Waldorf-ish Salad

A few weekends ago I took a trip down Pitlochry way to visit some of my family who were holidaying in the area.  It’s a beautiful part of the country – leafy and craggy with wide winding rivers – and we had a fantastic time walking the dogs along country roads, stopping off for lunch in the quaintest country pub I’ve ever seen this side of the Scottish border.

The sunny afternoon was made even more perfect by the discovery of a huge and very productive walnut tree.  I didn’t even know we got them this far north.  Within five minutes we had stuffed our pockets and three poo-bags (the only vessel on us) full of nuts and began traipsing happily down the road chatting about the banana breads and pestos and coffee cakes we were going to make with our harvests.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.  Even after drying, the nuts were inedibly bitter and were fit for nowt but the compost bin.  Booooo.

My consolation was to be found in the supermarket later that week.  It may have just been the end of October but Christmas nuts were on sale already. Hooray!  For the first time ever, I snubbed the angular Brazil nuts completely and bought a huge bag of wrinkly walnuts instead.  And I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them first: a big Waldorf Salad.

If you are looking for a classic recipe here, go look elsewhere.  My version of this salad is rustic, chunky, includes lettuce and is mayonnaise free.  Nevertheless, it’s really, really good and surprisingly filling too. 

By the by, whilst I was looking around the internet for inspiration for my waldorf salad I came across this article from a 1904 edition of the New York Times.  It may just be the funniest. most adorable thing I have ever read.

Waldorf-ish Salad

(for one)

One small, red apple – chopped and tossed in lemon juice to prevent discolouration

2 sticks of celery, chopped

1 baby gem lettuce, leaves separated

Handful of walnuts, gently toasted

For the dressing (based on Skye Gringell’s recipe)

1/2 tspn honey

1 tspn Dijon mustard

1 tspn white wine vinegar

1 tspn creme fraiche

1 tblspn olive oil

1 tspn chopped parsley


  • Add the apple, celery, baby gem and walnuts to a big bowl
  • Whisk together the dressing ingredients and spinkle over the salad.
  • Toss and serve.

18 thoughts on “Waldorf-ish Salad

  1. Looks delicious – especially without lots of mayo! And I am full of admiration for how you manage to make a loaded plastic bag look good in your photo! Sounds like you had fun picking the walnuts even if the yield wasn’t great

  2. I love love love a Waldorf, and this sounds like such a bright rendition of it.

    A friendly warning: walnuts and pecans and butternuts (all related) contain juglone, a chemical that is poisonous to everything in the solanaceae family–tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc. You may not want to put those walnuts in the compost.

    I hope you’re well. You’re probably looking forward to winter break just as much as I am.

  3. I have a couple of Waldorf-ish salads I often eat at this time of year – sprouted seeds being my -ish extra … I’m definitely going to give your dressing a go this winter- thanks


  4. That sounds awesome! That’s the kind of salad I normally make for lunch in the summer – some kind of fruit, lettuce, nuts, and sometimes cheese, and the dressing you have is very similar too, except that I don’t use cream. One of my faves was arugula, nasturtium flowers, mini farmer’s market apricots, sliced almonds, and dressing.

  5. How disappointing! I am glad you returned to walnuts again and decided to make this salad. It looks yummy! I haven’t been in the mood for salads at all recently, but this one is tempting me.

  6. What a splendid salad! Waldorf is a fall favorite, but the mayo can really lay on the calories.

    Loved the old NY Times clipping. Have you ever heard of the Algonquin’s cats and the Peabody’s ducks? Animals and hotels have a rich history. ; )

  7. Johanna – It was great fun. Though it turned my hands yellow!

    Anh – But witlof would be wonderful. 🙂

    Christina – Thank you for the warning! Have since retrieved the walnuts. Not a pleasant job but glad I did it!

    Joanna – Sounds lovely. Shall have to try that too.

    Lethological Gourmet – Mini apricots sound wonderful! Can’t get decent apricots here at all. Ever. 😦

    Antonia – You and me both. 🙂

    F.O.G. – You’re welcome.

    David – Lucky you. The ones I found were horridly bitter.

    Susan – Have to say, England tends to have nicer pubs than us but this one was a cracker.

    Holler – Nor have I but this one was hearty enough to tempt me.

    Susan – Off to look those up now. Love them already though.

    Sally – I forgot about that one! Hee hee.

  8. Ah, Moulin Inn, we stopped for lunch there last summer, really cute and quaint and with such characters both working there and neighbours to the pub…:)

  9. I just came across your blog and love it! You have so many amazing photos and delicious-looking recipes! I love this classic salad, and your version looks great!

    I would love to write about your salad on our blog! If interested send me an email!

    Haley Glasco, KI Blogger

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