Last week I looked into the produce bins in my fridge and saw a whole lot of celery and Granny Smith apples. Two things that aren't on the top of my family's favorites list, to be honest.
However, I do have a fond memory of a Waldorf salad tucked away somewhere and that's the first thing that came to mind when I began to think of a way to use up that celery and those apples. But I wanted to make it a bit more substantial and less... mayonnaise-y.
In warm weather I get into a habit of having both a grain salad and a bean salad, as well as salad greens, on hand for easy lunches. Beans with celery and apples didn't really appeal to me, so grain it was. My first thought was to use red quinoa, but since we eat quite a bit of quinoa I reached for bulgur instead for some variety. Bulgur and quinoa grains are about the same size though, so if you wanted to make this salad gluten free, that would be an easy substitution. (I'm thinking it will taste delicious, but you can let me know!)
Legend (or Wikipedia at least) has it that Waldorf Salad was invented by a chef at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City in the 1890s. It contained apples, celery and walnuts in a mayonnaise dressing, served over salad greens. Other than the grain for mayo switch, this salad includes the typical Waldorf ingredients, as well as some raisins to sweeten it up and onion to give it a little zip.
(Not Quite) Waldorf Salad
2 cups prepared bulgur (or quinoa, for gluten free)
2 Granny Smith Apples, cored and diced
4 stalks celery, including the leaves, cut into 1/3" slices
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup raisins
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp agave nectar
pepper, to taste
Combine the bulgur, apples, celery, onion and raisins in a large bowl. Mix gently with a large wooden spoon.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and agave. Pour over the salad and gently mix to combine.
I ate some of this right away and really liked it, but it tastes best if the salad is first refrigerated for a couple hours to allow the flavors to mingle. It will last several days in the fridge.