This vegan Waldorf salad recipe is packed with classic ingredients like apples, walnuts and celery along with a few unique ingredient additions. Using vegan mayonnaise and/ or yogurt, the dressing is easily kept eggless and dairy free!
It’s so quick and simple to make; Use as side salads for a larger meal or a couple meal-sized salads to keep you energized throughout the day! It’s a highly versatile recipe that’s as nutritionally balanced as it is flavorful.
Skill: Easy | Time: 15 min | Servings: 4
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Is Waldorf Salad Vegan? How to Veganize the Classic Recipe
The base ingredients for a classic Waldorf salad include apples, grapes, celery and walnuts – all vegan! However, traditional dressing ingredients often include mayonnaise, yogurt and/ or sour cream. Waldorf salad recipes also commonly add chicken to create a more filling meal as opposed to a side dish.
This means most recipes vegetarian at best, but certainly not vegan. Luckily, with a few simple swaps, Waldorf salad can easily be made vegan. You can enhance the salad dressing with vegan mayonnaise and yogurt, and instead of chicken, just use some cooked chickpeas to boost the protein content!
Ingredients to Make Vegan Apple Walnut Salad
Waldorf salad is sometimes called and apple walnut salad since those are two main ingredients! You’ll need more than just those main ingredients though, so before you start making the recipe, make sure you have all the others on hand!
Classic Vegan Waldorf Salad Ingredients
The classic ingredients for this recipe include:
- Apples: Apples are a star ingredient in classic Waldorf salad recipes. Super crunchy, juicy and sweet; use whichever variety of apple you prefer, red or green!
- Grapes: Along with apples, grapes are a staple of this recipe. They offer a softer texture compared to apples, with more juiciness and plenty of sweetness. As with the apples, use whichever variety of grape you enjoy, red or green!
- Celery: Celery provides a delicious crunch and perfect flavor to balance out the sweetness from the apples and grapes. Cut the celery into large pieces or as finely as you like.
- Walnuts: The slight bitter flavor of walnuts, along with their crunchy texture, is the perfect accompaniment to the sweet flavors that are dominant in this salad.
- Green onion: While not a strictly classic ingredient, I can’t live without adding some onion to my Waldorf salad. Green onions offer a mild flavor that blends into the salad perfectly. If you like more of a bite and strong onion flavor, use finely chopped red onion instead!
- Vegan mayonnaise: Mayo is often used as the base of a Waldorf salad dressing. No need to miss out as a vegan, simply select a vegan mayo option. The creaminess and tang of mayo is perfect to pair with the sweet flavors of the fruit.
- Vegan yogurt: Yogurt offers a delicious tang and creaminess along with the mayo. I use an unflavored and unsweetened coconut yogurt for this recipe. See the notes in the recipe card below for how to make this vegan Waldorf salad dressing with just mayo or just yogurt (both options are delicious).
- Salt: Salt is a standard ingredient that enhances all the flavors present in this salad. Since this is a mild tasting recipe, salt is essential to get the most flavor out of every ingredient!
Tasty Additions to Enhance Your Waldorf Salad
This is a simple recipe to make with just the classic ingredients above. However, I like a boost of flavor, so I’ve included the option to add any or all of:
- Parsley: Fresh parsley has a beautiful flavor that truly enhances this salad.
- Lemon juice: Since apples and grapes are very sweet, some citrus is a great way to balance that. If you don’t like tangy salad dressing, this can be skipped!
- Black pepper: I don’t know if I can leave black pepper out of anything, especially a delicious salad dressing. This is obviously a very standard ingredient but isn’t always included in Waldorf salad recipes.
- Dijon mustard: For a nice little kick, Dijon mustard is a delicious choice and one of my favorite salad dressing ingredients. It adds a perfect layer of flavor into this salad.
These four extra ingredients really boost the salad dressing flavor and I love using them all. Luckily, this recipe is completely customizable so use what you like and skip what you don’t!
How to Make This Recipe: Instructions and Video Tutorial
Waldorf salad is incredibly quick and simple to make. It was a go-to meal for me in university since it’s such a tasty, fresh and nutritious meal (with the addition of chickpeas for protein)!
Step 1: Prep Ingredients
This recipe could not be any easier to prepare. Start by chopping the fruits, veggies and walnuts (if they aren’t already crushed) and add to a large bowl.
You can chop the apples, grapes, celery, walnuts and green onions however you like. I prefer to keep my apple and grape pieces about the same size while chopping the celery quite small.
If using parsley, mince it and toss it into a large bowl with the fruits, veggies and walnuts.
Step 2: Add Dressing Ingredients, Chill and Serve
To keep this a one-bowl recipe, toss in the dressing ingredients which include vegan mayo, vegan yogurt and salt. If you’re using lemon juice, Dijon mustard and black pepper, add them too!
Stir everything together until well mixed and that’s it! The salad is best after chilling in the fridge for 30 minutes but can be served straight away if you like.
Waldorf Salad Tips, Substitutions and Variations
Beyond that variation, this is a simple recipe. You can keep the flavors classic by skipping the four additional ingredients or add them all for a delicious twist!
I use both vegan mayo and vegan yogurt for the dressing. While the combination of these two ingredients is delicious, I understand they may be harder to find or not accessible to everyone.
I’ve tested this recipe using just mayo or just yogurt for the dressing. Both options were amazingly delicious, and I honestly couldn’t decide which I preferred! This means that if you only have mayo or yogurt on hand, you’re good to go – just read the notes in the recipe below for the amounts to use!
I also select a plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt when making this salad. I find coconut yogurt easiest to find, especially since I don’t want any flavor or sugar (tart yogurt is needed for a delicious salad dressing)!
This salad can be eaten as-is or over a bed of leafy greens! You could also use large lettuce leaves to create a Waldorf salad wrap.
How to Store Your Vegan Waldorf Salad Recipe
You can store your vegan Waldorf salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It’s best served cold, so don’t let it sit out for too long.
The flavors of the salad come together nicely if it sits for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.
This recipe can easily be prepared a day or two ahead of when you want to eat it. The ingredients hold their texture quite well!
If you make this recipe and share on social media, be sure to tag @lettucevegout because I’d love to see what you create!
Vegan Waldorf Salad
- Large bowl
- Cutting Board
- 1 C apple , chopped (about 1 medium apple)
- 1 C grapes , halved or quartered
- ½ C celery , chopped
- ½ C walnuts , crushed
- ¼ C green onion , chopped
- 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp vegan yogurt , plain, unsweetened
- ¼ tsp salt
Optional Added Flavors
- 2 tbsp parsley , minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- black pepper , to taste
- Chop apples (1 C), grapes (1 C), celery (1/2 C), walnuts (1/2 C), green onion (1/4 C) and parsley (2 tbsp, if using). Add to a large bowl.
- Stir in 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise, 3 tbsp vegan yogurt and ¼ tsp salt. If using, stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard and black pepper to taste.
- Toss until all ingredients are well combined.
- Serve cold! This salad is best after resting for 30 minutes in the fridge.