Whole Foods’ Kale Waldorf Salad

Whole Foods’ Kale Waldorf Salad - This mayo-free variation of the classic Waldorf salad introduces kale to the mix and incorporates apples and nuts into the dressing for a creamy consistency with natural sweetness. My recipe includes the original version along with some adaptations I have come to enjoy.

This mayo-free variation of the classic Waldorf salad introduces kale to the mix and incorporates apples and nuts into the dressing for a creamy consistency with natural sweetness. The recipe card includes Whole Foods’ original version along with some adaptations I have come to enjoy.

 

If you live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania as I do, you are likely aware that there’s been a recent explosion of new grocery stores, namely Wegman’s and Whole Foods.

(If you’re not local, add Lancaster to your travel list. It’s a wonderful spot to visit, and I’d be more than happy to offer recommendations!)

When it comes to food shopping, my husband and I make weekly Saturday morning runs to Lancaster Central Market — an incredible farmer’s market as well as a social outing and historic tourist destination — and relish the convenience of small-but-mighty Lemon Street Market.

I’ve been to both of our new grocery stores many times on my travels, but having choices in one’s own backyard is always welcome. Beyond the usual grocery staples, many shoppers appreciate the variety of prepared foods these stores offer.

One of the times we happily lean on the fresh, ready-made options is when returning from a weekend away, as so many of our returns seem to coincide with dinnertime. I appreciate the ability to pick up a few groceries for the week ahead and grab a meal at the same time. Many of the prepared food options feel like a good compromise between fast food and a healthy, home cooked meal.

Vegetable lover that I am, I always check out the salad and roasted veggie options, and the following kale salad caught my eye on a visit several months ago. My grandmother first introduced me to Waldorf salad when I was a little girl, and I adored its sweet, creamy, crunchy mix of apples, celery, walnuts and raisins or grapes.

Whole Foods’ Kale Waldorf Salad - This mayo-free variation of the classic Waldorf salad introduces kale to the mix and incorporates apples and nuts into the dressing for a creamy consistency with natural sweetness. My recipe includes the original version along with some adaptations I have come to enjoy.

The Whole Foods edition adds kale to the mix, and the dressing packs a flavorful punch while foregoing the mayo, a standard in most Waldorf salads.

When I first tasted it, I thought I detected horseradish in the dressing, but alas, after lucking into the recipe, I realized that what I tasted was a clever combination of Dijon, red wine vinegar, whole fruit and nuts that were blended into a thick, wholesome dressing.

Since enjoying the hearty salad as a takeout option, I’ve made it at home several times. The first time I prepared it just like Whole Foods does, but I got to thinking that there was a lot of room to be flexible and perhaps even improve the flavor and composition of the dressing.

As such, the recipe below includes the original version along with the adaptations I now slightly prefer. The bottom line though, is that both options taste great, are incredibly healthy, and allow for flexibility based on what you like and have on hand.

Make sure to glance at the notes section so you’re aware of all your choices before getting started.✅

Whole Foods’ Kale Waldorf Salad - This mayo-free variation of the classic Waldorf salad introduces kale to the mix and incorporates apples and nuts into the dressing for a creamy consistency with natural sweetness. My recipe includes the original version along with some adaptations I have come to enjoy.

This variation on the classic Waldorf salad uses kale instead of lettuce and adds apple and nuts (or nut butter) to the dressing for a creamy consistency without the typical mayonnaise base.

Whole Foods' Kale Waldorf Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
This mayo-free variation of the classic Waldorf salad introduces kale to the mix and incorporates apples and nuts into the dressing for a creamy consistency with natural sweetness.
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch (12-16 ounces) Tuscan or dinosaur kale (may use curly if preferred)
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use
  • 1 large sweet apple, such as Gala, Fuji or Honeycrisp, chopped, divided use
  • 3 large celery stalks, thinly sliced (I include any leaves)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped, divided use (see notes for options)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raisins, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Instructions

Strip away the tough kale stems, and then finely chop or sliver the leaves.  Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and massage lightly into the kale.  (Note: Massaging will soften the kale for those who find it somewhat fibrous or tough. You may skip this if you prefer the heartier texture; in this case you may wish to still add the salt for the sake of good seasoning.)

Add half the apple to the kale along with celery, 1/4 cup nuts and 1/4 cup raisins. Place the remaining apple in a food processor or blender (I use a mini processor, which works well) along with the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, 2 tablespoons raisins, Dijon, 2 tablespoons water, vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Purée until well combined and slightly thick.  (You may add another 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin if the mixture seems too thick for the salad.  However, to avoid any wateriness in the salad, I prefer to use the thicker dressing and work a little harder to evenly distribute it when tossing the chopped kale.) Pour about 3/4 of the dressing over kale salad and toss to combine, adding more as needed.

Notes

I typically have a little leftover dressing.  If you like a lighter coating of dressing but don’t want to waste any, you may add more kale or greens of choice along with additional add-ins to taste.  Alternatively, this salad takes well to the addition of cooked quinoa or wild rice, which also makes it a little extra filling.
This salad is best eaten the day it is prepared, as the apple and celery give off water, causing  leftovers to be mildly soggy. That said, I always eat whatever is left the next day and ratchet up the texture with an extra sprinkle of nuts and seeds.

Extras:
✓Sprinkle with crumbled feta, goat cheese or blue cheese
✓As an option to sprinkling the salad with toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans, salted or smokehouse almonds, candied pecans, sunflower seeds, and pepitas complement nicely. Salted varieties enhance the flavor, and using a mix or simply going heavy on the nuts/seeds is fine, as extra crunch is never a bad thing!

Recipe variation: Instead of the pecan/walnut option, I’ve also made this salad (and really enjoy it) with a combination of chopped salted almonds and almond butter.  In this case, I use 2 lightly rounded tablespoons of almond butter in place of the 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans in the dressing and then sprinkle the salad with 1/4 cup almonds instead of the remaining walnuts or pecans.

Nutritional info per serving: 140 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 135mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, (3 g dietary fiber, 10g sugar), 3g protein.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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