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This Waldorf Chicken Salad with Quinoa is full of flavor – sweet grapes, crunchy walnuts, crisp lettuce, with savory chicken, and quinoa.
When it comes to tried and true salads, the Waldorf Chicken Salad is a classic. With the freshness of crisp lettuce, sweet grapes, crunchy walnuts and celery, tender savory chicken and green onions, this salad is balanced in so many levels of texture and flavor. I was recently at a restaurant looking at the menu thinking how good a traditional Waldorf salad would be with quinoa. Quinoa would make the salad a little more hearty and filling, and feel like a complete meal. And I decided I had to create it! I also wanted to switch up the traditional dressing, which is usually just mayonnaise and sometimes a little lemon juice and salt. After tinkering around with ingredients, I was able to find a delicious combination for the perfect creamy dressing. I’ve added mostly Greek yogurt to the dressing, with some mayo, lots of lemon juice, a little sugar and salt. The result is a dressing that is a lot more fresh and light than traditional Waldorf dressing. You’ll love this dressing!
History of the Waldorf Salad
The story of the Waldorf Chicken Salad goes back to the late 19th century at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The salad was first introduced in 1893 and became an instant sensation. Created by the hotel’s Oscar Tschirky, the original recipe included simple ingredients such as celery, walnuts, and mayonnaise, blended with tender chunks of chicken.
Over time, the salad has evolved with various additions and modifications, but it has managed to remain a timeless salad classic. You’ll love it with the addition of quinoa too!
Waldorf Chicken Salad with Quinoa
- 2/3 cup Greek yogurt (or other plain yogurt)
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup quinoa (dry)
- 2 cups chicken stock/broth
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 5-6 cups chopped crispy lettuce (romaine or butter lettuce work well)
- 3 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 2 cups green onions, diced
- 2 cups red grapes, halved (seedless)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Start by making the quinoa. In a medium saucepan add the quinoa and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add a lid to the pan and then lower the temperature to low heat.
- Let the pan simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
- Once it's done, remove lid, fluff the quinoa with a fork and then add in the lemon juice and garlic salt. Mix well with a fork and set aside to come to room temperature (or chill) while you assemble the salad.
- Next you'll want to make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in an airtight container or jar.
- Whisk well to combine and put in the fridge to chill until ready to use.
- (This dressing keeps for a week in the fridge! Save the extra. It's delicious.)
- Chop and prepare all salad ingredients and layer them in a large bowl. Add the quinoa and mix well.
- Top with the Creamy Dressing and mix well to combine. If you're serving this at a gathering or get together, wait until just before eating to dress the salad.
- Top with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!