Cranberry and Turkey Salad Recipe

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Cranberry and Turkey Salad



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After the holiday season, many find themselves with an abundance of leftovers, wondering how to repurpose them into new, exciting meals. One of the most delightful ways to use leftover turkey is by incorporating it into a vibrant cranberry and turkey salad. This recipe is not only a clever way to utilize leftovers but also offers a refreshing, nutritious option amid the often heavy holiday fare. Here’s how to make it:


2 cups of cooked turkey, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup of red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
1 apple, cored and diced
Mixed salad greens (such as spinach, arugula, or romaine)
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the Ingredients: Begin by chopping or shredding the cooked turkey. Finely chop the celery and red onion, toast and chop the walnuts if using, and dice the apple. If your cranberries are particularly hard, you might want to soak them in hot water for a few minutes before draining.

Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey (or maple syrup), Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Combine the Salad: In a large bowl, combine the shredded turkey, dried cranberries, chopped celery, red onion, walnuts, and diced apple. Toss these ingredients together to distribute evenly.

Dress the Salad: Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well coated. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Serve Over Greens: Place a generous portion of mixed greens on each plate. Top with the cranberry and turkey salad mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper if desired.

Optional Garnishes: For an extra touch of flavor and texture, consider adding a sprinkle of feta or goat cheese, or a few slices of avocado.

Tips for Success:

Leftover Turkey: This salad is an excellent way to use up leftover turkey, but you can also use freshly cooked turkey breast if preferred.

Customization: Feel free to adjust the ingredients based on what you have. Pecans can be used instead of walnuts, and dried cherries can make a great substitute for cranberries.

Make-Ahead: You can prepare this salad in advance, but consider adding the dressing just before serving to keep the greens crisp.

This cranberry and turkey salad recipe offers a delightful mix of flavors and textures, making it a perfect post-holiday meal. It’s not only a great way to use up leftovers but also provides a lighter, nutritious option that doesn’t compromise on taste. Enjoy this refreshing salad as a main course or as a side dish for a larger meal.

Its combination of sweet, tangy, and savory elements appeals to a wide range of palates, making it a versatile dish suitable for various occasions. Here are some additional insights and variations to consider:

Variations to Explore:

Grains Addition: For a more substantial meal, consider adding a cup of cooked quinoa, farro, or wild rice to the salad. This not only adds texture and heartiness but also makes the salad more fulfilling as a standalone meal.

Protein Options: While turkey is the star ingredient in this recipe, chicken makes an excellent substitute. For a vegetarian option, chickpeas or cannellini beans can be used.

Dressing Variations: Experiment with the dressing by adding orange zest for a citrusy twist or swapping the apple cider vinegar for balsamic vinegar for a deeper flavor profile.

Spicy Kick: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes or a tablespoon of chopped jalapeño can add a nice spicy kick to the salad.

Serving Suggestions:

As a Sandwich or Wrap: This salad can easily be transformed into a filling for a sandwich or wrap. Simply spoon it onto your favorite bread or wrap, add some lettuce, and you have a delicious, easy lunch.

Holiday Appetizer: Serve the salad on small endive leaves or inside mini phyllo cups for a festive appetizer that’s perfect for holiday gatherings.

With Soup: Pair the salad with a light, brothy soup for a comforting and balanced meal. A simple vegetable or chicken soup complements the flavors of the salad beautifully.

Nutritional Highlights:

This cranberry and turkey salad is not just tasty but also packs a nutritional punch. Turkey is a great source of lean protein, while the nuts add healthy fats and a bit of crunch. The cranberries provide antioxidants, and the fresh apples and mixed greens contribute fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making this salad a wholesome choice.

The cranberry and turkey salad is a testament to the versatility of holiday leftovers, transforming them into a dish that’s both satisfying and healthy. Its ease of preparation and the ability to customize it to your taste and dietary needs make it a wonderful recipe to have in your repertoire. Whether you’re looking for a way to repurpose leftover turkey or simply seeking a delicious salad that balances sweet and savory flavors, this recipe is sure to impress. Enjoy it as a refreshing lunch, a light dinner, or even as a side dish that can accompany you throughout the year, not just after the holidays.


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