For some reason I’ve been craving Waldorf Salad lately. Named for the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, the salad was invented in the late 1800s by Oscar Tschirky the hotel’s maître d’hôtel, who apparently also was into recipe creation.
The classic Waldorf salad is apples, celery and walnuts dressed in mayo. When I was a kid, by mom always put raisins in it and tended not to add the nuts. I suspect that’s how my grandmother made it—and since my grandmother was a Miracle Whip woman, it was definitely made with Miracle Whip instead of plain old mayonnaise!
Honestly, it’s the mayo that puts me off this type of salad. I’m not that big of a mayo eater and the thought of it as a sole dressing for a salad, unless it’s tuna or chicken salad, is too much for me. I don’t mind some, just not that much.
I also like the idea of adding chicken to this classic salad so that you can make a meal of it. I’m a fan of endive and apple salads (with blue cheese!), so I thought adding endive might make for an interesting variation on the Waldorf so that you weren’t just relying on celery. Since I had some red cabbage in the house, I thought adding a bit of that would not only add some nice color, but additional fiber and crunch! I wanted to try yogurt as the primary dressing base, as well. I’d recommend using a really good quality, whole milk plain yogurt for this so that you’re still getting some of the creaminess but without all the mayo fat. The best whole milk yogurt in Northern California is Straus Creamery’s if you ask me, so if you can find it, use it!
I was super tempted to make this a curried salad, as well, but instead I added some Old Bay to my dressing, which was sort of interesting. I think either make for a good addition to a dressing to add some flavor beyond yogurt and mayo – it’s necessary in fact, otherwise I just think the dressing is too bland. Dried minced onion and maybe a little lemon juice are good to add, too. If you also want to try adding a little honey or agave to the dressing for a tad of sweetness, I think that makes sense.
Waldorf Chicken Salad with Endive and Yogurt Dressing
1 medium apple, cored and diced
½ c. raisins (golden or regular)
1 stalk celery, diced
½ c. shredded red cabbage
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
¼ c. almonds, chopped
2 endive, halved and chopped
½-3/4 c. plain whole milk yogurt
¼-1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1-2 tbsp. agave nectar
1) Combine salad ingredients in large bowl.
2) In small bowl, make salad dressing.
3) Pour dressing over salad ingredients, toss and serve!
Best served over some sort of greens. I used arugula, but butter lettuce, romaine, or Boston Bibb, would all be great.
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