Ah, the Waldorf salad. A classic dish from the turn of the century. Originally made with the simple ingredients of apple, celery, and a mayonnaise based dressing, it has now been redefined throughout the years to also include walnuts and fresh grapes. I happen to love a Waldorf salad, mainly because I find the components to be a delicious melody of taste and texture. But I also find the original dressing to be a bit heavy and cloying, so I went about attempting to make this timeless dish a bit more modern.
The first thing I decided to do was add quinoa. I adore the nutty pop of flavor and it is also incredibly healthy. I thought it would be fun to make the dressing in a blender instead of using store-bought mayo. This way I could add my own oils to give the dressing a deeper flavor component. It might sound scary to make a homemade mayonnaise, but it is actually quite easy in the blender. If you are looking for a perfect make-ahead side dish to an autumn meal, this is the one to choose.
Quinoa Waldorf Salad
1 cup quinoa
1 large granny smith apple peeled and diced
1/2 cup red grapes halved
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. Let cool.
In a large bowl combine the cooled quinoa, diced apple, grapes, celery and nuts. Pour dressing over mixture (you probably will have dressing left over, so don’t toss the whole thing in, slowly add as needed) and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
* If making salad ahead of time, you can mix the celery and quinoa with the dressing, but wait until serving before stirring in the grapes, apples, and nuts.
1 egg yolk at room temperature
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/2 canola oil
Add the yolk, salt, lemon juice, mustard and vinegar to a blender. Mix to combine. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the walnut and canola oil. Taste to make sure the flavors are balanced. If you prefer your Waldorf salad on the sweet side, add some sugar 1 tsp at a time until you reach the desired flavor.
If you don’t want to make your own dressing from scratch, simply mix 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with a tsp of Dijon mustard, 1 tsp of lemon juice and 3 Tbsp of walnut oil. I highly recommend the walnut oil but if you can’t find it in your local grocery store or Whole Foods, just omit it. If you prefer your Waldorf salad on the sweeter side, just add sugar 1 tsp at a time until you reach the desired sweetness.