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Not My Mama’s Waldorf Salad

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Apple season is here and for me that means Waldorf salad. Now, this isn’t the Waldorf salad that comes from the Waldorf Astoria in the Big Apple! Makes me wonder now how the Big Apple got to be the Big Apple seeing how this salad is so popular. (OK, I just looked it up and it has nothing to do with this salad. It has to do with horses. That’s all I’m going to say.)

It’s been around since the 1890’s and is still a signature dish at the hotel today. After viewing this video and recipe I can see why. My pictures pale in comparison when you see what is on those plates, as do my ingredients. But since I made my salad first and then watched the video, well, let’s just say the next time I make mine, it could be quite a bit different than the one I’m showing today.


My mom used to make Waldorf salad. It was never my favorite though. I did like picking out the apples. And the nuts. And the celery. Just didn’t like them all together. I think maybe she added marshmallows and I don’t like marshmallows. So maybe it was the marshmallows I was removing. It was a long time ago and I don’t remember! I also think she added a lot of mayonnaise and I do like mayonnaise but not that much mayonnaise. Really, those ingredients minus the marshmallows plus chicken equals a very good chicken salad. In mathematical terms it would look like this:

Celery + Walnuts + Mayonnaise + Chicken = Good Chicken Salad.

I make chicken Waldorf salad a lot but never really thought of it this way.


Waldorf Salad Recipe From Waldorf Astoria 1

Well, at the Waldorf Astoria today you would find a very different Waldorf salad than what they served in the 1890’s. Today’s updated version contains black truffles and walnut oil and celery root. The walnuts are also glazed with sugar and paprika. AND they don’t use mayo anymore! I must say I would LOVE to try this Waldorf Salad. I would love to try this Waldorf Salad – THERE! In the Big Apple. I could make it, minus the black truffle, but I know it just wouldn’t be the same, if I am not sitting in that massive, but gorgeous dining room.  Now that is A Waldorf salad.

Mine pales in comparison. But it is good and my kids used to love it as children. We didn’t wait to eat it only at Thanksgiving. We ate it whenever I had apples that needed a home. Or when I was brain dead and needed a salad, somehow I always had apples, nuts and yogurt on hand. It is a good salad that is a long lost cousin from the original Waldorf salad. However, it is from that, that this recipe derives. It’s always good to have a rich cousin, right?


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Not My Mama’s Waldorf Salad
Serves 4

2 Chopped Apples – (Not too small)
1/4 c chopped hazelnuts or walnuts or pecans or almonds!
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c dried cranberries or your favorite dried fruit
1 T Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1 c yogurt – your favorite kind though plain, vanilla or honey works well. And I like the apple kind, too!

That’s it! Just mix it up and you have a great way to get some fruit into your kids. And I SUPPOSE you could leave out the cinnamon and the sugar and add celery! Throw in some peanuts and you’d have ants on a log salad. Oh-it has been a long week!

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More to Try:
Sephardic Charoses (Dried Fruit Salad)
Frozen Cranberry Salad
Microwave Caramel Corn
Gingerbread Waffles
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Laura Dembowski

Monday 21st of October 2013

This looks really fresh and yummy! Love that you added cinnamon.

Tricia @ Saving room for dessert

Monday 21st of October 2013

Abbe - I LOVE everything about this salad - what a great idea with the yogurt and all that wonderful fruit. Who needs celery!

shannon weber

Monday 21st of October 2013

waldorf salad! my mom is a HUGE fan of the old-school version...i still make it for her every so often when she's visiting. I love your version: especially the yogurt in it! i've always been a little sketchy about combo of mayo and fruit, you know? the yogurt solves that issue completely. :)


Monday 21st of October 2013

Aww love the history and the vintage and modern background on the Waldorf salad. Your version looks phenomenal! Yum!

Mary Callan

Monday 21st of October 2013

This is beautiful and as I've committed to eating a salad a day this is just perfect! Mary x

Abbe Odenwalder

Monday 21st of October 2013

Thanks, Mary. A salad a day is something we all should do!