by Andrea Sperling




I remember when I was a kid my mom ordered a Waldorf salad at a restaurant instead of her usual iceberg lettuce wedge with  Russian dressing. I tasted it and loved the crunchy mix of apples, celery and walnuts served on a bed of lettuce. The Waldorf salad was invented at the Waldorf Hotel in Manhattan (now the  Waldorf Astoria Hotel) in 1928, and it deserves a comeback.

I was recently working with my friend Barbara Goodman on a project and she served me a celery root remoulade for lunch, another seminal dish, which combines celeriac, also know as celery root,  with a mustard aioli.  It was so delicious that I was inspired to go home and make my own twist on the dish- a Waldorf celery root salad.

The classic Waldorf salad uses mayonnaise to hold it together, but I'm not a big fan of mayonnaise. For a lighter, fresher taste, I use Greek yogurt. It's a lovely gluten-free dish for fall and winter.



Serves 4-6

Don't be shy with the mustard here. Start small, see if you like it and if you want it to have a bit more of a tang, by all means add more. This dish is great served over escarole or lettuce as an appetizer, or as a side dish with fish.  Feel free to add some chiffonaded kale to the salad, too. Since the celeriac can turn brown, it needs to be acidulated right after it's shredded. You can peel the apple, or leave it unpeeled. I liked the unpeeled little pieces of lime green Granny Smith for color. Garnish with the walnuts and lemon thyme. If the thyme isn't available, use parsley. 


¼ cup walnuts

4 cups peeled and shredded celery root – about 1 large celery root

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

2 1/2 tablespoons organic plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme or parsley

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1 Granny Smith apple,  cored and diced ( approximately 1 cup)

Salt, as needed

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed



Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the walnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast  for about 8 minutes until lightly brown and fragrant, tossing frequently. Do not burn. Set aside. When cooled, roughly chop.

To prepare the celery root, cut off the top and bottom ends. Using a knife, cut down the sides the way you would cut a pineapple. Grate the celery root in a food processor or use a hand grater to shred. If you're not afraid of using a mandoline, like me, grate it into matchsticks.   Place the celery root in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 ½ tablespoons of the lemon juice so the celery root won't turn brown. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon and lemon zest and salt. Add fresh pepper to taste.

Combine the vinaigrette with the celery root. Toss well. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Before serving, add the diced apple, toasted walnuts and lemon thyme.