A Modern Waldorf Salad. This recipe is a fresh take on a classic salad.
I have a vivid memory of trying my first Waldorf salad as a child. I remember it was a fight with my mother to eat it. “I don’t want mayonnaise on my apples; it makes no sense!”, I fussed in my outside voice. I lost the fight and reluctantly speared up a bright green apple cube covered in a thin layer of the mayonnaise-based dressing with my fork. I figured I’d start with the most familiar food. I survived the first crunchy bite of the apple. The tart-sweet taste of the apple and tangy dressing was pleasing. I tried a green grape. That combination was even better, sweeter. Before I knew it, I had gobbled my way through my first Waldorf salad and liked it. Childhood lesson learned: Don’t judge things until you try them. I later learned that applies to people too.
A Little Waldorf Salad History
- The original Waldorf salad was created in 1986 for a charity event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.
- The original recipe had apples, celery and grapes and no walnuts. The dressing was mayonnaise based and the ingredients sat on a bed of lettuce.
- Over the years the recipe has been altered using chicken, turkey, dried fruit, yogurt dressing, orange or lemon zest and even cauliflower!
In my version, I’ve replaced the mayonnaise with 2% Greek yogurt and included Medjool dates and toasted walnuts.
Here’s What You Need
¼ cup red or green grapes, halved
Keep an eye on your nuts, they can burn easily on the stove top.
Chopping nuts is a great way to work on your knife skills. These should be roughly chopped.
Helpful Hint – How to store your Medjool Dates
A vendor at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market gave me a helpful hint for storing my dates. Keep them in a bag in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life. They should be good for 45 days at room temperature; 6 months in the refrigerator; and 1 year frozen. Make sure to write an expiration date on the bag.
This fresh, crunchy version of the Classic Waldorf Salad is a great starter dish. If you have leftovers, they’re great for breakfast the next day.
Modern Waldorf Salad
Yield 6 servings
- ¼ cup walnuts toasted*
- ⅓ cup 2% greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoon Lemon juice
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups chopped apples
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ¼ cup Medjool dates seeds removed and cut into thin strips
- ¼ cup red grapes halved
- If toasting in the oven (I like to use my toaster oven), preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread out on evenly on a baking sheet. Make sure the nuts aren’t overlapping each other.
- Toast for 5 - 7 minutes, checking often to avoid burning.
- Walnuts are ready when they are slightly darker.
- If toasting on a stove top, place the walnuts in a small, dry pan over medium heat. Toast for 1 - 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Add apples, celery, red grapes and dates. Mix well and serve immediately.