This lightened-up turkey salad with celery, onion, dried cranberries and almonds is the perfect recipe to make with leftover turkey.
I have plenty of protein-packed salads (like this curried avocado egg salad and my almond butter chicken salad) but for some reason I’ve never shared a turkey salad. Now seems like the perfect time because this tasty salad can be made with your turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas. There’s only so many turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce sandwiches one can eat, amirte?!
Funny story about when I was testing this recipe… we’ve been doing curbside pickup lately at Kroger so I put in an order for a turkey breast. I thought I was ordering a small turkey breast (similar to what you’d get if you ordered a chicken breast)… well little did I know what I actually ordered was a frozen 8 lb turkey breast.
I needed to cook the breast right away because I was recipe testing this recipe the next day. The package said it would need to thaw for 1-3 days in the fridge! I had no time for that so I Googled how to cook a frozen turkey breast, found an Instant Pot recipe and guess what… it worked!! I defrosted the turkey breast using warm water just enough to remove the gravy packet. We put the breast in our pressure cooker with a little broth, garlic powder, oregano and cooked it on high for 30 minutes. It came out perfectly cooked, juicy and delicious. Looong story short, if you happen to need an easy Instant Pot recipe for turkey breast (frozen or not), here’s the recipe!
Needless to say, this turkey salad recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s light, flavorful and can be used in so many ways (see ideas below).
Turkey Salad Ingredients
salted and roasted almonds
mayonnaise – I like using avocado oil mayo, but any type will work.
plain Greek yogurt – I used full fat but you could use low fat or zero fat if you’d like.
One of my favorite things about protein salads is that you can switch up the recipe and use what you have!
Protein – obviously this recipe is for leftover turkey, but if you don’t have turkey on hand you can certainly used chicken.
Fruit – I chose to use dried cranberries to keep the Thanksgiving/holiday theme but you can use a different dried fruit or even fresh grapes or apple chunks. All of these work great in protein salads for a little sweetness.
Nuts – Any nut works in place of the almonds. I love using toasted chopped pecans as well!
Greek yogurt – If you don’t have yogurt on hand and want to use all mayonnaise, go right ahead. I used half and half to keep the recipe a bit lighter, but you certainly don’t have to use the yogurt.
Fresh herbs – I love the fresh dill in this recipe, but you can use a different fresh herb like oregano or parsley if that’s what you have on hand.
How to Serve Turkey Salad
I feel like I can’t stop raving about protein salads… and for good reason! There are so many ways to enjoy this turkey salad, you could eat leftover for days!
As a salad – Enjoy the turkey salad on top of a bed of greens.
In a wrap – Scoop turkey salad into a lettuce wrap or traditional tortilla wrap.
As a sandwich – Eat the turkey salad on regular bread, in a pita or on a croissant roll. You can add some greens (crunchy romaine works great) to the sandwich as well.
With crackers or chips – Serve with pita bread, chips or crackers for a quick, satisfying snack (or meal). This works great as a party appetizer too.
How to Store Turkey Salad Leftovers
As you can tell from all the ways to enjoy this, this salad stores really well. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Sometimes later in the week, I need to mix in additional mayonnaise if it’s a little dry but you can adjust to your liking!
Add turkey into a large bowl along with celery, onion, cranberries, almonds, mayo, yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, pepper, salt and fresh dill. Toss to combine.
Enjoy salad on top of a bed of greens, in a lettuce wrap, as a sandwich with regular bread, on crackers, in a pita or on a croissant roll. Store leftovers in an airtight covered container for 3-5 days.