I will be the first one to admit that I have not always been a Waldorf salad fan.
The Waldorf salads of the 70’s and 80’s usually contained WAY too much celery (not my fav), nuts (which I generally avoided unless it was in a dessert), and were often completely tasteless. A mayonnaise-y covered fruit blob. If any of you have been to a church, neighborhood, or sport team pot luck dinner, then you know ex-ACTLY what I am talking about. You could usually find it right next to the lime green jello with the carrots shredded on the top and beside the macaroni salad. Mm mmm, right?
*shudder* Not always good eats.
However, several weeks ago, I started thinking about those traditional Waldorf salads of my youth and imagined it as more of a really good chicken salad with all the Waldorf elements. I took to the kitchen and this recipe was the result. My first attempt came out so well I didn’t change anything and it was so darn good, I couldn’t keep my hands out of the bowl. The second time I made it I served it to company, hoping to use them as my test subjects and glean some sort of constructive criticism from them. I was not prepared for the first clean plates and shouts for seconds to come from the kids table. They inhaled it. I knew it was good, but I was trying to be objective. No need. The only complaint was that I didn’t make enough.
And so, our new favorite summer dish was born! My aversion to celery has faded over the years and the added crunch of walnuts is no longer something I avoid, so both have modest but suitable amounts in this dish. The tangy and slightly sweet dressing is light and meant to just coat the ingredients, not overload or weigh them down. The addition of some plain yogurt, an ingredient I always have in my kitchen and a natural addition for me to add to this salad, lightens up the richness of the mayo and pairs OH so well with the fruit! As a one dish summer dinner, it just can’t be beat.
REMEMBER!! This post is the third recipe in the continuing series of healthy recipes that are being featured over at the J Rose Fitness Facebook page! Check it out for fitness tips and inspiration, along with the occasional healthy recipe from yours truly!!
Roast Chicken Waldorf Salad
Feel free to use lemon juice in place of the vinegar in this recipe. Both acids work well. Personally, I prefer the more round taste of the vinegar with this combination of ingredients as opposed to the more bright flavor of lemon juice, but its your call!
2 large roasted chicken breast, boned and skinned, and cubed into bite sized pieces
2 c of grapes (red or green) halved
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
2 large apples, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 c plain yogurt (I use fat free or low fat)
1/3 c good mayonnaise
1 heaping T of raw honey
1 T of red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 c chopped walnuts, optional
In a large serving bowl, add the first four ingredients and let sit covered in the fridge until the dressing is made. If you are concerned about the apples oxidizing, just wait until the end to add them at the last minute. Combine the mayo, yogurt, honey, vinegar, and seasoning. Pour over salad ingredients and gently toss until evenly coated. Serve over a bed of greens and garnish with a heavy pinch of walnuts, if desired.