The Bring-Along Dish: Waldorf Salad

I love, love, love Sunset Magazine.  This recipe for a lighter take on Waldorf salad ran in the October ,2009, issue.  I come from a long line of mayonnaise haters and I don’t remember seeing a mayo-free version of Waldorf salad before.

This is a great salad to bring to a picnic, potluck. or to serve as a light and fresh lunch side with a sandwich. As a nice bonus, it is vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free.

Don’t be tempted to skip the step of toasting the walnuts, but be careful not to burn them or they’ll become acrid.

Sunset Magazine’s Western Waldorf (serves 6)

Ingredients:

1/4 c unfiltered apple juice
1 tsp roasted walnut or almond oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp each kosher salt, cinnamon, and fresh ground black pepper
2 Pink Lady apples (or another sweet-tart variety such as Jonathan or Pinata)
1/2 c toasted coarsely chopped walnuts
2 large tangerines, peeled and sections cut in half
1 c seedless red or green grapes, halved

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk apple juice, oil, salt, cinnamon, and pepper until blended.

Core apples, cut into thin wedges, and cut wedges in half crosswise. In a salad bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over fruit and nuts and mix gently to coat.

Juliet’s notes:  Though Sunset calls for unfiltered apple juice, I always just use regular (in fact last time I made this, I forget we were out of apple juice and ended up using a juice box!)

I have never tried it with walnut or almond oil so can’t vouch for how that would taste.  I always just use olive oil.  I’d guess that the flavor of walnut or almond oil could be quite intense so use a cautious hand with it.

TO TOAST NUTS:  I lost (!!??  how???) my favorite nut-toasting pan.  In fact, the only thing I ever used this pan for was to toast nuts.  It was an ancient (i.e. well seasoned) pan inherited from my parents when I got my first apartment.  The wooden handle was falling apart and I had to be really careful to not burn myself, but it was worth it because of that fantastic seasoning of the cooking surface.

So now I toast nuts using the baking sheet method:  line a baking sheet with parchment.  Place nuts in a single layer and bake at 400, watching CAREFULLY!  Do not let them burn and frequently shake or stir the pan with a wooden spoon to make sure they cook evenly.

To toast in a pan:  same thing, but over the burner.  What I like about a pan is more immediate control and less chance of forgetting that something’s in the oven until the telltale smell that something is burning.  Oops.

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