Spiral Waldorf Salad with Walnut Palmiers


I spent the day today doing something I love to do…creating a new recipe from an old classic.  I will say it a hundred times over that classics are classics for a reason.  When a dish is not only remembered, but made, ordered, and enjoyed for decades, it’s because it has a tendency to not just taste good, but to make you feel things.  It stirs emotions, gleans light on old memories, creates a setting for new ones.

Such is the case with the classic Waldorf Salad, originating from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.  The dish is ordered 20,000 times a year in the restaurant.  Made from simple, fresh ingredients that are carefully chosen and presented in a show-stopping fashion, it’s not just a salad, but a tradition in it’s own right.

The dish has gone through many versions through the years, each chef placing his mark on it, making it his own, yet holding true to it’s original form.  Right now, the Astoria serves it with a crème fraiche and yogurt dressing, slivered apples, and a walnut straw placed perfectly in a dried apple chip.

California Walnuts  has teamed up with the Waldorf Astoria of New York to sponsor a very exiting recipe contest called Waldorf Salad Refresh!  For this contest, you create an original version of the salad containing the required ingredients:  Walnuts, Apples, and Celery.

The prize…..$5000 and a trip to NYC to stay at the Waldorf Astoria and to have your salad featured on the hotel’s menu!

Since I’ve dreamed of staying at the Waldorf Astoria since the first time I set eyes on it back in 2005 through a taxi cab window, I knew I had to do something amazing for this contest.  Even Chad was excited when I mentioned this opportunity, I mean it’s the Waldorf Astoria people!

I really wanted my dressing to have a savory, full-bodied flavor to set off the sweet, crisp apples, the clean celery flavors, and the rich, crunchy walnuts. I wanted the garnishes to enhance the salad, and the dish to have an irresistible mouth-feel, all served up in a pretty presentation.

Spiral Waldorf Salad with Walnut Palmiers

I think I did good.  Isn’t she purty?

I used Granny smith and Gala apples along with a whole celery root as the base.  I sent them all through the spiralizer , coated them in a velvety dressing, and plated them up like pasta.  Having the apples and the celery root cut like this doesn’t just look pretty, it makes the apples seem even crisper and allows for more surface area to soak up the scrumptious dressing.  The shape also makes for easy eating.   The baby arugula adds a peppery bite and a whimsical look to this pretty plate.   A chiffonade of fresh celery leaves crowns the top.  Celery leaves are an underutilized and underappreciated ingredient-they are fresh, clean, and make a lovely garnish.

AND THOSE WALNUTS!  They are candied on the stovetop in brown sugar and pungent spices and are completed with a dash of sea salt.  They add richness and crunch to this salad and are really the stars of the show.

Make extra for a little snack later…you won’t have any regrets about it.

The walnuts are also the main ingredient in the palmier pastry that I made to garnish the dish.   The flavor of the nuts really comes to the forefront after being baked inside the golden pastry in the oven.

Some of the versions of this salad contain black truffles, and since those aren’t in the budget, I used a pungent white truffle oil in the dressing to achieve the same flavor.  Celery salt works to highlight the flavor of the main ingredients in this salad, while good quality Greek Yogurt provides a creamy, but not heavy, base.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating and especially eating this salad.  I can’t wait to to serve it to my family and friends.   Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Here’s the recipe!

Spiral Waldorf Salad with Walnut Palmiers


  • For the Spiced Candied Walnuts:
  • 1 Cup Walnut halves
  • ½ Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp each ground coriander and smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 Cup strained, plain Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ Cup good quality Mayonnaise
  • ½ Tbs white truffle oil
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ¼ tsp each celery salt and sea salt
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tbs citrus blossom honey
  • ½ Tbs granulated sugar
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
  • ¼ Cup heavy cream
  • For the Salads:
  • 1 celery root, peeled
  • 2 crisp Gala apples
  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 Cup baby arugula, plus ½ cup extra for garnish
  • ½ cup celery leaves, minced, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
  • Course black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • For the Walnut Palmiers:
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 Sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • ½ Cup walnuts
  • 2 Tbs Turbinado sugar
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 pinches sea salt


  1. Prepare the spiced candied walnuts by heating a non-stick skillet over medium low. Add all ingredients except the salt and stir continuously with a heat-proof rubber spatula until the sugar melts and coats the walnuts. This will take a few minutes. Pour the nuts onto parchment paper and quickly separate them with two forks. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow them to cool and harden.
  2. Next, to prepare the dressing combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil and heavy cream into the bowl of a food processor. Blend for a few seconds, then slowly stream in the olive oil until emulsified. Next stream in the heavy cream adding more or less to get the consistency you desire. Refrigerate until needed.
  3. Prepare the palmiers by heating the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Unroll the pastry onto a clean surface and roll out just slightly to blend the creases of the dough. Add the walnuts, sugar, coriander, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles large grains of sand. It’s ok if there are a few larger pieces of nuts. Sprinkle the walnut mixture onto the surface of the puff pastry dough. Roll the short ends of the dough toward the center, rolling each side the same number of times until they meet in the middle. Place the log in the freezer for 15 minutes. Use a serrated knife to cut the log of dough into ½ inch slices. Place them on the sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Prepare the salads. Using a food spiralizer, cut the celery root and each of the unpeeled apples, using the attachment for spaghetti-sized ribbons. Place the spirals into a large bowl and add a few drops of fresh lemon juice as you go to prevent browning. Toss the spirals together.
  5. Add the dressing to the salad, using about 2/3 of it to start. Depending on how saturated you like your salad, you may have some dressing left over. Gently toss to coat the apples and the celery root. Add the arugula and gently toss to combine.
  6. Plate the salads by using tongs. Twist your wrist slightly as you go, like you do when you dish up pasta noodles. This will make for a pretty presentation. Finish the salads by sprinkling on the minced celery leaves, a bit of course black pepper, and sea salt. Zest some lemon over each salad. Place a few celery leaves on top, and add some extra baby arugula if desired. Place a generous amount of the candied walnuts around the base of the salad and garnish the plate with a freshly made palmier. Serve and enjoy.



  1. This is a beautiful salad, I think I will make it for the holidays this year!

  2. Definitely a winner, elegant tasty take on a world renowned salad.

  3. Dawn Miller says:

    Looks beautiful Shauna! I’ll bet the walnuts are amazing. It would be really cool to stay in the most famous hotel in the US. I think you should take your best friend along ;-).

    • Thank you Dawn! Girl, you would tear up the town in New York City! You might not want to come home!

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