Waldorf Salad Updated

by Pamela

Waldorf Salad Updated #WaldorfSaladRefresh @CAWalnuts

Sometimes, even a classic recipe needs a little updating. Sure, the Waldorf salad (from the Waldorf Astoria hotel) was created back in the late 1800’s and is ordered around 20,000 times a year, at the hotel, but why not mix things up a little bit? I took the classic ingredients of apples, celery and walnuts and lightened them up with a honey ginger vinaigrette in place of the usual mayonnaise dressing. Even the walnuts got a little pick me up by getting candied with a bit of spice.

I grew up with a salad that my family called a Waldorf salad but it in addition to the apples, celery, walnuts it also had grapes and marshmallows in it. I think most people would call that an ambrosia salad. Right? I remember gobbling it up as a kid, but as I grew older (and my taste buds came in) I just couldn’t eat it anymore. I think it had something to do with the combination of marshmallow and mayonnaise. Ick! Oh, and did I mention they were the pastel colored marshmallows?

Waldorf Salad Updated #WaldorfSaladRefresh @CAWalnuts

But this Waldorf salad is definitely missing the ick factor. In addition to the three standard ingredients, I added slivered snow peas, golden raisins and topped it off with radicchio. The other thing that I did to mix things up a bit is cut the apples with my mandoline (no fingers were cut in the process…for a change) into julienne strips, which match up with the slivered peas. I chopped the celery into little tiny squares (the fancy name for that is brunoise). The ribbons of radicchio blend in well with the salad when you take a forkful of it.

About those walnuts. Of course I used California walnuts, but instead of mixing them into the salad I candied them with some sugar, cayenne and salt. By adding them separately to the plate, you can choose when to add the crunchy sweetness to the salad.

Waldorf Salad Updated #WaldorfSaladRefresh @CAWalnuts

This is a great salad for picnics or parties too. Since there’s no mayo or dairy in it, you can let it sit out and not have to worry about it spoiling. And since everything in this Waldorf salad is crunchy, and tossed in a light vinaigrette, it will stay crunchy for quite a long time too.

Waldorf Salad Updated
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This updated version of the Waldorf salad mixes the classic ingredients with a few new ingredients and a honey ginger vinaigrette to lighten it up.
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6
  • Dressing
  • 2½ Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Walnut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Small Clove Garlic, grated
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • ⅛ - ¼ Teaspoon Salt (too taste)
  • Candied Walnuts
  • ½ Cup California Walnut Halves
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Waldorf Salad
  • 1 Fuji Apple, julienned
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, julienned
  • 4 Stalks Celery, cut into small dice (brunoise)
  • ½ Cup Sliced Snow Peas
  • ¼ Cup Golden Raisins
  • 1 Head Radicchio, finely sliced (you won't use all of it)
  1. Dressing
  2. Add all of the dressing ingredients into a small container and whisk to blend. Set aside.
  3. Candied Walnuts
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Add walnuts to a cup and fill with enough water to cover nuts and let sit for 1 minute.
  6. Mix the sugar, salt and cayenne in a bowl large enough to hold the walnuts too.
  7. Completely drain the walnuts and toss into the sugar mixture.
  8. Toss nuts around to fully coat them then dump out onto a baking sheet.
  9. Separate the walnuts from one another and slip the pan into the oven.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Nuts are done when the sugar has melted and the nuts are browned.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool.
  12. Waldorf Salad
  13. Add the apples, celery, snow peas and raisins to a large bowl.
  14. Re-whisk the dressing then pour it over the contents of the bowl.
  15. Toss the ingredients to thoroughly coat them in the dressing.
  16. At this point you can continue plating or tightly cover the bowl and refrigerate for later.
  17. To continue plating, add salad to plate or bowl then top with some of the radicchio ribbons.
  18. Add the candied walnuts to the rim of the dish.
  19. Serve.
If you want to prepare the ingredients individually before putting it all together you can do that too. Make sure you put the cut up apples into acidulated water (a bowl of water that has lemon juice in it) to keep them from turning brown. Then just drain the apples well before adding them to the final salad mixture.


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Sippitysup July 25, 2015 at 3:29 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever had a Waldorf Salad so this version counts as the original for me. GREG

Pamela July 25, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Greg, I think you’d have fun playing with the original recipe. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef July 23, 2015 at 7:19 pm

I’ve always been a fan of the original Waldorf salad but this sounds like it’s had a kick in the pants – in a good way.

Pamela July 24, 2015 at 9:48 am

There’s a little bit from the ginger Maureen, but it’s pretty subtle. It’s definitely a lot lighter.

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