Loaded with flavour and texture, this Easy Waldorf Salad Recipe is a quick and delicious way to repurpose leftover roast chicken or turkey. Make a big batch for grab-and-go lunches and serve it over a bed of leafy greens, in a sandwich or enjoy it on its own.
What is Waldorf Salad?
Waldorf Salad is a classic American dish invented in New York City in 1893 by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’hôtel of the Waldorf Astoria. The original recipe called for combining diced apple, celery and mayonnaise. Over time, the Waldorf Salad recipe evolved to include other ingredients like grapes, walnuts, and sometimes leftover roast chicken.
This Easy Waldorf Salad Recipe combines cooked chicken, celery, diced apples, grapes and walnuts, tossed in a creamy mayonnaise and yogurt dressing. It’s tangy, crunchy, juicy and, as strange as the combination of ingredients may sound, surprisingly delicious. You can substitute roast turkey as well, making it a great option for repurposing Thanksgiving Day leftovers.
What You Need for this Easy Waldorf Salad Recipe
- Grapes: I think what sets this Waldorf Salad recipe apart from other chicken salads is the inclusion of California grapes. They add an unexpected burst of sweetness and juiciness with every bite.
- Apples: I like to use Granny Smith apples because they’re usually more crisp and tart than other varieties, which helps to balance the sweetness from the grapes.
- Celery: Celery provides a satisfying crunch and a mild, slightly peppery flavour. It also adds a nice aroma to the Waldorf salad. The contrast between the crisp apples, grapes and celery is one of the salad’s defining features.
- Walnuts: For the best flavour, toast the walnuts in a hot pan or oven and let them cool down before adding them to the salad. It will completely change the flavour and bring out a much better texture.
- Mayonnaise: The creamy and rich mayonnaise dressing binds the salad ingredients together. It adds an indulgent quality that balances the freshness of the fruits and vegetables. You can make your own mayonnaise from scratch or use a store-bought variety.
- Yogurt: To add some tang and lighten up the dressing a bit, I like to add some Greek yogurt to the mayonnaise. It’s not entirely necessary and can be omitted if you want to keep this recipe dairy-free and Whole30.
- Dijon Mustard: To give the dressing more body and a bit of a kick, try adding a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
- Lemon Juice: Another welcome addition to the dressing is a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. You can also substitute red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or sherry vinegar for a more pronounced flavour.
How Long Will Leftovers Last in the Fridge?
Store any Waldorf Salad leftovers in a sealed storage container for up to 5 days in the fridge. I wouldn’t hold on to it for longer after that.
What is the Dressing Made of?
I like to use a combination of avocado oil mayonnaise and Greek yogurt as the base for the Waldorf Salad dressing. You can make your own mayonnaise at home or use a store-bought variety.
I also add some Dijon mustard and lemon juice for body and acidity. Season to taste with salt and pepper as desired.
You can also make the dressing with all mayonnaise, all Greek yogurt, or mix in sour cream. For the acidity, you can substitute red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar instead of the lemon juice.
Can You Make The Dressing Dairy-Free?
To keep this Waldorf Salad recipe entirely dairy-free, Paleo and Whole30, simply omit the yogurt in the dressing and use all avocado oil mayonnaise instead.
Easy Waldorf Salad Recipe with Chicken and California Grapes
- ¼ cup avocado oil mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper plus more to taste
- 2 cups diced leftover roasted chicken substitute roast turkey
- 1 cup red and green California Grapes halved
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 1 granny smith apple diced
- ½ cup walnuts lightly toasted
- 1 head Boston lettuce
- Gluten-free crackers of choice for serving
- If using freshly-roasted chicken, please see notes. If using leftover roast chicken, please proceed to step 2.
- In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add the chicken, California Grapes, celery, apple and walnuts and toss everything to coat. Taste the salad for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper, as desired.
- Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate and spoon the Waldorf Salad overtop. Serve with gluten-free crackers.
- Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and massage to coat. Evenly season all over with paprika, salt and pepper. Transfer to the fridge uncovered and marinade for 1 hour to overnight.
- If using the oven, place the chicken on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the thickest part of the breast registers 155F. Switch the oven to broil and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the thickest part of the breast registers 160F.
- If using your Traeger, preheat the grill to 425F and place the chicken directly onto the lowest grill grates, bone side-down first. Cook, flipping halfway, until the chicken is golden brown and thickest part of the breast registers 160F, around 45 minutes.