This Arugula and Quinoa Waldorf Salad! Drizzled with a creamy orange basil vinaigrette? Such a winner for me. I’ve had a thing for a Waldorf salad forever. Like maybe since high school? Because I was obsessed with the one from CPK.  Right up until I started macros, it was still a go-to for Ross and I to share when we went there (along with our pizzas of course).  I pretty much never eat celery, like it’s just not a vegetable that frequents my plate… but for some reason, paired with the apples and blue cheese that I always associate with this salad, it’s crunchy, juicy, slightly salty addition is a must.

(Macros= 40c/15f/38p/435cal for this lovely bowl.)

Waldorf Quinoa Arugula Salad 

Pretty sure a Waldorf doesn’t usually have tomatoes, and it does usually have grapes… pretty sure I’ve always had it with walnuts and not marcona almonds… all at best it’s a very LOOSE interpretation of the Waldorf. But that’s what I wanted when I made this so in my head it’s my macro-friendly Waldorf. Just go with me.

Waldorf Quinoa Arugula Salad

I love having salad for dinner as a macro-counter because I just feel like you can always make it fit and customize for your needs. This particular night, I had plenty of carbs left and strangely enough, (maybe because I always know my massive dessert is just around the corner) I don’t really feel the craving for lots of carbs at dinner. (At least right now, don’t hold me to that.)  So that’s opened me back up to grains and carb-heavy veggies (like squash) in my salad which is so liberating! I thought I’d never eat quinoa in a salad again because “it’s just not worth it”. But I’ve found I love having it on hand for nights like this one.  Dessert is logged, I’ve still got 20 carbs floating around and now I get a little more texture and substance to my family-sized salad.

And I kind of feel like I deserve an award for choosing quinoa over bread or handfuls of cereal but we can discuss that later.

Waldorf Quinoa Arugula Salad

The dressing is a serious topic for me.  I use to be a total dressing snob and honestly almost never ever used one from a bottle.  I just don’t think anything beats a homemade vinaigrette loaded with good olive oil.  But without those 30 grams of fat or whatever it could easily add up to (!!) … they’re just not the same.  So I’ve really turned to bottled dressings this last year and all in all it’s been ok — I’ve even really learned to love a few. But sometimes I just want my ingredients to shine and I don’t want to taste a familiar bottled flavor… so I’m always experimenting.

This Creamy Orange Basil Vinaigrette did it for me! I’m putting a disclaimer in the notes below because I DO KNOW that it’s not going to be the same as a dressing with tons of olive oil, but I really think my palette has changed and I’ve been loving lots of fresh squeezed citrus in or as my dressing.  Add to that a bunch of fresh basil, shallots, and a little honey and I was licking the bowl.

Arugula Quinoa Waldorf Salad
Waldorf Quinoa Arugula Salad

Arugula and Quinoa Waldorf Salad with Creamy Orange Basil Vinaigrette

A fresh Waldorf inspired salad that’s quick to throw together and easy to customize to fit your macros.  Add as much of each item as you like but my amounts (for the macros listed) are in parentheses.
Author Lillie
Course Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 435 kcal


For the Salad:

  • 2-3 cups arugula or mixed greens (115 g)
  • ¼ cup Chopped celery (30 g)
  • cup Halved cherry tomatoes (80 g)
  • ¼ cup Chopped apple (30 g)
  • 2 Tbsp. Thinly sliced or chopped red onion (20 g)
  • 2 tsp. Reduced fat blue cheese (10 g)
  • ~1/2 cup Cooked quinoa I buy the already cooked from Costco! Makes it so easy. (60 g)
  • 3/4 cup Grilled chicken (100 g)
  • 2 tsp. Marcona Almonds Trader Joe’s Rosemary Thyme ones are amazing- any favorite nut will do (10 g)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. homemade Creamy Orange Basil Vinaigrette I did 40 g

For the Dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, or light colored balsamic (30g)
  • 2 Tbsp. fat free Greek yogurt (30g)
  • 1 Tbsp. grainy dijon mustard (15g)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped shallot (10g)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice (30g)
  • 1 tsp honey (7g)
  • 1 pinch of salt and big pinch of pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (15g)
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil (5g)


  • Whisk first 7 dressing ingredients together.  Then slowly add oil while whisking. Stir in basil.
  • OR shake it all in a jar!  Mine made 135 grams of dressing so I used almost 1/3.
  • Toss all salad ingredients with 40 g of dressing.  If you need more but don’t have the macros to spare, squeeze more fresh orange juice or lemon juice in there.
  • Finish with a sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.


I loved this dressing but feel like it needs a disclaimer.  Dressing always tastes better with MORE OLIVE OIL! At least I think so. But I’ve learned it’s not worth it to me to spend that much fat in my dressings now that I count macros, so I’ve developed a love for more acidic dressings. If you’re not into that, feel free to use your favorite bottled dressing!  One that pairs well is Trader Joe’s Champaign Pear Vinaigrette. And still I love to use a Tbs of that and stretch it with some fresh squeezed lemon.


Calories: 435kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 38gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2g

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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