Vegan Waldorf Salad a timeless classic recipe that has been given a plant-based facelift without losing its decadent creaminess. A simple, versatile salad that can be served either as a starter or a side for dinner.
Classic Waldorf ingredients and then some are featured in this salad all coated in our creamy walnut dressing. A dressing that is also superb on leafy greens such as kale, chard or even stirred through a pasta salad.
Origins of Classic Waldorf
According to salad lore, Waldorf salad was created at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York (hence the name). It was surprisingly created by the maître d hotel Oscar Tschirky and not the chef. Originally it was made just with apples, celery and mayo, later it evolved to include walnuts which are now a staple of the salad. More modern versions include grapes and sultanas.
The ingredients in Waldorf Salad
If you look at the ingredients in the classic Waldorf salad, you will see that it is a crunchy blend of savouriness, sweetness and creaminess.
- In our version of the salad, we have used traditional celery for crunch.
- We have included both a green and a red apple for the variety of colour and sweetness A savoury tart Granny Smith and a sweet Red Delicious.
- For some added sweetness a pop colour we have added black grapes and cranberries.
- For vegan creaminess, we have blitzed roasted walnuts into a creamy nut butter. We then added some apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of maple syrup.
- We have also added toasted walnuts for an added nutty crunch.
Why Do APPLES Go BROWn
Once the flesh of cut apples is introduced to oxygen, it produces a reaction called “enzymatic browning.” Apple cells contain an enzyme that when coming into contact with the oxygen in the air, it turns compounds in the apple tissues brown – food rust!
My favourite way to stop apples from browning is to keep the sliced apples in salted water for up to 10 minutes. Not only does this stop them from turning that horrible rusty brown but it doesn’t alter their taste once rinsed off.
Steps to making it
Wash your apples and remove the core with an apple corer, slice thinly into half-moons using a v-slicer or sharp knife.
To prevent your apples from browning place them in salted water using one teaspoon of salt for every two cups of water.
When you are ready to assemble the salad strain your apples well and pat dry.
2CUT CELERY & GRAPES
Wash your celery stalks carefully to remove any dirt that may be lodged there. Cut off the white part of the celery, trim the top part of the leaves and discard the offcuts.
Then, using a vegetable peeler, de-thread your celery (no need to do this if you don’t have the time). Then chop finely into small dice or thinly slice in a food processor.
Wash your grapes under cold running water, pat them dry then remove from stems and cut in half.
Chop your toasted walnuts (it is important to chop them so your dressing is smooth and not lumpy). Place the walnuts in a blender with the oil and blitz until it comes together.
Add the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and season. Blitz until creamy, taste and adjust seasonings according to your preferences.
Strain your apples and dry, then place in a large mixing bowl, add the celery, grapes, roasted walnuts and cranberries. Season your salad with sea salt and cracked black pepper, pour over the dressing and mix well until everything is well coated with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your personal preferences.
Arrange in a salad bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Recipe and Make Ahead Tips
- Cut celery in advance and keep it in the fridge, covered in water. Drain well and pat dry before adding to your salad, it will be super crisp.
- Make half an hour in advance and allow the flavours to meld together for a tastier salad.
- Use a premade nut butter to make the dressing and just mix in the vinegar and maple syrup. Depending on your nut butter you may need to add a tablespoon or two of oil.
- Make the dressing in advance and store covered in the fridge, take it out and allow it to come to room temperature. You may need to loosen it with some water as it may thicken.
- You can use any apples you have on hand
- Replace the walnuts with pecans or hazelnuts
- Add some sultanas or currants instead of cranberries.
- Add some leafy greens such as baby spinach, arugula/rocket or chopped romaine/cos lettuce to bulk it up and feed a crowd.
To keep your menu vegan you can serve Vegan Waldorf with:
For the carnivores, you can serve it with roasts such as pork, chicken or turkey and its great with grilled meats making it an ideal BBQ side.
What About the Leftovers?
- The leftovers should be good for 1-2 days stored covered in the fridge.
- You could add a tin of chickpeas for a light lunch the following day.
- Or it would be great in a wrap with some roasted sweet potato.
- To make it even creamier add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut yoghurt to your dressing.
Looking for more salads with apples?
(Times are an estimate and will depend on your skill level)
- Mandoline / V-Slicer
- Bullet or High Speed Blender or Small Food Processor
- 4 stalks celery with leaves (small stalks approximately 300 grams or 2½ cups diced)
- 1 medium red apple (approximately 160 grams)
- 1 medium green apple (approximately 160 grams)
- 1 cup black grapes, sliced (approximately 160 grams)
- ¾ cup walnut halves, roasted
- ¾ cup cranberries, dried
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ c apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Wash and trim your apples then slice thinly into half-moons using a v-slicer or sharp knife.
- To prevent your apples from browning place them in salted water using one teaspoon of salt for every two cups of water.
- Wash your celery stalks, trim the white ends and top of leaves. Use a vegetable peeler, to de-thread if you have time.
- Then chop finely into small dice or thinly slice in a food processor.
- Wash your grapes then cut in half.
- Chop your toasted walnuts (it is important to chop them so your dressing is smooth and not lumpy). Place the walnuts in a blender with the oil and blitz until it comes together.
- Add the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and season. Blitz until creamy, taste and adjust seasoning.
- Strain your apples well and pat dry,
- Add everything to a large mixing bowl, pour over the dressing and season.
- Mix well until everything is well coated with the dressing. Arrange in a salad bowl and keep chilled until ready to serve.