This easy vegan Waldorf salad is adapted from the traditional Waldorf salad from the 1800s and contains every-day staple ingredients [celery, apples, grapes, walnuts, plus a creamy vegan mayonnaise dressing].
Waldorf salad is fruity, fresh, and savoury, with the walnuts adding extra delicious creamy, crispy, nuttiness.
Enjoy this Waldorf salad along with a BBQ, cook-out, picnic, party or buffet spread, or simply for a tasty every-day lunch.
Vegan Waldorf salad is also incredibly yum as a sandwich, tortilla wrap or baked potato filling.
History of Traditional Waldorf Salad
A Waldorf salad is one of the simplest salads to prepare as it mainly consists of fruit, veggies, and nuts [celery, apple, grapes and walnuts] combined with a mayonnaise dressing.
The Waldorf salad originates within New York City and was created in 1896 by the head waiter Oscar Tschirky, who worked at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Oscar Tschirky was also a cookbook author and his Waldorf salad recipe features in his 1896 book The Cookbook by Oscar of the Waldorf.
It is amazing that Oscar was not even the chef of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, yet managed to create and pen a 900 page cookbook!
The original Waldorf salad recipe was incredibly simple and humble and included two apples that were diced and mixed with some diced celery. To finish a ''good mayonnaise'' was stirred through the diced fruit and veggies.
The salad recipe was created for a charity ball in aid of a children's hospital and the simplicity, tastiness, and freshness of the Waldorf salad went down a treat.
As with all good recipes, adaptations occurred throughout the subsequent years. Walnuts and grapes are now popular additions to a Waldorf salad, with some recipes including ingredients such as lemon juice, mustard, cream and fruit zest within the salad dressing. Other recipes have even replaced some or all of the apple with pears, oranges and even pineapple!
How To Prepare A Vegan Waldorf Salad
A vegan Waldorf salad can be as simple as the original recipe and include merely diced apples and celery mixed with a vegan mayonnaise. This combination is actually really tasty as a sandwich filling. Even if any family members dislike raw celery, do give this recipe a try as its a whole different experience and does transform the celery!
This vegan Waldorf salad recipe includes red onion, chives, walnuts, and red grapes which adds valuable plant-based nutrition as well as delicious flavours and textures.
Although do feel free to switch ingredients up and tailor your Waldorf salad to your own preferences.
First core and dice the apples.
Stir through the juice of about half a fresh lemon, about one tablespoon should be enough. The lemon juice will prevent the apples from oxidizing and turning brown.
Next dice the red onion and celery into small pieces.
Stir through the diced apple.
Chop the grapes into halves or quarters if preferred.
Mix through the diced veggies and apple.
To prepare the salad dressing mix the vegan mayonnaise with the vegan yogurt.
Pour in about one tablespoon of lemon juice, along with the chopped chives.
[The salad dressing can be doubled up if preferred for extra creaminess, especially if serving more portions and using more diced fruit and veggies].
Add a few pinches of salt and pepper.
Line a salad bowl with lettuce leaves.
Tip in about half of the diced fruit and veggies on to the salad leaves.
Cover with half of the salad dressing.
Add the rest of the diced veggies and fruit.
Finally top with the remaining salad dressing.
Garnish with the broken walnuts, extra grapes and chopped chives.
If available scatter a few chive flowers over [chive flowers are perfectly edible and really tasty. I just eat the entire flower! But the petals can be picked off instead and scattered over the salad if preferred.]
Waldorf Open Sandwiches and Lettuce Cups
Waldorf salad can also be used as a tasty sandwich, roll/bap, pitta, or tortilla wrap filling. Or pack into large crispy lettuce leafs. Open sandwiches are especially delicious for starters, aperitifs, and delicious lunches.
To create a filling simply mix the diced fruit and veggies with the salad dressing, and sprinkle the broken walnuts over the top.
Leftover Waldorf salad can be covered in food wrap, or place a plate over the salad bowl, and stored within the refrigerator for 1-2 days. The salad dressing may split as it sits but it can simply be stirred back together or drained away if preferred.
If preparing the Waldorf salad in advance, its best to not add the salad dressing until near the time of eating. Simply prepare the diced veggies and fruit and store tightly covered within the refrigerator along with the mayonnaise dressing in a separate tub. Assemble the salad just before enjoying for maximum freshness.
This tasty vegan Waldorf salad is surprisingly delicious so leftovers may not actually be a thing as one bite will lead to another...and so on...
Waldorf salad can be enjoyed on its own as a light lunch, snack or starter. Although Waldorf salad does go especially well with:
* crusty bread [prepare open sandwiches]
* bruschetta or crostini or home-made versions [add a little dollop of salad to these crunchy bread slices, this can be for a delicious starter, aperitif or snack]
* roll/bap [use the salad as a tasty filling]
* lettuce leafs [pack the salad into large lettuce cups]
* any salad or raw veggies and fruit
* juicy fresh tomatoes
* pickled cabbage, onions or beetroot
* add a scoop of Waldorf salad to power/poke/Buddha bowls or any salad
* serve the Waldorf salad as part of a buffet/party spread/BBQ
* scoop some Waldorf salad into a little bowl and enjoy along with a vegan Ploughman's lunch platter
* sweet potato chips/wedges/fries or scoop the salad into a baked sweet potato
* baked white potato
* parsnip/carrot/swede [rutabaga]/celeriac fries/chips
* vegan sausages
Of course even though walnuts are traditional for a Waldorf salad, this is your Waldorf salad so do replace any ingredient with whatever you think you will prefer or have to hand.
A family member may have a nut allergy so replacing the walnuts is essential.
A few ideas:
* sunflower seeds
* pumpkin seeds
* crispy chickpeas [see our curried cauliflower soup recipe as it has an easy method for roasted chickpeas]
* croutons [ our cream of swede [rutabaga] soup recipe has an easy recipe for home-made tasty croutons]
* pieces of torn crusty bread
* broken vegan crackers or broken crispy breadsticks [simply scatter over the finished salad if preferred, so as to avoid the crackers going soggy]
* crispy tofu bites
Yes very easily. This recipe uses shop-bought vegan mayonnaise simply for convenience and time saving.
But if you would like to prepare your own have a look at this easy tofu mayonnaise recipe, which does not require any oil, over on the plant-based Dr McDougall's website.
Other ideas: [use a mixture of ingredients and experiment, you may develop your new favourite dressing or sauce]
* cashew cream
* vegan sour cream
* your favourite salad dressing
* use all vegan plain yogurt, seasoned with salt and pepper and perhaps a little lemon juice
* a mixture of tahini and plain yogurt
* a mixture of cashew cream and plain yogurt or tahini
[a little mustard mixed through the dressing is also tasty]
Of course. Try adding some chopped parsley, coriander/cilantro, mint, dill, thyme, oregano, basil, or sliced green/spring onions.
Absolutely any variety of lettuce is perfect for a tasty Waldorf salad. Or go for a lettuce or baby green leaf mixture.
A few ideas:
* crunchy Romaine lettuce
* iceberg lettuce
* butterhead lettuce
* little gem
* lambs lettuce
* corn salad
* baby kale
* baby chard
* young beetroot leaves
A few ideas:
* diced watermelon
* pineapple chunks
* diced pear
* avocado chunks
* sliced orange, satsuma, tangerine segments
* raisins/sultanas [golden raisins]
* chopped dried or fresh apricots
* chopped dates
Looking for more delicious vegan fresh salad recipes to enjoy this summer? Of course any time of the year really is perfect for a tasty salad as out-of-season veggies or fruits can be subbed for those in season and less expensive...
Try this deliciously easy vegan Ploughman's lunch platter or sandwich which is ideal for those days when cooking is less appealing.
Or this fruity curried Coronation chickpeas and kidney beans tortilla wrap or sandwich filling, and this classic tofu 'egg' mayonnaise and cress sandwich is always a hit for picnics, pack lunches and parties.
For another salad recipe which is great for a starter, check out this tofu 'prawn' cocktail which uses smoked tofu and is really fresh and delicious.
All the above vegan sandwich filling or starter ideas are also perfect for stand-alone salads, that can be enjoyed with a baked potato, with more salad veggies, rice, pasta, power/poke bowls, or served scooped into a lettuce leaf cup.
Traditional Vegan Waldorf Salad
- Salad bowl or trifle or large dip bowl, or similar
- Vegetable knife suitable for slicing veggies and fruit
- Small mixing bowls
- 170 grams apples diced small [about 2 small dessert apples, or any variety]
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice [the juice from about ½ medium lemon]
- 100 grams lettuce such as whole Romaine lettuce or another crispy lettuce variety
- 95 grams celery diced small
- 95 grams red onion diced small
- 110 grams red grapes or green/black, halved, plus a few extra for garnish
- 40 grams walnuts halved or broken
- 10 grams chives sliced, plus a few extra sliced chives for garnish, if available use a few chive flowers for garnish, they taste delicious!
- 5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise shop-bought or home-made
- 2 tablespoons vegan yogurt can replace with cashew cream or vegan sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice juice from 1 medium lemon [can use more if liked]
- Line the salad bowl with the lettuce leaves.
- Stir the juice of half a lemon through the diced apples to prevent the apple becoming brown.
- Stir the diced celery, diced red onion and diced apples together within a mixing bowl. Add the halved grapes and mix. [keep a few grapes aside for garnish if preferred]
- In a small bowl add the mayonnaise, yogurt and lemon juice together. Tip in the chopped chives. [keep a few chopped chives for garnish if preferred]Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper. [don't add too much salt at this point unless your going to eat the salad soon, as the salt can pull water out of the fruit and veggies. Extra seasoning can always be added before serving]Give it a good mix.
- Place half the diced fruit and veggies into the salad bowl on top of the lettuce leaves.
- Cover with half of the salad dressing.
- Tip in the rest of the diced fruit and veggies.
- Finally top with the rest of the dressing.
- [Alternatively simply mix the fruit and veggies with the dressing and scoop into the salad bowl]
- Scatter the walnuts over the top of the salad, including any chopped chives and grapes that you may have saved for garnish.
- Nutritional information is for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients vary.
- Store leftover Waldorf salad for 1-2 days within the refrigerator. Cover the salad bowl with food wrap or transfer to a food container. The salad dressing may leak down to the bottom of the dish but can simply be stirred back through the salad.
- If preparing Waldorf salad in advance keep the diced fruit and veggies separate from the mayonnaise salad dressing, and combine before using.
- The walnuts can be replaced with a different variety of nut or seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Or replace the nuts with crunchy croutons, crisp roasted chickpeas, olives, etc.
- For more substitution ideas do have a look at the recipe notes above.
- For a home-made vegan mayonnaise recipe check out the recipe notes above.
- Double up the dressing ingredients for an extra creamy Waldorf salad, or if you are requiring extra portions and are preparing extra diced fruit and veggies.
- For a gluten-free Waldorf salad simply check that your vegan mayonnaise and yogurt are free from gluten ingredients.
- Waldorf salad can be prepared as a sandwich, roll/bap, pitta bread, or tortilla wrap filling. Just mix the fruit and veggies with the dressing, scatter the walnuts over and use as a filling.
- Or simply mix the diced fruit and veggies with the salad dressing and use the Waldorf salad as a delicious dip along with tortilla chips, crackers, etc to scoop the creamy salad dip up.
- A scoop of Waldorf salad goes well as a side dish along with a nice baked sweet potato, a few veggie sausages, pasta or rice, or as part of a larger salad bowl.
- Even if you are not too keen on raw celery [like me!] do give it a try within Waldorf salad as it is surprisingly tasty and quite different from raw celery!
Prepared this tasty vegan Waldorf salad?
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Thanks so much! Jacq x