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My favorite girl and I have just returned from a big road trip to Arizona to visit with family. China and I have done this many times over the years – the two of us hanging our heads out the windows with the wind blowing in our faces.

waldorf salad recipe

Tooling our way down through Colorado on I-25, China sitting shot-gun, we pulled off to have a walk through the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, a place that I have passed by more times than I can count, but since this trip was about stopping and smelling the roses, so-to-speak, I pulled off the road to have a look.

Garden of the Gods is a heavenly landscape of red rock out-croppings standing high in the sky like the most majestic Gods and Goddesses imaginable. China and I took a quick hike down the pathways, with me taking photographs along the way. It wasn’t until I was in my hotel room later in the evening that I noticed all of the orbs and the blue ghost cruising around my photos.

waldorf salad recipe

The orbs, one could argue, are dust particles flying through the air, but what about that blue vision? There is something going on in this enchanted place.

Meandering our way from Colorado to New Mexico, I was struck by the ever changing view out the car window. Rich yellows and russets covering the Colorado mountainsides soon became pale golden grasses with watercolor skies above…. waldorf salad

Our drive took us to Albuquerque on the first leg of our trip where the big Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was taking place. If you have never been to this event, add it to your bucket list – it’s magical.

balloons-waldorf salad

The second leg of our trip brought us to my father and stepmother’s home just outside of Phoenix, Arizona.

waldorf salad 2

I had been wanting to visit my folks for some time and I was also feeling the need to escape a little, to be in a place where I didn’t know many people, where I could be anonymous for a few days and this was the perfect place to do just that.

The desert has an unusual beauty. It is sparse but far from empty or lacking life. Walking amongst the cactus, seeing lizards scurrying across rocks, brightly colored wild flowers that grow out of the gravel to thrive in the hot dusty air, butterflies everywhere and birds flying all around.

cactus-waldorf salad

We visited Taliesin West, which was Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer camp in Scottsdale. It is still a private home and the main campus of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The one and a half hour tour was fabulous.


Lloyd Wright was so ahead of his time that as I walked through the house, I saw so many elements that are now referred to as contemporary design, however, he was a true innovator and father of organic architecture.


After our day of sight-seeing, my stepmother made a wonderful Waldorf salad and it made me think about some of the classic dishes that I have forgotten about. This was such perfect dish – light, made with Honey Crisp apples, lemon zest and crunchy celery. I decided to take some of the unusual ingredients that my stepmother had in her version of this classic and spice it up a bit more.

Waldorf-salad recipe


The Modern Waldorf Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4-6
  • 4 medium size apples
  • 1 head Boston or Butter leaf lettuce, washed and dried
  • ½ cup mayo
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon chunky peanut butter
  • ½ cup seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 cup celery or fennel, sliced very thin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • ¾ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ cup peanuts, toasted and chopped (walnuts, pecans or cashews can also be used)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, peanut butter, parsley, honey, lemon juice, ginger and lemon zest and season generously with pepper.
  2. Halve, core, and cut the apples into ½-inch pieces, leaving the skin intact.
  3. Place the apples, celery and grapes into a bowl.
  4. Drizzle just enough dressing to coat the fruit and toss. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.
  5. When you are ready to serve, toss peanuts into the salad saving some to sprinkle on top, and mix. Arrange the lettuce leaves on plates and then place the salad on the lettuce and serve the extra dressing on the side.
You can make a low fat version of this recipe by using fat free Greek yogurt and leaving out the lemon juice.


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