Waldorf Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette & Watermelon Radishes, Apple, Romaine, Walnuts, Celery, Cranberries, Radicchio
Rather than an afterthought, this year make your holiday salad a standout. Crisp and fresh Waldorf Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette is just made for the holiday table from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and beyond. In this lighter than the usual Waldorf salad, a refreshing Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette replaces the typical mayonnaise. Along with the requisite apples, celery and walnuts, extra crunch comes from gorgeous watermelon radishes, radicchio and romaine lettuce. Plus the salad is beautifully festive in shades of green, red and white.
Be on the lookout in both spring and late fall for these unassuming on the outside, brilliant on the inside radishes. So strikingly colored, watermelon radishes are also standouts as crudités.
I find them milder than usual radishes, with a faint sweetness and earthiness. Perfect for this Waldorf Salad. Although these photos from my first salad show otherwise, I now prefer more thinly sliced radishes for the best flavor and texture. Use a mandolin, the 2mm slicing blade of your food processor or a very sharp knife to slice the watermelon radishes really thin.
Exquisitely flavored and fragrant Meyer lemons—a cross between a lemon and a sweet orange—are now appearing in markets, just in time for Thanksgiving and December holidays.
When you find Meyer lemons, buy them. Having less acidity than typical lemons, they add a wonderful dimension to cakes, sauces, dressings, salads, marinades, garnishes, beverages and anywhere else you enjoy lemons.
Dried cherries, cranberries or golden raisins
For an unexpected burst of tartness, toss in either sweetened dried red cherries or fruit-juice sweetened dried cranberries. You’ll love the tang they add to most every bite. In a pinch, golden raisins might work. Though, I just realized that an even better substitute would be fresh pomegranate arils (seeds).
Radicchio or Belgian endive
Waldorf Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette requires sturdy salad greens to stand up to the radishes, apples and walnuts. Both radicchio and Belgian endive offer a gentle note of bitterness along with their distinctive texture and color. Choose your favorite.
Waldorf Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
An especially refreshing, crisp and festive Waldorf Salad replacing the usual mayonnaise with a light Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. A beautiful salad, perfect for the holiday table in shades of green, red and white. Staying crisp and delicious for hours, Waldorf Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette works well on a buffet. Vegan and naturally gluten-free.
Inspired and adapted from a recipe by Chef Mark Peel.
Makes 6-8 servings Printer-Friendly Recipe
Total time 30 minutes
½ cup walnut halves and pieces
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon high-quality salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 twists freshly ground pepper
1 watermelon radish, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise (1 cup) or a few large regular radishes
1 cup thinly sliced celery hearts (the center celery stalks)
¼ cup chopped inner celery leaves
¼ cup sweetened, dried red cherries or fruit-juice sweetened dried cranberries
1 large (8 ounce) Fuji apple
2 ½ cups large diced radicchio or ½ inch sliced Belgian endive
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce hearts (4 ounces)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the walnuts for 7 minutes until fragrant. Let the walnuts cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- To make the Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette: combine the shallot, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt in a 1 cup jar. Let this mixture sit for at least 5 minutes to reduce the sharpness of the shallot. Then add the oil and freshly ground pepper. Put the lid on the jar and give it a good shake to emulsify the dressing. Transfer the dressing to a large salad bowl.
- Add the sliced radish, celery stalks and leaves, and dried cherries or cranberries to the bowl and toss with the dressing.
- Quarter and core the apple. Then thinly slice each quarter crosswise. Add the apple slices to the bowl and toss with the dressing.
- Just before serving, toss the sliced radicchio or endive along with the shredded romaine and walnuts in the dressing. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste and serve.