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Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad

Two speckled plates topped with apple, celery, and walnut salad with two forks and a napkin on the side.
A little twist on the famous Waldorf Salad; the spicy chicken perks up the original, but of course can be omitted if you would prefer the classic combination.
Darina Allen

Prep 20 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 4 hrs
Salad
American
6 servings
408 kcal

Ingredients 

For the spicy chicken

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 (about 1 lb) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sunflower or other mild vegetable oil

For the salad

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar plus more to taste
  • 1/4 to 2/3 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 1 medium (8 oz) green apple such as Granny Smith, cored and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 1 medium (8 oz) red apple such as Gala, cored and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) dice
  • 1/2 medium (about 12 oz) head celery cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) lengths
  • 1/2 cup fresh walnut halves coarsely chopped
  • Handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 head crisp lettuce such as romaine, leaves separated
  • Watercress sprigs

Directions 

Make the spicy chicken

  • In a medium bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, sugar, black pepper, salt, garlic, and lemon juice.
  • Using a sharp knife, slash the chicken in a couple of places. Rub the spice paste all over the chicken, place it in the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • In a small roasting pan, place the chicken and all of the paste. Brush or drizzle with sunflower oil.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then turn over and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes more, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. Baste 2 or 3 times during cooking.
  • Move to a plate, spoon the degreased drippings over the chicken, and let cool.

Make the salad

  • In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice and sugar with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise. Toss the diced apple in the dressing.
  • Add the celery, most of the walnuts, half of the parsley, enough mayonnaise to reach your desired consistency, and mix thoroughly. Taste and add more lemon juice or sugar if necessary.
  • Slice the chicken crosswise and toss lightly through the salad.
  • Place a few lettuce leaves on each plate and pile the salad over it. Add a few watercress sprigs, scatter the remaining walnuts on top, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.