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Southern Turkey Salad sandwiches are one of my favorite ways to use up Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. This easy recipe is ready in 15 minutes or less! Roasted turkey paired with green onion, crunchy celery, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, mayo along with some herbs and spices is a refreshing and tasty lunch or afternoon snack. Other family favorites for Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are my Leftover Turkey Casserole and Turkey a la King.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This homemade Turkey Salad Recipe is a delectable way to use up leftover turkey, especially leftover Thanksgiving turkey! Whether you’re staring down a mound of turkey from a big meal like Thanksgiving, or just an ordinary dinner, this salad has a contrast in great texture and flavors. It is a comforting and satisfying way to enjoy leftover turkey in a refreshing new light!
What is in Southern Turkey Salad?
Southern Turkey Salad has leftover roasted turkey, celery, dried cranberries, and the subtle bite of green onions. Seasoned with a blend of spices and fresh herbs. This is the best leftover turkey salad and is a totally customizable creation served as turkey salad sandwiches, a topping for a bed of lettuce, or a standalone salad – it’s the perfect lunch!
How to Make Southern Turkey Salad
This recipe comes together in 15 minutes or less! Gotta love that! For full recipe details, including ingredients and measurements needed, see the printable recipe card down below.
Start out by dicing celery, green onions (or red onion), and chives. Chop turkey into uniform pieces. Some people like to use just the turkey breast, but I like to use both white and dark meat turkey in my salad. For the pecans, lightly toast them in a small skillet on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Toast until brown and fragrant, about 2-5 minutes. Do NOT walk away during this process…pecans can burn quite quickly and then you’ll have to start all over.
Pro Tip: I find it easier to toast pecans in whole pieces or halved. This way they don’t burn as easily (still need to keep your eye on them!). You can also toast them in the oven by placing the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer, drizzle a little salt and oil, (if desired) for 7-10 minutes at 350° F. After they are toasted, you can chop them into smaller pieces.
Combine All Ingredients
In a large bowl combine all ingredients – turkey, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, celery, onion, chives, dried cranberries (Craisins), pecans, sage, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Pro Tip: Leftover rotisserie chicken would also work with this salad and other ingredients.
The best way I like to serve this is as a sandwich with toasted bread. You could also make lettuce cups, or eat as-is with some crackers!
Storing Leftover Turkey Salad
Store any leftover turkey salad in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
Make Ahead– This salad is great to prepare a few hours before you want to serve it. Just prep and assemble as usual, and store covered in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Sweet grapes would be a great addition to this delicious recipe. I used cranberries in this turkey salad recipe because the flavor profile goes so well with turkey (hello, cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving!). You could even add grapes and cranberries for even more flavor!
You can substitute plain greek yogurt or whipped cottage cheese in place of the mayonnaise in this turkey salad. Both would be similar options. Dijon mustard goes well with this salad as well, and will give it a little kick.
Yes, you can use a food processor to make turkey salad. A food processor can be a convenient tool for quickly and evenly chopping or shredding ingredients for your salad. You can even use it to grind the turkey meat down if you don’t like big chunks.
I would recommend enjoying this turkey salad fresh and not freezing any dish with mayo in it. Mayonnaise separates when thawed and never really reconstitutes the same again.
More Salad Recipes to Try!
I hope this refreshing spin on mundane leftovers is just what you’ve been looking for! Such a delicious way to use up leftover turkey. The printable recipe card is below. Have a great day, friends! 🙂
If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.
Southern Turkey Salad Recipe
- 3 cups turkey leftover, white or dark meat
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise I prefer Duke's
- 1/4 cup celery diced, including leaves
- 1/4 cup green onion white and green parts, diced
- 1 tbsp chives fresh, diced
- 1/3 cup pecan pieces toasted
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 8 slices bread optional, toasted, for serving
- In a medium bowl combine all ingredients – turkey, mayonnaise, celery, onion, chives, cranberries, pecans, sage, salt and pepper.
- Mix well and serve as a sandwich with toasted bread, if desired.