Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Waldorf Kale Salad


While eagerly awaiting the first baby leaves of lettuce, I am still loving winter’s bounty and have discovered a new way to enjoy greens as we transition into spring. Meet the Waldorf Kale Salad!


The Joy of Cooking tells us that the Waldorf salad was created by Chef Oscar Tschirky of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the late 1890s. Originally, this salad contained only apples, celery and mayonnaise. It has since evolved to include walnuts, grapes and occasionally even little marshmallows. It always, though, has a creamy dressing, typically made with mayo. While I’ve eaten many Waldorf salads, I hadn’t made one myself until recently, when I stumbled upon a marvelous riff on the Waldorf salad using kale. I have already made variations of it three times!


Right away I loved this salad when I read that the thick dressing is made by pureeing apples and walnuts together with Dijon and red wine vinegar. No mayo! For my salad, I added a few grapes to the mix and swapped in some lemon juice for the vinegar. The result is a bright, zippy dressing that clings to the kale and wakes up your taste buds.


Even if you’re looking forward to leaving kale behind with the winter, I think this bright, punchy salad will please. It’s packed with flavor and crunch from apples, celery, currants and walnuts and is loaded with the goodness of kale. An added bonus is it will hold up well once dressed and can be made ahead. As we ease into spring, we begin to lighten our eating and this refreshing new twist is a terrific option and already a staple in my repertoire.


Waldorf Kale Salad
Adapted from Whole Foods Market Cooking
Serves 6

2 large apples (I use Honeycrisp)
8 ounces grapes, red, green or a mix
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch of kale (roughly 7-8 ounces), preferably Lacinato/dinosaur, thick stems removed and roughly chopped
1 heaping cup celery, diced

To make the dressing:
Slice one of the apples in half and core it (no need to peel). Roughly chop one half and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add 6 grapes to the food processor bowl, 1/4 cup walnuts, 2 tablespoons currants, the Dijon mustard, lemon juice and salt to the food processor and puree until it forms a thick dressing. Set aside while you prepare the salad.

To assemble the salad:
Core and dice the other half of the apple plus the remaining apple and place in a serving bowl. Slice the remaining grapes in half and add to the bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup currants, all of the kale and the celery. Gently toss to mix.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Since it is thick, I found it easiest to dress the salad with my hands. Gently toss the salad with your fingers until the kale is well coated. Taste for additional salt and lemon juice and add more if needed.

The salad can be made an hour before serving and kept in the fridge. Gently re-toss before serving.

20 comments:

  1. Hi Hannah - will you adopt me so I can eat at your house every day? I love that this does not have a creamy dressing - I don't like creamy coleslaw, creamy potato salad, or creamy any salad really. This looks terrific and I bet it would be great with crunchy romaine too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Beth, yes, I'll happily feed you anytime! I like your suggestion of crunchy romaine, too - maybe with some barberries thrown in. Loving those little berries!

      Delete
  2. Using kale in a waldorf salad sounds like the perfect plan. And hooray for no mayo! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! It's a much lighter, healthier salad without the mayo. And kale is certainly versatile - I'm a big fan of kale Caesar salad, too. Happy almost-spring to you, Eileen!

      Delete
  3. I also have never made a waldorf salad but have enjoyed them over the years. I love your take on that famous salad, especially that dressing, genius really!! Can never get enough kale, this is a super salad!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Suzanne, I know you're a kale lover, too. I'm loving the dressing and that it's fruit-based without any added oil. Definitely a lighter, healthier option for spring! Hope all is well with you.

      Delete
  4. I don't usually like Waldorf Salads but this is one version I can wrap my mind around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you give it a try sometime, Alyssa - definitely not a typical Waldorf. It's a tasty, satisfying salad, and since there isn't any added oil I think it might be good points-wise, too.

      Delete
  5. This sounds excellent! Love that you left out the mayo and incorporated kale!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Eva! I love to add kale or other greens whenever possible. Kale Caesar salad is another of my favorites! I'm happy you stopped by. :)

      Delete
  6. Oh yum! I bet this is fabulous, especially since the kale holds up so nicely to the dressing and never gets soggy. Definitely making this. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration, Hannah!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Erina! Kale's hearty texture is definitely one of its virtues - I think it tastes even better after being dressed and sitting a bit. Your kale Caesar salad with potatoes is seriously delicious...love it!

      Delete
  7. Waldorf Salad was huge when I was a kid, then went out of favor for a long time (although I think it was still popular at those places that cater to "ladies who lunch") and now is back again, big time. It's a great salad, and your addition of kale is wonderful, and makes it a better salad IMO. Good stuff -thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, John! Waldorf salad was part of my childhood, too (including some served with mini marshmallows!) and I have a new appreciation for it now.

      Delete
  8. This is the best Waldorf salad I've seen! Great use of kale in here too. The colors are gorgeous and it looks so delicious too. Love the shot of before you toss - it shows how healthy and nutritious this salad is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you, Nami! It's a very healthy version with lots of great flavors and textures. I'm going to try the dressing with some other veggies/greens, too. I think it might be good with shaved Brussels sprouts. Have a good week!

      Delete
  9. we love, love, love kale in our house! great salad! I would eat this all up in no time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alex! Always happy to know of other kale lovers! It's such a versatile green. Hope you are enjoying spring! :)

      Delete
  10. Yes, yes, yes! I make kale salads with apples, but have never added the grapes. Genius! I'm totally making this - but without the nuts unfortunately b/c of allergies. Maybe I'll add pepitas instead :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Susan! I think toasted pepitas would be a terrific addition and work well in the dressing. I may try that, too, sometime. Happy spring to you!

      Delete