This Vegan Waldorf Salad is creamy, refreshing and perfectly balanced for a delicious side or entree. Made from grapes, apples, walnuts and optional celery and served in a beautiful lettuce lined bowl, this is a dish you can bring to any gathering or complement any spread at your dinner table.
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Hey Internet, I’m sure you’re noticing a lot of salads on our blog lately, and that’s probably because I just really love salad in the summer-time! It’s hot, I don’t want to cook, and I want something cool and refreshing. Enter the salad.
Salads are notorious for being unsatisfying or not flavorful. I’m here to tell you that’s just not true!
Take my creamy avocado salad, for instance: PACKED with flavor, totally filling, and yet still healthy and fresh.
Well, today’s salad is no different. One day a few weeks ago, I suddenly got a craving for a salad I hadn’t had in years.
Named for the Waldorf Hotel in New York City (said to have been invented there), this salad originally only contained apples, celery, and mayonnaise.
But since then, there have been many variations, and today’s salad is my favorite from several delicious and fun rounds of testing.
My vegan Waldorf salad of course contains no mayonnaise, as it’s not vegan. However, I don’t even use my recipe for vegan mayo.
Instead, I made a unique, creamy dressing for this salad that’s easy to whip up in the blender.
My salad recipe also features the requisite apples and celery (which you can omit if you hate celery, but I hate raw celery and I still loved this salad), along with walnuts, grapes, chickpeas (for protein and a little saltiness!), and some fresh supple greens including butter lettuce and green leaf lettuce.
Alright, let’s get into this delicious and easy recipe!
What You’ll Need
I foreshadowed the ingredients list above, but I have some useful substitutions and suggestions in this section, so keep reading if that’s what you’re looking for.
You’ll first need some good apples. The best apples are sweet and crunchy--use what you like, but I love using Rave, Pinata, Washington, SweeTango, or even Honeycrisp!
You could also use granny smith apples if you want a less sweet taste.
Next is celery. That’s totally up to you.
I’m not a huge raw celery fan, but I did like it in this salad because it’s crunchier, and it adds some saltiness to this salad. Omit if you prefer.
If you don’t want any nuts or seeds, the salad will still be good without them.
Grapes are SO yummy with the apples in this salad. I chose red grapes but green would work too.
I added chickpeas in this salad for a little extra protein and a bit of saltiness--they also help the salad be a bit more substantial, so I highly recommend including them, but you can leave them out if you’d prefer.
This salad is served on a bed of greens--but what kind of greens you use is totally up to you!
I LOVE butter lettuce but it’s a little pricey, so for this salad I used a mix of butter lettuce and regular green leaf lettuce.
You can also mix the greens in with the salad, serve the salad on top of the greens, or both, like I did.
Waldorf Salad Without Mayo
This salad does not feature mayonnaise since it isn’t vegan, but the dressing I created for this salad certainly tastes a lot like it!
The base of this dressing is tofu, but you could also use white beans or soaked cashews--even more walnuts if you like!
I used firm tofu (I did not press it but I did drain the water out), but medium or soft would probably also work. If using something softer than firm, reduce the amount of non-dairy milk in the dressing and blend until you get a consistency you like.
Speaking of which, I used unsweetened non-dairy milk (any will work) for my blending liquid. Water would work too, but I wanted this to be ultra creamy!
The dressing also features some fresh lemon juice for brightness and a dash of maple syrup for sweetness! You could also use a pitted date or any other sweetener you like.
How to Make Vegan Waldorf Salad
The first thing to do to make this simple, satisfying salad (I like alliteration, OK?) is to cut up all your apples, celery, and grapes. I just slice my grapes in half.
Give a rough chop to your walnuts too if they’re not already in pieces when you buy them.
TIP: walnut pieces are cheaper than whole walnuts because it’s harder to extract the nut from the shell without breaking it, so they usually put a higher price on whole nuts. The same is true with other nuts, especially cashews which are very expensive.
For the lettuce, wash and dry the leaves. I like to use a salad spinner for this.
If you’re going to mix your greens into the salad, cut them or tear them into bite sized pieces. If not, line them around a bowl like I did.
Add all dressing ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.
If you’re going to just mix your greens in, add everything to one bowl and mix it all up and serve! You’re done!
If you’re going that extra step to make it look pretty, mix the chopped ingredients and the dressing well in a separate bowl, then add that mixture carefully to your leaf lined bowl.
Still pretty easy AND pretty!
Refrigerate the salad for up to 3 days in the fridge. The lettuce may wilt a bit.
If you are making this in advance for an event, I’d make it no more than 12 hours in advance for best results.
Other Ways to Customize this Salad
I’ve seen a lot of different recipes for this salad on the Internet. Feel free to create your own!
There are lots of other awesome ingredients to experiment with, such as:
- Dried cranberries
- Vegan chicken
- Pomegranate seeds
- Pecans or other nuts or seeds
More Delicious Vegan Salad Recipes
Salads don’t have to suck, and it’s one of my favorite meals for a reason! They’re just so customizable!
You can enjoy them warm, cold, sweet, savory, spicy, creamy, etc.
I’m amassing quite a few salad recipes here on the Zardyplants blog, so if you’re into my vegan waldorf salad recipe, you might like to try some of our favorite salads!
- Creamy Avocado Salad (it’s like guacamole and salad had a baby!)
- Vegan Caesar Salad with Crunchy Chickpeas
- Warm Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Creamy Chicken Cucumber Salad
- Pomegranate Orange Pecan Salad
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This vegan waldorf salad is:
- And great for a meal, side, or dish to bring to a barbeque or party–even meateaters enjoy it!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!