An American Classic–The Waldorf Salad
The Waldorf Salad has been called the “quintessential” American Salad. Popular for over 100 years, it’s been a family favorite at my house for what seems like nearly that long. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without my husband’s Aunt Maudine’s much-requested “apple salad”.
Sadly, we lost Aunt Maudine to COVID in late 2020. This will be our first holiday season without her.
She wasn’t a fan of fruits or vegetables. When offered any fruit or vegetable, other than corn or a corn casserole, her response was always, “I think I’ll pass, but thank you for offering.” So I always thought it was interesting that she enjoyed this salad so much. It’s probably the only “salad” she ever ate during her 91 years.
She wasn’t much of a cook so maybe that’s why she loved a good home-cooked meal and family dinners. So in her memory, I will continue to make her favorite “apple salad” at all of our future gatherings.
History of the Waldorf Salad
The original Waldorf salad was created by the maitre d’ Oscar Tschirky (chur-key) at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City in 1896. It was a super simple recipe–apples and celery mixed with mayonnaise.
The salad evolved with each decade. In the 1920s, grapes and walnuts were added. From the 930s trough the 1950s, gelatin salads became popular so a Jell-o version of the Waldorf Salad began appearing at dinner parties and church luncheons. As marshmallows became popular, also in the 1950s, they were to the Waldorf salad.
These days the Jell-o and marshmallows have thankfully been put on the culinary back burner. The mayo dressing has been lightened up a bit, with several recipes calling for a mixture of mayo and plain Greek yogurt. The result is a little fresher but is as delcious as ever.
What is in the Modern Waldorf Salad
- red apple
- green apple
- red grapes
- walnuts or pecans
- plain Greek yogurt
- fresh lemon juice
How to make the Salad
- Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, add all of dressing ingredients. Stir to combine
- Add the dressing to the salad bowl, and toss until well mixed.
Other Favorite Salad Recipes
- 1 red apple diced
- 1 green apple diced
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup red grapes halved or dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1/8 cup mayonnaise
- 1/8 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- COMBINE all ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, ADD all dressing ingredients. STIR to combine.
- ADD dressing to the salad bowl, and TOSS until well mixed.