JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Friday, September 07, 2007

A lighter Waldorf salad

At this time of year, my mother-in-law used to start making her regular winter salad of diced apple and celery garnished with walnuts and some thinned-down Helmann's. I loved it; I don't often make it because one of the very few things my husband really doesn't like is celery. Weekday lunches - if they aren't leftovers - tend to consist of things-he-won't-eat, in particular lentils and spices.

The apples in our garden are beginning to ripen, and I can see the Cox's orange pippins from the window of my study. There was a head of celery in the veg box this week. So I got dicing. It was only then discovered there were no walnuts. I was always going to tweak the classic recipe a little - we don't really eat much mayo in this house, for obvious reasons, so I was planning to use a lemon vinaigrette. The only nuts I could find were either mixed with dried fruit, so no good, or almonds, which didn't seem the thing. And so I looked in the fridge, where I found some freshly sprouted mixed seeds ... I'm never going to use walnuts again, it was that good. A fresher taste, but still nutty.

Light Waldorf salad for 2 or 3

2 small apples
4 sticks of celery
lemon juice
olive oil
some sprouted seeds - mine were a Riverford mix of aduki, mung, lentil, and chick pea, but any of those would do

Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a bowl (if you like your salads extra lemony, grate a little of the zest into the bowl, too). Core and dice the apple - leave the skin for its goodness, taste and roughage. Put the apple into the bowl, and make sure it is well coated with lemon juice as this will prevent the apple browning. Chop the celery into the bowl, add olive oil and seasoning. Mix well, then add a couple of handfuls of seed sprouts.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

I too make a lightened version of Waldorf Salad without the mayo. I sometimes add dried cranberries and orange zest for a little zing. I love the addition of the sprouts though and will have to try it next time. Thanks for the idea!

Truffle said...

This sounds wonderful! I'm going to have to make it to take to work for lunch very, very soon.

Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of using sprouting seeds instead of the nuts - there's a lot of similarity in the flavours and textures but much fresher, as you say. I must admit that I bought one of those gadgets from Lakeland for sprouting seeds in but it has mainly stayed at the back of the cupboard gathering dust (the first batch that I made tasted bitter and I haven't got round to trying it again which is very lazy but you've inspired me to give it another go!)

Low fat yogurt with a touch of the lemon might work well if somebody really wanted a creamy dressing without the mayo.

Cottage Smallholder said...

That looks scrummy Joanna. I love sprouts and they would be great with chunky apples and celery. Great idea. Thanks.

Joanna said...

Cranberries and orange zest is a lovely wintery addition, Susan.

You're right, Truffle, great for a work lunch, and quicker to make than a sandwich.

Sophie, I, too, have a somewhat dusty sprouter which I use only periodically. Mine is a screwtop jar, the lid is perforated and has a bit sticking out at 45 degrees so that the jar can stand by the sink draining out the last few drops of water. I bought it in the garden centre, and you can find one like it at

& I like your idea of yog and lemon for a creamy dressing

Thanks CS!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

What a wonderful idea! Lemon vinaigrette on a Waldorf sounds infinitely tastier than mayo anyway, and I love those sprouted seeds!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Really such a wonderful and simple variation. Perfect Joanna!

Anonymous said...

Waldorf salad is the first 'dish' I ever made. I think I was, like, 7 when I made it.

donna said...

thanks for sharing this idea, i've just started sprouting so i'll give it a go!

Joanna said...

Rhea - it's a good reminder of how important it is to get children helping in the kitchen, because those early successes are carried through for the rest of your life.

And Donna, I don't know about you, but when I first started sprouting, I couldn't think what to do with all the sprouts apart from putting them into salads and stir-fries ... and that was a bit of a discouragement. But I love their nutty taste