Ever wonder about the origins of the Waldorf salad? It was invented by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’ at the Waldorf Hotel in New York, and was served at the opening of the legendary 5-star establishment back in 1893. The original recipe had but three ingredients: apples, celery, and mayo. The New York Times food writer at the time, Oliver Herford, wisecracked that the Waldorf salad “brought exclusiveness to the masses”.
The key to the creamy deliciousness of this near-magical trio is the quality of the mayo, which has traditionally been used to pull the other ingredients together. In this recipe, Chef Jeannette did a clever swap-out: yogurt for mayo. While I have no problem with real, homemade mayo, the yogurt provides a healthy dose of probiotics, an enormous help to your digestive and immune systems. And for goodness sake, use full-fat yogurt. Plus, there’s no reason whatsoever to avoid fat from organic yogurt made from grass-fed cows. —Dr. Jonny
Featured Nutrient: Probiotics
Yogurt is a rich source of friendly microorganisms—called probiotics—that keep your gut healthy, improve digestion, and support immunity. But to have any benefit, yogurt has to contain live cultures. The National Yogurt Association has developed a “Live and Active Cultures” (LAC) seal that identifies brands that contain significant levels of live and active cultures. The LAC label means that the yogurt contains at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture and after pasteurization. (Remember—a yogurt could be made with active cultures, but that doesn’t mean any are left by the time it gets to the store. You want products that contain active cultures, and that’s what the LAC seal means.)
You can choose Greek or regular yogurt based on personal taste. Regardless, I advise avoiding no-fat and reduced-fat versions. Almost always, manufacturers add more sugar when they take out the fat. Remember, live yogurt cultures contain enzymes that break down lactose, so many individuals who are otherwise lactose-intolerant find that they can enjoy yogurt with no problems.
Notes from Chef Jeannette
If you don’t have a fresh orange on hand, you can either swap the juice and zest for 1 Tbs. lemon juice and 1 tsp. zest, or use 1 Tbs. of frozen organic juice concentrate. The orange flavor will be stronger and zippier, and you may need less honey. If you have any leftover dried fruit from your turkey stuffing, throw it in! This salad tastes terrific with a handful of dark or golden raisins or chopped unsulfured apricots.
View our Post-Thanksgiving Waldorf Salad recipe.