(Note: this post was originally published on February 27, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
As you've probably noticed, I love to remake classic comfort foods in ways that are just as indulgent as the originals, but also packed with ingredients to nourish the body. I've done everything from kabocha squash "wings" to cauliflower bar food to blondies made with chick peas. Up for today: the infamous Waldorf Salad.
The Waldorf Salad is one of those classic salads that is typically found at places like steakhouses. Its flavor combination is iconic: apple, grapes, and walnuts in a creamy dressing. If there were a museum of famous American salads, the Waldorf would surely be a star. However, I have a few issues with the classic Waldorf that I wanted to remedy. First, it's often done with iceberg lettuce, which is pretty boring. Second, creamy dressings usually scare me (what's in them? mayo??). Third, the flavors are nice, but a bit bland; they need a tune-up.
My reinvented Waldorf cures all those issues, and the result is absolutely delicious. This beauty features the most amazing, caramelized, lemon-roasted brussel sprouts that put iceberg to shame. The walnuts have gotten a total makeover; they're now toasted in maple syrup and cayenne for the most addicting, flavor-packed crunch. And the dressing is significantly lightened up by being based in yogurt, yet really flavorful thanks to lemon juice and coarse-grained mustard.
This is a really versatile salad because it's simultaneously fresh and cozy, can be eaten warm or cold, and can even serve as a light meal. Because of that, it's one I come back to again and again during the fall and winter. If you want to make it heartier, add your grilled protein of choice and/or perhaps a bed of farro underneath. Sounds like a great fall dinner to me!
This salad would also work well as a make-ahead dish to bring to a potluck. I bet people would go crazy over that because it's something everyone will be familiar with. And unlike a lettuce salad, you won't have to worry about this one getting wilty if it sits out.
If you want to prep this salad in advance, you can do most of the work a day ahead of time. Roast the brussel sprouts, toast the walnuts, and make the dressing, then keep everything in separate containers in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to serve, you can reheat the brussel sprouts if you want, but you don't have to. Just make sure to cut the apple at the last minute so it doesn't brown, and do all the assembly right before serving.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Some people (okay, a lot of people) find it weird that I see salad as a comfort food. But this one absolutely is! It has such varied textures and flavors, a creamy-dreamy dressing, and is so nostalgic. Comfort food doesn't necessarily have to be synonymous with food that is fried, heavy, or empty of nutrients. Just because it feeds the soul doesn't mean it can't also nourish the body!
I'm super excited about this recipe. I've been remaking the Waldorf with a yogurt dressing for years, but it was only this winter that I started doing it with brussel sprouts. Transformative! The result is so much heartier and more satisfying. Add in crisp apple, juicy grapes, and maple-cayenne roasted walnuts and you have yourself a fall salad masterpiece.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
A very cozy salad for fall and winter, this Waldorf riff uses roasted brussel sprouts instead of iceberg lettuce! It's a much more nourishing take on the classic since it uses a yogurt-based dressing. Sweet apple, juicy grapes, and crunchy walnuts make it feel nostalgic.