Curry Turkey Salad

Once again, we overdid it. I think no matter how many people actually end up coming for Thanksgiving dinner, we still make enough for 14 or more. This year’s T-Day dinner seated 6 Thursday night, and then a follow up for 7 Friday night, and we still had a massive amount of leftover turkey (and everything else on the menu)! My father looked at me and asked, “what were we thinking?” I don’t know dad, but I do love being able to play with the leftovers. Today I made a big batch of curried turkey salad for my parents, with Garrett helping to make and eat. For a light lunch we had the curry turkey salad over mixed greens, though you could easily put between two layers of bread for a sandwich. The cilantro is important here, I don’t recommend omitting it unless you don’t eat cilantro, in which case parsley will work as a substitution.

Do you have a favorite turkey salad made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey? If so please let us know about it in the comments.

Curry Turkey Salad Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 2. This recipe can easily be multiplied.

For this curried turkey salad I've used a mix of yogurt and mayonnaise. The yogurt provides the tang, the mayonnaise the creaminess. Feel free to substitute at will between the two depending on your preference.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey meat
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped*
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice*
  • 1/4 cup of raisins and/or dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp chopped green onion or chives
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley)
  • 1 rib celery chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper

*Once you've chopped the apples, sprinkle with lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.

Method

1 In a small skillet, heat the curry powder on medium low heat until quite fragrant. Remove from heat. Do not linger too long over the heat or the curry powder will start to toast. The point of this step is to heat it enough to release more of its flavor. You can easily skip this step if you are in a hurry.

2 In a large bowl, mix the curry powder, yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, and ground ginger. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3 Gently fold in the chopped, cooked turkey, apple, raisins/dried cranberries, green onions, cilantro, and celery. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve on a bed of lettuce greens or in a sandwich.

Options: for a little more zing, add a little mango chutney to the dressing.

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Links:
Turkey Apple Salad Panini from Panini Happy
Curried Turkey Salad with Apple and Pear from Green Lite Bites

20 Comments

  1. Ms Pink

    My favorite leftover turkey-salad is made with dried cherries, almonds, fresh cilantro, onion, celery, maybe some green onion if I have it, it’s not so much an exact recipe. Mix it all up with a creamy cranberry/dijon dressing. It’s something my family looks forward to every year :)

    We also throw it in with some whole wheat pasta for a great pasta salad modeled after DiAmico’s turkey-cherry-pasta-salad.

  2. marla

    Perfect flavor filled way to enjoy leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Love the yogurt mayo combo. Sweet and savory with the raisins. I might do an open faced sandwich on a toasty piece of cinnamon raisin bread! Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. mantha

    A curry is one of my two favorite ways to use leftover turkey, and this curry looks delicious!

    The other thing I like to do is a Mexican-flavored approach, with a mild prepared salsa whisked together with olive oil and a little lemon juice as the dressing base. To the dressing add smoky chipotle powder and a pinch of ground cumin (toasting the spices first is a nice idea), cayenne to taste, a finely diced jalapeno or poblono pepper, and some diced sweet red peppers. If there are any black olives left from the holiday table, slice some of those in too. Keep the green onions and especially the cilantro, add a little salt to taste, and toss together with turkey chunks. Good on a bed of mesclun greens with blue corn chips, or in a tortilla wrap.

  4. Lee

    I use the curry mayonnaise recipe from the old (and still the best) Joy of Cooking – mayo, lime juice, garlic, ginger, honey, curry and Major Gray’s chutney – for any kind of curry salad. Add raisins, craisins, apples, celery, green onions… You get the idea. This curry mayo is also divine on steamed asparagus and sugar snap peas!

  5. Jennifer

    This recipe is spectacular!!! I made it with dried cranberries and the cilantro as recommended. As soon as we ate it, I made a second batch using up the rest of our leftovers…well worth it! This recipe tastes like something you would eat at a gourmet sandwich shop.

  6. Susan

    My recipe for curried chicken salad is very much like this one. Mine doesn’t have the yogurt, uses lime juice and I add toasted chopped pecans to it. I serve it over broccoli slaw. It’s delicious. The curry is just the perfect addition to spice up a chicken salad without adding heat.

  7. Susan

    My newest most-favorite spice is a coconut curry powder I found at Central Market here in Houston. I substitute it for curry powder in a b’nut squash soup recipe ~ it adds a curry flavor but a “hmm, what’s that?” twist/interest as well. My mouth is watering, reading your recipe ~ I’m working on my shopping list! Thank you!

  8. Alta

    We overdid it too! I had 16 coming, but the free-range turkey we ordered did not gain as much weight as the farmers anticipated (lots of rain in October!), so our 20+ lb turkey was just under 18 lbs. So I panicked and we made another 10 lb turkey. And even after gorging ourselves that night, having a rerun of leftovers, making turkey enchiladas enough for 6 people, and making a huge pot of congee, I still have 2 lbs of leftover meat. This salad sounds like a wonderful way to use more of it!

  9. Bobette

    Delicious! Next time I may add 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts….

  10. Kathy - Panini Happy

    I’m back – just wanted to say I’ve enjoyed this recipe for lunch for the past two days!

  11. Kristina C.

    My husband makes a wonderful Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with all of the leftovers! Bottom layer is turkey with gravy, next layer is left-over vegetables or frozen veggies of your choice, then topped with a layer of leftover mashed potatoes (my husband’s are caramelized onion mashed potatoes) and then baked to bubbly perfection!

  12. Pam

    I made a version of this last night, but my dirty secret is that I used chickpeas in place of turkey. This vegetarian didn’t have any leftover turkey but the flavours sounded too good to pass up. It was delicious as a wrap.

  13. Renee

    Grapes (halved) also taste delicious with this kind of curry turkey salad!

  14. Mel D.

    I made your turkey tetrazzini three days ago and the curry turkey salad yesterday. Yummy were the comments on both. Still have turkey left so anything else you recommend I’ll definitely try.

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  15. Andre'

    OMG, this was amazing. The flavors came bursting out once I plated it over a nice bed of lettuce.

    Thank you so much!!

  16. Dorothy

    So yummy! Substitution haters stop here. I used chicken instead of turkey and (duh) it was great. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  17. berkeley girl

    I’m a vegetarian, so have no leftover turkey, but this worked great w/ sliced tempeh. I didn’t have any celery, ginger powder, herbs, or mayonnaise, but the concept still worked great! I sauteed the tempeh briefly in olive oil & 1/2 of the curry powder, added chopped spinach and cooked for less than 1 min, then added both to the dressing and mixed in the raisins and apples. A nice spicy salad.
    -berkeley girl

  18. Carolyn

    A chime-in from another vegetarian- I am about to post a turkey-style seitan recipe I’ve been tweaking and using this season on my own site, and I think your recipe will work spectacularly with a non-bird alternative. Curry anything gets my attention every time, especially when accompanied by fruit. Who says the meal has to put you to sleep in order to be good- salads of all kinds need to be more front and center on everyone’s plate!

  19. Denise

    We received a whole frozen turkey for Christmas but went out of town for the holiday, so last night we pulled apart the turkey pieces (slicing the breast off the bone to help with cooking time) and marinated them in a garlic, basil, and soy sauce vinaigrette. Instead of baking, we grilled the pieces for about 20 minutes total. It was delicious and now we have a ton of turkey to use for recipes like this! We made this recipe today- delicious! Didn’t have yogurt so I substituted sour cream which worked fine. A few chopped pecans might be a nice add next time. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. Marcela Beth Clay

    Have made this recipe with salmon, grapes, walnuts, and apples, as well as one time with cooked chicken breast & toasted almonds substituting for turkey. Best part of the recipe is the curry sauce – toasting the curry releases some over-the-top flavors.

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