I don’t know about you, but I am rarely in the mood for a heavy meal the day after Thanksgiving. Many of the recipes involving turkey are traditionally heavy ones. This is my alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving leftovers.
This time, I wanted a salad that would fill us up and not leave us feeling hungry a couple hours later, so this is packed full of turkey. It is full of flavor from the toasted walnuts and the fantastic cranberry dressing.
This dressing alone is reason enough to try your hand at making your own cranberry sauce this year. I can hardly wait to make this salad again on Friday when I have more turkey in the house!
My boys enjoyed this salad so much, they cleaned every bite off their plates. I think my jaw might have actually dropped. They declared the dressing “awesome” and asked if they could have the leftovers the next day.
My kids are decent salad eaters, but the lettuce is rarely eaten the way the rest of the ingredients are. The fact that they ate every bite on their plates is still making me grin.
Turkey and Walnut Salad with Cranberry Dressing
In a blender, combine the cranberry sauce, oil, ginger and pepper. Puree until thick and smooth. Pour into a small jar and chill until needed.
Heat a skillet, over medium heat until it is hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add the walnut halves and toast them just until they are fragrant. This should only take a minute or two. Remove them to a small plate to cool.
On a platter or in a large bowl, layer the lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, apple and turkey pieces. Roughly chop the cooled walnuts and add them to the salad. Toss to combine and then top each serving with the Cranberry Dressing. Enjoy!
* If using a different recipe for cranberry sauce, you might want to add a bit of lemon to this salad dressing. I make my cranberry sauce using lemon in the original recipe and that serves to provide a bit of additional tang to this salad dressing.
Turkey and Walnut Salad with Cranberry Dressing
- 2-3 cups cooked turkey white and/or dark meat, chopped into small 1/2"-3/4" pieces
- 1/2 cup walnuts toasted
- medium handful of baby carrots slivered lengthwise
- 1 medium cucumber peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into thin pieces (or cut however makes YOU happiest)
- 1 granny smith apple chopped into small thin pices
- 2 large handfuls of spring mix lettuces or assorted lettuces of your choice
- 1/2 cup homemade cranberry sauce *See note below if using a different recipe or store-bought
- 1/4 cup light flavored olive oil
- a couple dashes of ground ginger adjust to taste
- a few cranks of ground black pepper adjust to taste
TO MAKE THE DRESSING
- In a blender, combine the cranberry sauce, oil, ginger and pepper. Puree until thick and smooth. Pour into a small jar and chill until needed.
TO MAKE THE SALAD
- Heat a skillet, over medium heat until it is hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add the walnut halves and toast them just until they are fragrant. This should only take a minute or two. Remove them to a small plate to cool.
- On a platter or in a large bowl, layer the lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, apple and turkey pieces. Roughly chop the cooled walnuts and add them to the salad. Toss to combine and then top each serving with the Cranberry Dressing. Enjoy!
20 Comments Leave a comment or review
Thanksgiving is now celebrated even in Rome, I'm going to go and get my cranberry sauce now from Castroni!
We don't have Thanksgiving in Australia and turkey is usually eaten on Christmas Day. I love turkey and could eat it every day!
Okay…so…all of the leftover cranberry sauce that i make is being hijacked by me and is coming back with me to my place because this dressing HAS TO HAPPEN.
My Journey With Candida says
That would be the perfect salad for the day after Thanksgiving. I do a lot of salads and any time I can get my protein with it is great.
I am going to make this dressing for my sister to try, only I am sweetning my cranberry sauce with xylitol so both of us can eat it.
Sue/the view from great island says
Love this…honesty I'm not in the mood for a heavy meal ON Thanksgiving either!
Big Dude says
It looks delicious and great idea for Thanksgiving leftovers.
Tricia @ saving room for dessert says
That dressing is making me drool! The salad is lovely. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Tricia
Beautiful photos and what a great looking salad! Personally I love turkey leftovers and I am really enjoying all your turkey-themed posts.
I considered buying the turkeys when they are on sale during Thanksgiving as well, but do you cook them all at once, or break them apart and freeze them in sections raw?
Terri's Little Haven says
That looks really delicious. I've never heard of cranberry dressing before but I'd sure love to try it.
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
I think the day after Thanksgiving is the only day for my husband to eat salad as main dish, like this as long as there is some meat in it. I've never used cranberry sauce for dressing next day. This is awesome idea (sorry if it's a common practice… I didn't know). I just realized that you are posting recipes everyday! You're doing AMAZING work! I enjoy looking at the pictures of your dishes…always very clear and beautiful!
Great use for the cranberry sauce!
becki's Whole Life says
This is such a great use for your leftovers. I bet the boys liked the red sweet dressing…I know my girls would.
Anna @ hiddenponies says
Sounds like a perfect way to recover from Thanksgiving dinner!
I absolutely LOVE the color of that dressing!!
I wish I would have had this for dinner, instead of the giant bowl of popcorn I did have!
Words Of Deliciousness says
What a great way to use left over turkey. This salad looks great! Happy Thanksgiving!
due bionde in cucina says
Hello Mary, the cranberry dressing looks delicius.
Wehere I live is very difficult to find cranberrys, but I will foud it as soon as possible.
Have you and your family a wonderfull Thanksgiving Day.
What a lovely wholesome looking salad, I can see I'm going to have to invite some friends round and roast a turkey just to make use of all these amazing leftover recipes I keep coming across. I love walnuts in salad too!
This sounds like a brilliant salad to lighten things up after Turkey Day and will definitely be enjoy in my house!
I might try it with a little bit of rice vinegar and mayonnaise added to make a creamier version???