When dishes are named after people or places, there’s a certain amount of reverence that comes along with them—and perhaps a tendency to dot every i and cross every t the exact same way it’s always been done.
Take the Waldorf salad (shown in all its glory above in both classic and adapted versions),
which dates all the way back to the 1890’s, when it was first made at New York City’s Waldorf Hotel (which later became the Waldorf Astoria). Its combination of mayo-laden apples, celery and walnuts served on a bed of lettuce has been enjoyed by many and calls to mind eating in the time of grand ballrooms; dining captains; and warm, lemon-scented towels handed out after every course. But as much as we love an old-fashioned, gloopily-dressed mayo salad, let’s face it, as bariatric patients, it no longer fits the bill – the Waldorf is in need of a refresh, hence my more bariatric-friendly version (see the recipe below).
At the same time we also often need to address the bread and lunch box dilemma and several of you have requested some breadless options or carb-free bread alternatives for the take-out meal. Yes, many of us still like bread but sometimes can’t stomach or tolerate it, and often want to drop the carbs from our mainstay lunch box to make a lighter meal, especially during the summer months.
So my latest culinary offering niftily straddles both – a Waldorf salad mixture brought bang up to date, but cunningly rolled in a courgette/zucchini roll, perfect for popping into our Bariatric Bento Lunchbox.
So, not wanting to take the dish totally away from its roots, I’ve kept the walnuts, celery and apples, but added some diced chicken for additional protein. Gone is the heavy and rich mayonnaise, replaced with a decidedly cooler, lemon- and mustard-spiked Greek yogurt dressing, rounded out around the edges with just a touch of lighter than light mayonnaise. It still has the smooth, luscious mouth-feel that mayo brings but with a lot more flavour and less gloop. I’ve left out the optional (but oft used) grape halves but you can add them back in and ditched the lettuce but add re-introduce if you wish.
This is a salad that does lend itself to variation – I have sometimes used slivers of courgette/zucchini instead of celery or lettuce or included slivers of ripe avocado; added slices of peach, plum or other stone fruits instead of the apple; and been known to throw in a handful of raisins or snipped dried apricots for a fruity and chewy twist.
It may have taken 125 years to bring this salad up to date for more modern, lighter appetites but I think it will still be a favourite.
WALDORF COURGETTE/ZUCCHINI ROLL UPS
1 red-skinned apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cooked skinless and boneless chicken breast, chopped
1 stick/stalk celery, chopped
3 walnut halves, broken into small pieces
3 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large courgette/zucchini
6-8 small cherry tomatoes
1. Mix the apple with the lemon juice to prevent the flesh from turning brown.
2. Add the chicken, celery and walnuts.
3. Mix the yogurt with the mayonnaise, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Stir into the chicken mixture to coat well.
4. Very thinly slice the courgette zucchini lengthwise into strips (a mandolin will do this effortlessly but you can use a vegetable peeler). Spoon equally quantities of the Waldorf mixture onto one end then roll up to enclose. Secure the roll with a wooden cocktail stick topped with a small cherry tomato. Chill until required.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-1
CALORIES PER PORTION: 176
Main image, bariatric portion plate and bariatric bento box images copyright of Bariatric Cookery