I love Thanksgiving food, but not so much nearly a week later. Plus, with the weight I’ve gained around my middle from all that fried turkey, potatoes, and casseroles, I’m ready to pull back on the butter-rich comfort dishes.

That’s what makes this turkey salad so fantastic—not only do you get to use up leftovers, the boring turkey gets a makeover in a healthier, lighter rendition.

Inspired by a ritzy version from Neiman Marcus, you could just as easily swap out the turkey for chicken and add any additional fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, or seeds you like or have on hand. I like to eat my poultry salad on toasted bread or croissant with my homegrown alfalfa sprouts. (Protip: It’s super easy to sprout your own alfalfa at home. Just buy the seeds, place about one or two tablespoons in a mason jar,, cover with cheesecloth or some clean nylon stockings, and seal in place with a rubber band. Rinse and drain the seeds once a day, and you’ll start getting sprouts in a few days.)

Your family will thank you when they don’t have to eat another bite of traditional Thanksgiving turkey for dinner tonight. And your waistline will be grateful, too, when it can squeeze back into those skinny jeans.

Recipe: Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Salad

Notes: A great way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving…or make it with chicken the rest of the year—this recipe includes a step on how to cook the perfect chicken breast should you be making this salad from scratch and not with leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cooked leftover turkey or uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1 c purple grapes, halved
  • 1/2 c almond slivers, lightly toasted
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder (optional)
  • Garnish:

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped herbs, such as chives, parsley, or tarragon
  • Accompaniments (optional):

  • 8 toasted bread slices or 4 croissants, split for sandwiches
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • 4 Romaine lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomato slices

Instructions

  1. If using uncooked chicken breast, Cook using immersion circulator: Season chicken with salt & white pepper. Vacuum seal and cook in water bath at 65°C for 2h. Alternatively, cook chicken using stovetop: In a small saucepan, combine chicken and enough water to cover by 2”; bring to boil. Lower heat and poach for 20m. Transfer chicken to ice bath. Cover with plastic wrap (if not already vacuum sealed) and chill for 2h. If using leftover Thanksgiving turkey, skip this step.
  2. Make salad: Shred or chop meat into 1/2” pieces. In a medium bowl, mix together turkey, celery, vinegar, mayonnaise, grapes, almonds, eggs, and curry powder if using; season with salt & white pepper. Fold in herbs, cover, and chill for at least 2h.
  3. Scoop onto bread, top with alfalfa, and serve with lettuce and tomatoes on the side for self-assembly.

Active time: 20m
Total time: 2h 20m
Yields: 4 servings

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