Leftover Turkey Salad: A Thanksgiving Feast Reborn

The ideal way to use up any leftover roasted turkey from a holiday meal is to make this delicious and simple leftover turkey salad. Made with a few simple ingredients, this protein-packed salad is absolutely delicious!.

Transform your Thanksgiving leftovers into a vibrant, delicious Leftover Turkey Salad that’s perfect for post-holiday lunches, quick dinners or light snacks. This recipe, inspired by the culinary expertise of Just a Taste and All the Healthy Things, combines fresh ingredients simple techniques, and a secret ingredient to create a salad that’s both satisfying and surprisingly flavorful.

Why Leftover Turkey Salad?

  • Waste Not, Want Not: Give your leftover turkey a second life, avoiding food waste and maximizing the potential of your Thanksgiving feast.
  • Quick and Easy: This recipe requires minimal prep and cooking, making it ideal for busy schedules and those who want a hassle-free meal.
  • Versatile and Customizable: This salad can be enjoyed on its own, in sandwiches, wraps, or even as a topping for crackers or salads. Feel free to adapt it to your taste preferences and dietary needs.

The Secret to the Best Leftover Turkey Salad:

  • The Mayo-Mustard Ratio: Just a Taste reveals the secret to a balanced turkey salad: a light hand with the mayonnaise and a touch of Dijon mustard. This creates a flavorful, yet not overly heavy, dressing that complements the other ingredients.
  • The Sugar Surprise: All the Healthy Things introduces a surprising, yet effective, ingredient: sugar. A small amount of sugar enhances the flavors of the other ingredients, adding a subtle sweetness that elevates the overall taste.

Ingredients for a Delicious Leftover Turkey Salad:

  • Leftover Turkey: The star of the show! Use approximately 3 cups of chopped, cooked turkey.
  • Mayonnaise: Use 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, or adjust to your preference.
  • Dijon Mustard: Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard for a flavorful kick.
  • Lemon Juice: A tablespoon of fresh lemon juice adds brightness and acidity to the salad.
  • Sugar: Just a teaspoon of sugar enhances the flavors without making the salad overly sweet.
  • Celery: 1/2 cup of diced celery adds a refreshing crunch.
  • Red Onion: 1/4 cup of diced red onion provides a sharp bite and vibrant color.
  • Pecans: 1/2 cup of chopped pecans adds a nutty richness and textural contrast.
  • Dried Cranberries: 1/2 cup of dried cranberries adds a touch of sweetness and tartness.
  • Fresh Dill: 1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill adds a herbaceous aroma and fresh flavor.

Optional Ingredient Substitutions:

  • Mayonnaise: For a lighter option, substitute all the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.
  • Turkey: Leftover roasted chicken or other cooked poultry can be used instead of turkey.
  • Veggies: Feel free to add other chopped vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or cucumbers.
  • Nuts: Walnuts, almonds, or pumpkin seeds can replace pecans, or omit them altogether.
  • Dried Fruit: Substitute dried cherries or blueberries for cranberries, or leave them out if desired.

Assembling Your Leftover Turkey Salad:

  1. Whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and sugar in a small bowl.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped turkey, celery, red onion, pecans, cranberries, and chopped dill.
  3. Pour the dressing mixture over the turkey salad ingredients and stir until well combined.
  4. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Enjoy the salad on its own.
  • Use it as a filling for sandwiches or wraps.
  • Spread it on crackers or toast for a quick snack.
  • Top a bed of lettuce with the salad for a light and refreshing meal.

Leftover Turkey Salad Storage:

Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Additional Thanksgiving Leftover Inspiration:

  • Turkey Wild Rice Soup: Warm up with a comforting and hearty soup using leftover turkey and rice.
  • Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup: A classic comfort food that’s perfect for using up leftover turkey and vegetables.
  • Turkey Enchiladas: Give your leftovers a Mexican twist with flavorful enchiladas.
  • Turkey and Cheese Sliders with Delicious Cranberry Aioli: Create a fun and flavorful appetizer or snack with these sliders.

Explore More Leftover Turkey Recipes:

Discover a plethora of creative and delicious ways to use up your leftover turkey.

With this Leftover Turkey Salad recipe, you can transform your Thanksgiving leftovers into a delightful meal that’s both satisfying and easy to make. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different ingredients and customize it to your liking. Happy cooking!

Watch How to Make This Recipe

The traditional foundation for turkey salad is mayonnaise, and I enjoy the flavor it adds to the dish. Don’t worry, I’ve provided an alternative below if you don’t love mayo.

Greek Yogurt: To make the salad base a little lighter, we’re using plain Greek yogurt in addition to mayonnaise. This helps to add a bit more protein to the turkey salad as well.

Dijon Mustard: a bit of mustard is a requirement in any turkey salad. Dijon mustard is always my go-to choice. You could also use a whole grain dijon if you prefer.

Leftover Turkey: You probably have some leftover turkey if you prepared my easy spatchcock turkey or citrus herb turkey breast recipes for the holiday feast. You’ll need around three cups of leftover chopped turkey for this recipe.

Veggies: fresh celery and onion help to give this turkey salad the perfect crunch.

Pecans: speaking of crunch, chopped pecans provide a bit of extra texture and flavor.

Dried Cranberries: these help to give the turkey salad just a bit of extra sweetness.

Herbs and Spices: To make the salad taste great, just add some fresh dill, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Mayonnaise: swap all of the mayo for greek yogurt if you prefer!

Turkey: have leftover roasted chicken instead of turkey? feel free to use that instead.

Veggies: this turkey salad is easy to customize by adding in your favorite veggies. Diced carrot or bell pepper would most be delicious in this salad.

Nuts: You can omit the chopped pecans entirely or replace them with walnuts, almonds, or even pumpkin seeds.

Dried Fruit: don’t love dried cranberries? use dried cherries or even dried blueberries instead!

Why You’ll Love This Leftover Turkey Salad

  • This recipe is a simple way to use up leftover turkey because it not only uses them up but also transforms them into a delicious new dish!
  • It calls for basic ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator.
  • It’s adaptable! Use the helpful ingredient substitutions I offer in this post to make this recipe uniquely yours.

Simple Turkey Salad | CHEF CARMEN ATL


What is turkey salad made of?

In a large bowl, combine the chopped turkey, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, sugar, celery, scallions and dill, stirring until well combined. Taste and season the turkey salad with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

How long can you keep turkey salad in the refrigerator?

How Long Is Turkey Salad Good In The Fridge. You can keep turkey salad in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. This is from the time that you cooked the turkey so it’s perfect for the few days after Thanksgiving!

How long is turkey good in the fridge?

USDA recommends using cooked turkey within 3 to 4 days, kept refrigerated (40°F or less). Refrigeration slows but does not stop bacterial growth. Turkey can be frozen for 3 to 4 months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer.

How many calories in a turkey salad?

Turkey Salad (1 cup) contains 2.3g total carbs, 1.6g net carbs, 31.9g fat, 29.4g protein, and 417 calories.

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