poem by William Carlos Williams (yes, my mind works that way):

so much depends upon

a red wheelbarrow apple

glazed with rain


beside the white

chickens. mayonnaise.

In a recipe like this one–containing only 3 ingredients besides the mayo–that mayonnaise is pivotal. In fact, the full gastronomic experience of the salad–the entire salad “zeitgeist,” if you will–is determined by that mayo.  Mayo Rules!

If you’re already familiar with a prepared mayo that you like and think would go well here, by all means, use it.  I’ve rarely used jarred mayo in the past, preferring to make my own.  And while the results have been perfectly fine for items such as mock tuna salad or even Celeri Remoulade, for this salad, I wanted something a little lighter, a little more delicate in flavor.  And I found it–on Vegan Epicurean’s blog!

The mayo recipe she created is perfect.  It’s airy, fluffy, not at all unctuous, yet rich and creamy, with just the right degree of tartness and sweetness to balance the oil.  I made mine in a VitaMix, but it should work in a regular blender as well (see recipe for pointers). 


The first time I made the salad, I foolishly halved the recipe, assuming the HH and I could never eat it all. (Silly me.) It was amazingly good.  Crisp, juicy, sweet apple bits complemented by crisp, juicy, slightly bitter celery bits, punctuated by crisp, toasty walnut bits, all coated in bits of creamy, smooth, ethereal mayonnaise.  And wouldn’t you know it–bit by delectable bit, I ate half the bowl.  (As did the HH.)

Whether you serve this as a first course, following the soup, or as a post-prandial nibble, no matter.  It’s a joy to eat any time.  

Mum, I’m sure we would find that salad a joy to eat, too! Oh, wait; for us, pretty much anything is a joy to eat.  But can we still have the leftovers anyway?”

Since this recipe is great for anyone with dietary restrictions, I’m submitting it to the Ultimate Recipe Swap: Allergies, hosted by Life as Mom.

**If you don’t yet have a copy of Sweet Freedomthis is a great time to get one for yourself, or as a holiday gift for someone else! Receive personalized, signed copies of the book mailed to you (so you have plenty of time to wrap and go before the holidays) for just $25 including taxes, shipping and handling.  Why not enjoy some delicious, healthy sweet treats this holiday season? Offer good until December 1st!

Classic Waldorf Salad

adapted from the original Joy of Cooking


A wonderful first course for a meal, or as a side dish with a summer dinner. There’s a reason this salad is a classic–it’s still irresistible, even today.

1 large sweet, crisp and juicy apple (I used Honeycrisp), cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups/480 ml)

5-6 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 2 cups/480 ml)

1/2 cup (55 g) lightly toasted walnuts, broken into pieces

1/2 cup (120 ml) halved green grapes (optional)

1 cup (240 ml) great-tasting mayonnaise (I used this recipe, with the ACD variation, below)

Place the apples, celery, walnuts and grapes in a large bowl. Add the mayo and stir to coat well.  Either eat immediately, or store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve.  To serve, garnish with more chopped walnuts, if desired.  Makes 4-6 servings.


ACD-Friendly Vegan Mayonnaise (based on Vegan Epicurean’s recipe):

1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened soy milk

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (270 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic

1/4 tsp (1 ml) apple cider vinegar

2-4 drops stevia liquid (to your taste)

1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt

1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 tsp (5 ml) finely grated lemon zest

1/4 tsp (1 ml) dry mustard powder

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until thick, scraping down sides as necessary.  Transfer to a jar and refrigerate before using.  (If using a conventional blender, blend all ingredients except oil.  Then, with motor running, slowly pour the oil into the blender and allow the mixture to emulsify.  Transfer to a jar and refrigerate before using).  Makes about 2 cups (480 ml).

Last Year at this Time: Chocolate Pecan Pie

Other Posts in this Series:

Other Apple-Based Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Other Lucky Comestibles:

© 2009 Diet, Dessert and Dogs



25 comments to Lucky Comestible 6 (2): Classic Waldorf Salad

  • Ricki,

    I am so pleased that you liked my mayo recipe. You made my day!



  • Sounds like a great mayo recipe. You know I never was a fan of the waldorf salad but you just may have changed my mind.


  • Now that my level of (food) maturity has risen to the point that I can eat walnuts in a salad, I could now try Waldorf salad! And I wouldn’t have to pick out the nuts. (Not quite up to walnuts in baked goods yet, but soon…soon…) Looks delicious.


  • Happy belated blogiversary, dear Ricki! 🙂


  • Oh and Chanel suits?? Diiiivine.


  • Congrats on the TV appearance and your anniversary!

    This is now my favorite of your posts because you mentioned my favorite Holly Golightly. 🙂

    I usually replace mayo with plain vegan yogurt!


  • irene

    I to have recently discovered the joys of the delicious waldorf salad. I just replace the mayo with a gorgeous ripe avocado mashed with some salt, dijon, lime/lemon juice and/or apple cider vinegar. YUM! Of course, avocado in just about anything is delish…
    Try it, i assure you, you’ll love it!


  • Courtney

    Congrats on the 2 year blogaversary, Ricki! AND on your TV appearance–I wish I were in Toronto so I could see it 🙂

    You know, I have never had a Waldorf Salad either! Which is odd, considering I love all the components. Well, except for mayo. That must be why I have never tried it, lol! BUT, I am totally going to try your version. I think that maybe making my own mayo so that I can control the flavors might make it okay? Here’s hoping!



  • Kim

    love love love the look of that mayo – I must try it, with a few tweaks here and there! It looks great. My family ate waldorf salad all the time, it was a standard thing at holiday meals and big Sunday dinners. It was never a favorite of mine – the creamy, slightly sweetened mayonnaise dressing on apples wasn’t for me – but I can understand the appeal. congrats on the anniversary, and for sharing a beautiful looking recipe!!!


  • Vegan Epicurean,
    Yay! I loved (LOVED) that mayo! 🙂

    I guess I was never a fan, either (having never tasted it), but I must say, I adored this!

    Glad that you are partway to maturity! 😉 Funny, to me walnuts seem more at home in baking than in salads.

    I have to agree–love those suits! And thanks for the good wishes 🙂

    Thanks so much! And how could I have forgotten about the Hepburn link??? She really was spectacular.

    I love that idea! I actually have a recipe for avocado mayonnaise, but am thinking the basil might not be the best addition. I’ll let you know if I try it!

    Thank you so much! I think they offer an option to buy the link, so I will post it if I can ever figure out how to do so. 🙂 If you find “regular” mayo a little too piquant or overpowering, you will probably like this one–very delicate flavor and texture, almost like coating the apples and celery with cream! MMMMM!

    Thanks so much! I probably wouldn’t have liked this combo myself a few years ago, but I guess my tastes have changed. I didn’t find the dressing so much “sweet” as “creamy”–it’s all good!


  • i shy away from mayo, and i’ve used greek yogurt in the past. LOVE waldorf though, maybe next time i’ll remember to try this 🙂

    Congrats on the blogiversary!! and good luck on tv! how cool 🙂


  • I can’t think of waldorf salad without thinking of fawlty towers – I am not sure if I have ever made it but now I am thinking of getting some celery to join my apple and walnuts and mayo – I just want salads at the moment so perfect timing

    as for order of courses – I am not at all good at this but just like to have lots as one course with the occasional starter and of course dessert – my salads usually appear with a main meal

    happy blog anniversary – hope there are many more years of blogging ahead of you – especially when I look at last years recipe and was looking at this recently


  • Happy Blogiversary to you too, Ricki! Your Waldorf salad looks wonderful. I haven’t eaten one in many many years. I went on a mayo making kick awhile back and I was wondering if you ever tried to make it with a milk other than soymilk. I could not make it come together with almond milk and found that odd.


  • I love Waldorf salad! Unfortunately, my gentleman friend doesn’t like celery, so it’s out if I want to make something that we’d both eat, but he’s tried and enjoyed celeriac lately – that may make for an interesting variation. I’ll have to whip up a batch of mayo and give it a try!


  • Mom

    That used to be one of my favorites for a small, light breakfast! Working meant that all of my food had to be prepared and ready-to-go because eating out was a landmine as we all know. Arriving at my desk before sunup nearly every day I brown-bagged breakfast, lunch, and snack, quite a hefty bag there 😉


  • I’ve never made my own mayo, vegan or otherwise. Isn’t it funny how we get scared of certain things? But this salad looks so delicious and I love your poem! I may have to whip out the blender…sadly, not a Vitamix 🙂


  • Happy belated 2-year anniversary, Ricki! You’re going to be on TV? Awesome! I hope they put the video up on their website so we can all see you! 🙂

    I’m not a fan of Waldorf Salad, but I am a big fan of mayo! I wonder if the mayo recipe would work with a different non-dairy, non-soy milk like hemp or oat?


  • Happy belated blog anniversary! TV sounds so exiting, I hope you have a good time.


  • this looks so good, perfect for the blistering weather we’ve been having lately. thanks for the comment! i’m glad i found your blog now too – it’s gorgeous


  • hiya, Ricki! no worries on the comments and blogging and such – you are one busy lady & it’s allll gooood!

    i’ve heard of waldorf salad, but i’ve never tried it before. it looks so darn delicious – and i love grapes, vegenaise, walnuts, and apples (especially honeycrisps & pink ladies). i am fo ‘sho gonna make this, Ricki. thank you for another wonderful recipe!

    i almost forgot – happy blogiversary!


  • Yum! That looks amazing 🙂

    Thanks…little Shwee is doing just fine now. After some heave anti-histamines, she was well almost immediately.

    Move to the west coast!


  • Can you believe I have never had a Waldorf Salad? My Canadian husband (who told me it was a very American food) is the one who told me what it was 🙂

    Anyway, yours looks fantastic! I may have to give it a try.


  • I have never been excited by Waldorf Salad. I think I tried it once and didn’t think much and that was many years ago, but this one is really tempting me. It looks really tasty. I must revisit it.


  • I’ve never had a waldorf salad either! Seeing your version makes me want to make it asap though. I’m also intrigued by that mayonnaise.


  • […] particularly like the taste.. but i did find some interesting recipes that use mayo like this Classic Waldorf Salad and of course, i do love the occasional egg or tuna mayo sandwich.. plus, it makes a good […]

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