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Waldorf Salad Dressing - The Simple, Sophisticated Fruit Salad Recipe

Updated on December 21, 2016

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Waldorf Salad Recipes

Need to contribute a simple but sophisticated dish to a holiday meal or potluck dinner? This recipe is simple, nutritious and incredibly flavorful! Low in calories and naturally gluten free this is a course that can be enjoyed by everyone (those with nut allergies may exclude the walnuts). This salad also keeps well for up to 5 days, so you can make it a day ahead, as the flavors improve over time.

Tradition has it that the first Waldorf Salad was created in New York City in 1893, at the venerable Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Composed initially of grapes, celery and apples, the salad has had few variations over the last century. Walnuts were added mid-twentieth century, however the dressing has seen only minor adjustments including, more recently, substituting yogurt for mayonnaise.

This recipe fittingly came down to our family via the New York Times over 35 years ago. It shakes up the traditional recipe by substituting Dry Vermouth for lemon juice. The result is a surprisingly refreshing dressing for the sophisticated palate. Make this salad a day ahead of the occasion, and you will find that the dressing thickens, the fruits absorb the vermouth and they then release their essences into the dressing to create rich flavorful fruit salad with a delicious crunch to it.

Cook Time

Prep time: 14 min
Ready in: 14 min
Yields: Serves 6 people


  • 1 Cup Diced Red Apples (unpeeled), in 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 Cup Diced Celery, Approximately 2 Stalks
  • 1 Cup Green Seedless Grapes, Halved
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Vermouth


  1. Combine the chopped apples, chopped celery, halved grapes and walnuts in a wooden or glass bowl. (Do not use a reactive bowl such as copper or aluminum.)
  2. In a separate bowl, combine vermouth and mayonnaise and whisk together until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the vermouth and mayonnaise mixture over the fruit combo and toss.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving. Refrigerate overnight for best results. Toss and serve on individual plates lined with leaves of Bibb, Butter, Boston or Romaine lettuce.

History of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel

The Waldorf Astoria itself began life as two separate hotels, owned by feuding family members, William Waldorf Astor and his cousin, John Jacob Astor IV. The original Waldorf Hotel was built next door to William Astor’s Aunt, Caroline Astor, in part in order to irritate her. As expected, the construction of a hotel next to Ms. Astor’s residence served to worsen the feud between them. John Jacob Astor (who later perished on the Titanic) returned the favor by building the larger Astor Hotel next door to the Waldorf. In time the two hotels were joined by the “Peacock Alley” creating what was then the world’s largest and arguably America’s most posh hotel. The Peacock Alley was the place to stroll to see and be seen by society, serving to advance Women’s Rights as well, as young ladies were allowed to be admitted singly, without escort, an innovation for their day.

The original hotel was demolished to make way for the Empire State Building. However the hotel was moved to its present day location where it continues to maintain the high standards of it origins. Notable residents of the modern Waldorf Astoria have included Marilyn Monroe, "Bugsy" Siegel and "Lucky" Luciano.

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Waldorf Salad Pairings

Following in the tradition of its namesake, the Waldorf Salad pairs well with a variety of elegant dishes. Roasted turkey, beef and baked ham all benefit from the contrast this classic salad provides. It is best enjoyed when served with white wine or champagne on special occasions. As it holds up well over several days, be sure to make enough to enjoy this salad with your holiday leftovers.

Bon Appetit!


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    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 3 years ago

      Hi Kevin! Thanks for dropping by. I love the crunchiness of this salad. And it does last for several days in all of its crunchy goodness! If you don't use Vermouth, you may want to add a teaspoon on lemon juice. Bon Appetite!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      This salad sounds real good Barbara. I do think that I could use it - except for the vermouth, I am non-alcoholic. I voted this up and shared it.


    • amiebutchko profile image

      Amie Butchko 4 years ago from Warwick, NY

      Thanks, Solaras. You made me feel good. Holidays are such harrowing times! Any advice to make them easier, increases my ability to appreciate the season. Thank you and have a great Christmas!

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 4 years ago

      Amiebutchko - your grilled chicken idea sounds delicious! We just enjoyed the Waldorf salad with Thanksgiving dinner; I think we will make enough for leftovers at Christmas to try your chicken salad idea!

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • amiebutchko profile image

      Amie Butchko 4 years ago from Warwick, NY

      Solaras, I am always looking for easy, healthy and make-ahead sides for holidays. This is perfect! I actually have thought about making Waldorf salads before because I have had them at many bridal or baby showers and they just add that special little touch to the menu. However, I never had the recipe. I think I will put this on my list for Christmas. My kids will love it and topped with grilled chicken, it will make for an easy lunch (out of town company!) the next day. Thumbs up!

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 4 years ago

      Hi Peachpurple - Thanks for the vote up! We love this recipe!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      awesome fruit salad ! Photos are well taken and recipe is well described. Voted up