Waldorf Chicken Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

As I mentioned in one of my last recipes, Candied Pecans or Walnuts for Salads, I said I would post the California Pizza Kitchen’s Waldorf Chicken Salad which is a favorite.  There is a CPK  located in my hometown mall so if I am shopping with a friend or sister this restaurant is a popular spot to have lunch.

Awhile back I had this delicious salad at the California Pizza Kitchen.  This is not your typical mayonnaise based Waldorf but a lighter version with a balsamic vinaigrette.  However, the  salad we received at the restaurant had caramelized peaches and cranberries and not the apples and grapes.  It was very good and I came home to see if I had the recipe for this yummy salad (I have their 3 cookbooks).  They are worth the investment if you like this popular restaurant and want to make some of their unique recipes at home like I do 🙂


I did find the recipe and here it is adapted to my own taste.  What really makes this salad special is the caramelized fruit, the sweet and crunchy walnuts and a very good blue cheese.  Besides all of those goodies balsamic vinaigrettes are always favored in my home.

Waldorf Chicken Salad

  • baby lettuce of any kind (I like bibb or artisan lettuces)
  • 2 small apples, cored, thinly sliced and caramelized (see my recipe below) or you could substitute peaches, caramelized
  • 3 ribs of celery, diagonally sliced (optional – always an ingredient in the original Waldorf, but you decide – I did not add)
  • 1 lb. red, seedless grapes or use dried cranberries (I prefer the cranberries)
  • 1/2 lb. Gorgonzola cheese or your favorite blue cheese (in the picture below I used Maytag)
  • chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch strips (see my recipe below)
  • 2 cups candied walnuts (see recipe below)
  •  balsamic vinaigrette (see 3 vinaigrettes below – mine and 2 by California Pizza Kitchen)

Mix the greens with some of the dressing and place on four plates.  Top with the fruit, celery, cheese, chicken and walnuts.  Serve more dressing on the side.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 

My Candied Apples

  • 2 small apples, unpeeled or peeled if you prefer, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Melt butter and add brown sugar, stir until combined.  Add apple slices and cook, turning once,  6 to 10 minutes.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 


My Roasted Chicken Breasts

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Use chicken breasts that have bones and skin which adds flavor to the chicken.  Rub the breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts, until the thickest part of the breast registers 160°F.  Cool, remove the skin and cut into strips.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 

CA Pizza Kitchen's Candied Walnuts

  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2-1/2 cup walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or butter (I used butter); or use parchment paper.

Combine the honey, 3 tbsp. of the sugar and the butter in a large nonstick frying pan and heat; stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil.  Lower the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the walnuts to the syrup and stir to coat.  Spread the walnuts on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, turning the pan once.  I cooked them for 12 minutes as I could start to smell them and knew they were done.  You do not want the caramel to burn.

Place the hot walnuts in a bowl, scraping any bits that stick to the pan.  Sprinkle the nuts with the remaining 3 tbsp. sugar and toss to coat.  Allow the nuts to cool completely on a piece of wax paper.  Yum – they are good to just snack on!

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 


My Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dark brown sugar to taste (I add 1 tbsp.)

Combine above ingredients and mix well.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 

CA Pizza Kitchen Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. dijon
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. olive oil

Combine above ingredients.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 

CA Pizza Kitchen White Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/4 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. (or 3/4 tsp.) Herbes De Province
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil

Combine above ingredients and mix well.

Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com 

All three vinaigrettes for a taste test during lunch!   I do have to admit that we liked the first vinaigrette the best, or my recipe.

DSC_1683 DSC_1689

8 thoughts on “Waldorf Chicken Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. I love a good Waldorf salad, Judy. I’ve forgotten about this salad until now. I’ve never had this at CPK, but enjoyed their tequila-lime chicken salad and pasta when I used to go. Anyhoo, this recipe looks delicious! Happy first day of Spring!


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