Food & dining

Seasonal Recipes

Recipe: Update classic Waldorf salad with turkey, dried cranberries, and buttermilk dressing

Turkey Waldorf salad
Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe
Turkey Waldorf salad

Serves 4

The classic Waldorf salad, created at the end of the 19th century at the Waldorf Astoria, and traditionally made with chicken, celery, and apples, has stood the test of time. It’s OK to mix it up and add turkey, dried cranberries, and a tangy buttermilk dressing. They give a modern feel to this old favorite. Place a spoonful on top of an avocado half or spread the salad on multi-grain toast for a satisfying lunch or supper to serve guests the day after the holiday. Or make it for yourself when they’ve gone home.


cup mayonnaise
cup buttermilk
1tablespoon white wine vinegar
1tablespoon lemon juice, or more, to taste
1tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl big enough to hold all the salad ingredients, whisk the mayonnaise and buttermilk.


2. Gradually whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice, chives, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper, if you like.

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¾cup broken walnut pieces
3cups diced, cooked turkey meat
3stalks celery, diced
1apple, cored and diced
½cup halved seedless red grapes
cup dried cranberries
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lettuce leaves (for serving)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

2. In a baking dish, spread the walnuts. Toast for 8 minutes, turning once or twice, or until fragrant; cool.

3. To the bowl of dressing, add the walnuts, turkey, celery, apple, grapes, cranberries, and parsley. Stir to coat with the dressing. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.


4. On each of 4 plates, set 1 or 2 lettuce leaves. Top with salad and sprinkle with parsley. Sally Pasley Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at