I’ve always loved Waldorf salad. It was originally made at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhatten in 1893 and it has been really popular ever since,
It’s probably my favorite salad and the only reason I don’t make it more often (it’s pretty easy) because usually, I’m missing a key ingredient. Like apples, walnuts, or celery. In this case, I already had apples and walnuts, so I sent Garry to the store for some sour cream, celery, and raisins.
Some people serve it in layers with lettuce as a “cup” at the base, then the apples, nuts, celery, and raisins plus a big dollop of dressing on top and a drizzle of brown sugar on top. That’s too much like dessert for a dinner dish, at least for me.
It is a great light dinner for a hot summer day, though you really can’t get good apples until September. Crunchy apple are the difference.
What kind of apples? Green, red, yellow, but most important: CRISP. I’m not a big MacIntosh fan. I think they are a bit too mushy. I prefer Gala and Macoun. Even Empires which are maybe a little bit too hard, so you’d probably have to cut them into smaller pieces. You can also use a mix of whatever your favorites happen to be.
Also, I know my husband. He mixes everything anyway, even when I don’t want him to because I think he should taste each item separately. That’s when I’m being fancy, which gets increasingly rare as the years trundle along.
At least one person suggested adding truffles. I have never eaten a truffle. I think a truffle costs more than gold, so I’ll skip it, thanks. It’s not part of the original recipe either. There is an almost unlimited number of ways you can dress this up or down. I like it the way I make it, which is pretty much the same way as it was made in the late 1800s.
A few things have changed over the years, mostly the dressing. People get very creative with the dressing. I don’t get all that creative because I basically like the original recipe, which is mayonnaise. All mayonnaise.
These days, many cooks use vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt. Or sour cream. Or a mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise. I got funky and went with a combination of avocado-oil mayonnaise and sour cream (50-50), but that’s my choice. You can make your own choice.
Also, I used raisins because I prefer them to sliced up grapes.
So here’s my recipe, made the easy way because all of my recipes are easy to make and even easier to clean up afterward. You can serve this as a light dinner or as a side dish. It’s a nice lunch, too.
This recipe makes enough for 4 as a side dish, two as a dinner dish.
Three apples (green or red or yellow or one of each). Cut them into small pieces. Don’t peel them but remove the core.
1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 cup raisins (dark or yellow, take your pick)
3/4 cup slightly crushed walnuts
Half a cup of very thinly sliced celery
1 egg white
Spice mix: Sugar, a pinch of cumin, a pinch or two of hot paprika. You can sprinkle the spices on the walnuts of put the walnuts in the spices.
Cut up the apples. Put them in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon over the apples to keep them from turning brown
Put an egg white in a small dish. Mix the walnuts with the egg white. Pour off any spare egg white. You only need the egg white to make the walnuts sticky enough to put the spices on them.
In a small pan (line the pan with aluminum foil to avoid extra washing), mix the walnuts with the spices and put them in a toaster oven, put them in it for four minutes at medium heat. If you don’t have a toaster oven (doesn’t everyone have one?) you can put them in a full-size oven — or throw them in a pan on the stove (use a little olive oil so they won’t stick). Toast for three or four minutes. NOT longer. Don’t let them burn.
Slice a few small pieces of celery as thin as possible. Throw them in with the apples and mix. When you are done toasting the walnuts, mix them in with the apples too. Add the raisins to the bowl with the apples, celery, and walnuts. Mix.
I used 1 cup of 1/2 cup avocado-oil mayonnaise and 1/2 cup of sour cream.
You are supposed to serve it in a “cup” of Romaine lettuce. I didn’t have any lettuce and it tasted fine free of lettuce. If you prefer using yogurt, that’s okay with me.
We had it for dinner because Garry was starving and this was ready to eat. It was delicious. Garry got over-excited and bit his tongue. Ouch.
Some people serve this with cold cooked chicken and other people add salt and pepper. I forgot the salt and pepper and didn’t miss it. I also didn’t have any chicken. Someone weird suggested adding marshmallows but she must have had too many small children. Marshmallows do NOT belong in a salad.
You can add sunflower seeds. You can use pecans or almonds instead of walnuts. Just not peanuts — they have the wrong flavor. You can get very fancy, but I have no patience for fancy anymore. I’m just glad when things come out well and we enjoy eating it.
If you want more, you can double the recipe, or just add more of each item. It’s easy to make, it tastes great and it’s sort of like a desert, but without all the sugar and fat.