A hearty, flavorful and healthy salad made with leftover turkey or chicken, this Turkey Cranberry Salad with Pecans is a great lunch idea during the holiday season, or anytime! It’s Paleo, low carb, and Whole30 friendly, and can be served warm or cold.
Anything warm just sounds really good right about now. Oops that was another weather reference. Getting old, I know. Anyway, this Paleo turkey cranberry salad with walnuts is meant to be served warm, which makes it the perfect kind of salad for winter!
I think it’s so funny that I still get that “feel good Friday” thing even though Fridays now don’t mean much of anything fun or feel good, and haven’t for a long time, since weekends can be just as much work as weekdays (if not more!) Especially if I have an early, cold (weather again) long run planned like I do for tomorrow.
Why do I do this to myself? Because I feel awesome when I come back, yes, right. And because the long run will not run itself, you have to show up to gain that fitness. And after that’s done with, the real fun for the weekend can finally begin. With laundry, the dishwasher, and cleaning up toys it’s just one big party. There is seriously no greater feeling than stepping in the house after a long winter run, regardless of what goes on afterwards.
Back to food, and back to this salad.
I love chicken salad made with homemade mayo, we all know that by now and it’s not changing. I decided to do a little variation on it, a delicious “winter” version, if you will. So it’s not chicken at all, it’s turkey, and it’s served warm, so there’s less waiting. When you’re hungry waiting is just no fun!
Also, unlike a cold chicken salad, you don’t have to plan this in advance, you can be spontaneous and spur of the moment and all that good stuff (don’t feel committed to serving it warm, though, it’s just as good cold!) You can make this with turkey cutlets or make good use of leftover roasted turkey (or chicken) for a quick meal.
Warm Turkey Cranberry Walnut Salad
- 1 lb Turkey breast cutlets or tenderloin if you don't have leftover turkey or chicken OR
- chopped/shredded leftover turkey or chicken meat 3 cups
- 1/2 tsp sea salt pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp lard tallow, ghee, coconut oil or other cooking fat
- 1/2 cup homemade mayo* or preferred mayo
- 1/2 chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Flatten or slice the turkey cutlets so they are about 1/2-3/4 inch thickness, and season with sea salt, pepper, and onion powder (skip this is you're using leftover meat)
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the 2 tbsp cooking fat
Once heated, add the turkey to the pan and cook about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (no longer any pink in the middle)
While the turkey cooks, make your mayo*
Once the turkey is done, place it on a cutting board and let it cool slightly before chopping it into bite size pieces.
In a large bowl, add the chopped turkey (or leftovers), cranberries, chopped pecans, and toss with about 1/4 cup of mayo. Add more mayo to suit your preference. (If you're making this a warm salad, the mayo will melt and look more like a glaze or sauce.)
Serve right away over greens, in lettuce boats, or however you'd like. You can save leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge.
*Here is my recipe for homemade mayo.
Perfect for a weekend lunch, and yes, you can eat the leftovers cold, I mean “chilled” (if you’re fancy.) Heck, you can make the whole thing into a cold salad by letting the turkey cool completely or using cold leftover turkey if that’s more appealing to you. Whatever floats your lettuce boat is just fine with me 🙂
Do you get that “fun Friday” feeling?
Have you used mayo in a warm dish? It’s way better than you might think!
Enjoy your weekend everyone!
Reader Reviews & Comments
The Cookie ChRUNicles says
I hear you on the weekends sometimes being more work than the weekday. Who knew that having kids could sometimes make Monday more attractive? lol. I remember you posted this recipe on instagram, looks so good – I miss cranberries and walnuts! The last time I tried to pretend that I can tolerate walnuts I needed benedryl so I decided it was time to acknowledge the allergy. have a great weekend.
Nuts are not worth it for that sort of reaction! I actually am not a big nut lover and use them sparingly to add to a dish, but if I didn’t tolerate them I wouldn’t miss them.
Skinny Fitalicious says
My weekends are always crazy! I do all my meal prep for the week. I feel like all I do is cook and catch up on blog stuff. I’ve gotten more efficient at all of it it seriously would just like to have a kick back weekend once in awhile. Love the recipe. I’m not a fan of hickey salad but this I could definitely do!
Getting tired just thinking about doing all of that! But I relate!
Tina Muir says
Yummy! This sounds lovely! I love warm salads, and have them often…as you saw on Monday! I also used to eat the random combination of mayo, grapes and chicken on pasta before races…….haha weird!
That is an odd combo but I can see it being good!
Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says
Mmm a warm salad sounds so good. I have been eating all my lunches at work cold wishing they were warm lately!
I’ve been doing hot lunches for myself lately because the idea of a salad is just not appealing this week with the cold!
Obviously I am a fan of this. Um… remember thanksgiving? Turkey carry on, anyone?
Turkey is just so good 🙂
I love turkey, cranberry, and walnuts together. I never thought of warming it though.
The way it goes here you don’t have to wait for it to cool, so it’s quicker than most homemade mayo-salads.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I’m pretty sure just the word and “aura” around Fridays makes everyone smile…no matter what 😉
Totally! I’m not complaining because it puts me in a better mood to face whatever the weekend brings!
Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says
This looks so delicious! Not much better than turkey and cranberries!!
Agree, a little twist on it but it works!
Laura @ the gluten-free treadmill says
This salad sounds so amazing! I love spinach and walnuts and cranberries… perfect idea to put them together!
Love my baby spinach! All my salads wind up with that base. Have a great weekend 🙂
Lindsey C says
Oh my gosh, I LOOOOVE Fridays – always have, always will… Yes, the weekends can be just as much work as the weekdays, but I love not having to get up at the crack of dawn and leave the house. I love that there’s no rush to get anywhere (because we don’t have morning activities with the kids yet, I’m sure that will change as they get older), and snuggling on the couch with my girls and my coffee. It really is just the BEST!
Once upon a time I worked Tuesday through Saturday, and even though I still had two days off in a row, it’s just not the same as being off for your weekend starting Friday. Fridays are just special :).
This salad looks yummy! Gotta add it to my long list of your recipes to try!! 😉
Fridays are special! Since I still usually run early in the morning Saturdays though, my schedule isn’t actually any different, and then I’m usually rushing to do whatever we have going on afterwards. Working Tues through Sat would definitely feel strange!
well…for me i’m reading this friday at 2pm, finally getting to eat lunch at my desk, and its already like the 52nd hour of work for me this week. so YES i get that friday pep feeling !!!!! i got it yesterday cuz i swear yesterday should have been friday ! i never thought about the fact that for people who stay home and have kids friday might not be that great cuz it means you are going into the hectic week with the kids at home, etc. i can relate though when i was doing long run in the summer training for a half marathon (i am NOT a winter runner at least not long outside runs) i sorta hated friday a bit cuz of that.
I remember that feeling WAYYY long ago before kids, especially when my husband and I were first dating and I knew we’d be hanging out all weekend. Now though, there’s definitely less “up and down” with my mood throughout the week, as every day is sort of the same! Agree that marathon training totally changes that feeling though 🙂 Have a fabulous Friday/weekend!!
Amanda @ .running with spoons. says
I get the fun Friday feeling on Friday afternoons when work is done and I know I can use the evening to relax. Then it goes away on Saturday morning when I realize that I have tonnes of errands to run and things to prep for the coming week 😆 So yeah… Friday evenings are definitely my favourite time of the week.
My happy Friday feeling is always gone by 9pm Friday night when my eyes are closing! And I totally relate to that feeling of needing to prep for the coming week! Sometimes I can put that feeling off until Sunday morning but more often it’s on Saturday like you. Enjoy your night!
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says
I get a brief fun Friday feeling – it lasts about half the day and then it kicks in that I have a lot of stuff to do. 🙂 Looks like a delicious salad. Have to give it a try. Enjoy the weekend!
Very brief, yes I relate! Enjoy the weekend and hope you get to relax a little 🙂
Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner says
I haven’t felt that way about Fridays since I was in college! Soon afterwards my weekends revolved around my long runs. Now I work every other weekend so my Fridays I really just lay low.
As great as long runs can be, the anticipation definitely kills that Friday fun/freedom feeling! Also working on the weekends changes it too. Hope you enjoy whatever you have planned this weekend 🙂
friday feeling! yes, right after i finish teaching. Now if only i had this for lunch to end on a high note! YUM
Hope you try it! I’m trying to savor the Saturday morning feeling now (nothing planned until later!) but nothing is quite the same as the TGIF 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!
Brook Ash says
It looks like there is celery in the picture but not in the recipe. Is that something that is suppose to be in there?