(Note: this post was originally published on June 28, 2020. It has since been updated with a few tweaks.)
Chickpea Salad Goes Waldorf-Style
I'm excited to introduce you to a go-to picnic dish in our house. This vegan chickpea salad borrows some flavors and ingredients from the classic Waldorf salad to create a dish that is protein-packed, hearty, versatile, and filled with interesting flavors. We've brought this salad on many different outings and I hope it will become a staple for you too.
This chickpea salad can become whatever you want to be. It's delicious on its own, stuffed into a pita, or put on a sandwich. It can easily be scooped up with chips, crackers, and cucumber slices, or folded into a lettuce wrap. It's a great main course (especially plated on a bed of greens or served with some crusty bread) but can also act as a side dish depending on what else is on the menu. This is definitely a recipe that you can make again and again.
What is a Waldorf Salad?
The Waldorf is an iconic salad originating from the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. Wikipedia says it dates all the way back to a charity event in 1896! It typically has apples, grapes, celery, and walnuts, as well as a creamy mayo-based dressing. That combination of sweet, savory, juicy, and crunchy ingredients made the Waldorf into an instant classic that is still well-known and well-loved today.
This vegan chickpea salad borrows some Waldorf flavors, but it's definitely not a classic Waldorf. I've omitted the apples because they can easily brown and aren't very friendly for make-ahead dishes (although feel free to add them if you'll be enjoying this salad right away). I've used almonds in place of walnuts for more crunch, especially if you'll be preparing the salad ahead of time (although again, feel free to use walnuts if you prefer). I've also used raisins in addition to grapes to add a chewy texture.
Healthy + Vegan Waldorf Salad
Like many iconic salads, the Waldorf isn't ideal nutritionally. Although the veggies, fruits, and nuts are all wonderful, the heavy mayo dressing isn't great for the body. One way to make it healthier is to use yogurt instead of mayo; you'll see a yogurt-based dressing in my Roasted Brussels Sprouts Waldorf Salad. In this vegan Waldorf salad, however, I'm using a tahini based dressing for extra decadence. If you're a fan of creamy dressings, you definitely need to get some tahini in your arsenal. Seeds of Collaboration is my absolute favorite; use the code ROGUE for 20% off.
A Fast and Easy Chickpea Salad
Not only is this Waldorf riff delicious, it's also incredibly easy to make. There are very few ingredients and no cooking involved, plus only one bowl to wash. You can put this vegan chickpea salad together in 15 minutes, which makes it great for an impromptu outing or get-together.
Thanks to the robust ingredients in this simple chickpea salad, it's very make-ahead friendly. Feel free to make the entire salad a couple hours in advance and take it with you on picnics or to potlucks. If you want to prepare it farther in advance, assemble most of the salad but keep the celery leaves, grapes, and almonds separate until you're ready to serve so they stay as fresh as possible. My favorite secret? Wrap the garnishes in a little bit of plastic wrap and put the garnish packet right in the container with the salad; just dump them in and stir when you arrive at your picnic spot!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you'll need for this vegan chickpea salad, 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.
Tahini. Tahini is the secret to making this vegan Waldorf salad feel indulgent. I love Seeds of Collaboration tahini; remember to use the code ROGUE to get 20% off.
Raisins. Or feel free to use unsweetened cranberries instead; both are great and result in slightly different flavor profiles.
Celery leaves. I love how flavorful these are! You can just cut them off from the celery stalks you're using. Remember to keep them separate until close to when you're ready to serve so that they stay fresh.
Slivered almonds. I like to make my own toasted slivered almonds at home, and you can certainly do that to take this chickpea salad up a notch. But raw slivered almonds or store-bought toasted ones will work fine.
I just love easy, no-fuss, super-fast salads like this. Having some recipes up your sleeve for nutritious, versatile, no-cook dishes means you can get to all your adventures sooner. I also love having an easily-portable plant protein dish I can bring to potlucks to ensure I'll still have a good meal, even if there isn't much else veggie-friendly on the menu. For all those reasons, this vegan chickpea salad is a dish I make frequently and year-round.
Where are you headed this weekend? Maybe to a picnic? On a fun hike? Perhaps a canoe trip? What about a fancy picnic (with some cocktails, of course; see the blackberry Negronis in some of these photos) to watch the sunset? Regardless of where you're headed, this protein-rich vegan Waldorf salad wants to go with you.
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.
Disclosure: Seeds of Collaboration is a long-term partner. I receive free product from Seeds of Collaboration and take a small commission on sales using the discount code. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
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Loaded with juicy grapes, crisp celery, crunchy almonds, hearty chickpeas, and a decadent tahini dressing, this vegan Waldorf salad riff is a year-round favorite. It easy to make, works great for healthy meal prep, and is perfect for a picnic.