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 standard 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
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
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.