The original Waldorf salad was created in the 1890s by the maître d' of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It included only diced red-skinned apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts were added not long after, but this famous salad has seen many incarnations since.
Please enjoy the original classic below along with a couple of variations, including a Bay Area–inspired take and a celery-free version. Quantities of all ingredients may vary depending on personal taste. Experiment with creating your own recipe!
2 cups red apple, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 cup celery, cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- Stir together chopped ingredients, and add mayonnaise to taste (start with around a tablespoon and add more as desired).
- Serve alone or on a small bed of fresh salad greens.
Serves 2. Prep time, 5–10 minutes.
San Francisco Waldorf
Recipe by Gretchen Bay
2 cups tart-sweet apple (preferably a Sonoma County favorite, such as Gravenstein, Newtown Pippin, or Pink Lady), cut into ½-inch chunks
1 cup celery, diced or cut into ¼-inch slices
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, or ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
1–2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1–2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
½–1 cup cooked brown and wild rice mix
- Stir together desired ingredients, and drizzle on olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste (start with a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon or 2 of vinegar—add more of either if desired).
- Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve alone or on a small bed of fresh salad greens.
Serves 2–3. Prep time, 5–10 minutes.
Non–Celery Lovers’ Waldorf
Not a fan of celery? No problem! Use either of the above recipes, but instead of celery, substitute 1 cup of any (or a mix) of the following, diced, shredded, or very thinly sliced (your preference): fresh fennel bulb, jicama, raw parsnips, cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, and/or radishes. Add in any other ingredients listed above, with either a mayonnaise or oil/vinegar dressing.
Cook’s note: Quantities and ingredients in any Waldorf salad may be adapted to personal taste. For example, if you’d prefer equal parts of apple and celery, adjust accordingly. Many people enjoy adding sliced grapes, raisins, or pecans to a Waldorf, among other things. For the dressing, some prefer yogurt over mayonnaise or the tangier option of oil-and-vinegar. Whatever your flavor combination, enjoy!
Gretchen Bay is creative services manager for The FruitGuys. She came up with the San Francisco Waldorf one evening after craving a salad and realizing she was fresh out of lettuce. Luckily, she had locally grown organic celery and Sonoma County Gravenstein apples on hand.