As the last of the local tomatoes have been killed off by frost, and even the lettuce is getting a little more pricey and a little less local, it is time to switch to salads based on entirely different ingredients. Classic Waldorf Salad is something that we can fall back on now that there are abundant apples and celery in the stores, but this is one of those "salads" that can too often be taken over by high fat, high sugar, ingredients. This version is nonfat and minimizes the added sugars. With all the ingredients in the refrigerator, you should be able to assemble enough for a family of four or more in just minutes.
Light Waldorf Salad
1 1/2 c coarsely chopped apples--core but do not peel
1 to 1 1/2 c sliced or diced celery
1/2 c broken walnut pieces
6 to 8 oz vanilla yogurt
1 T lemon juice (may use bottled, reconstituted, such as ReaLemon)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
black or red grapes, sliced
raisins or dried currants
1. Prepare the celery, walnuts, and any of the optional ingredients and place in a large serving bowl.
2. Cut the apples and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Toss lightly to coat all surfaces.
3. Add the apples to the other prepared ingredients. Stir in yogurt, a little at a time, until the desired creaminess is reached.
4. Season generously with the salt and pepper. The pepper will bring out the flavors, so don't omit because you don't associate fruit with this interesting spice!
A note on the apples: Although any variety may be used, this is best with the crisp, slightly tart, varieties so often available in the fall. I have used, at various times, Haralson, Regent, Prairie Spy, Sweet 16, and Honey Gold (a precursor of the well-loved Honey Crisp). Mixing red, green, and yellow apples can make this an especially attractive salad as well. While some varieties will discolor more quickly than others, cutting the apples after all the rest of the salad is prepared will minimize browning. Tossing them with the lemon juice also helps them keep their color, as does adding the yogurt as soon as possible after cutting.
The portion shown in the photo above was refrigerated overnight, illustrating how well the color stays once the apples are mixed with the dressing. (Apples for this version were a mix of Haralson and Prairie Spy.)
Variation: For a slightly less sweet salad, use plain yogurt and only a teaspoon or so of sugar, tasting for your preferred level of sweetness.
A Variation my daughter helped develop many years ago:
Pink Lady SaladUse either strawberry or raspberry yogurt for the dressing; omit salt and pepper (and maybe reduce the celery by half) and you'll have a kid-friendly dish for even the most salad-a-phobic child.