This easy Leftover Turkey Kale Salad balances salty and sweet for a truly delicious treat! A great kale salad recipe to use up leftover turkey or chicken and eat more greens.
Darlings, sad as it may be, one cannot live on cake alone. So we balance our love of the dessert with a love of the green things. I started making this recipe year before last when we smoked 2 turkeys in one year. This is a good thing, because the Godfather’s smoked turkey is amazing, but I still needed to get creative with leftovers! Between an experiment growing kale in our patio garden and an abundance of kale in a CSA box, a turkey kale salad seemed like a great idea… and it was! Hooray.
This is the easiest leftover turkey recipe ever.
I really want to wax poetic about it, but it’s exactly what it promises. Simple, flavorful, and ready in just a few minutes. If you don’t want to make yet another turkey sandwich, this is a great alternative. As a bonus, you get your veggies in.
The salad dressing has a slight Asian twist with the soy sauce and sesame, but it balances the bold flavors of the salad ingredients very well. You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to make it either. This turkey kale salad is honestly just as easily made with chicken, shrimp, or even no added protein at all. But, I usually add some protein because it’s easy to make this a meal. Less dishes for me!
If you’re preparing the salad in advance, hold of on adding the dressing until shortly before serving for the best texture. That being said, I’ve made this recipe in a big bowl, dressed, and then eaten leftovers for lunch the next day with no serious loss in texture. Kale is a very hearty green which means that it doesn’t wilt under dressing quite as quickly as lettuce.
I’ve even put together a cute little video so you can watch the salad assembly and we can all pretend we’re in a cooking show while we make the healthy things. 😉
- 6 cups thinly sliced kale washed, stems removed
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup diced cooked turkey or protein of choice (leftovers are perfect!)
- 1/4 cup scallions diced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Sesame Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or bowl and shake or whisk vigorously for 30 seconds until well combined. This is great to make in advance because you can refrigerate up to 5 days.
- Prepare all the salad ingredients. If you aren't using pre-cut kale or baby kale, separate the kale leaves from the stems, and slice into thin strips or dice into small pieces.
- Place the kale in a large salad bowl. Add the pepitas, cranberries, and dried turkey in a bowl. Toss with the dressing (see notes). Top with scallions and sesame seeds.
- You may dress this salad a little in advance of serving. Because kale is a tougher green, it holds up well with dressing. In fact, leftovers (if any) the next day usually still have some crunch.
I recommend starting with just 2/3 of the dressing for a full salad. It's easy to add more dressing if you'd like. Serve the extra dressing on the side at the table for people to add if they wish.
Adapted from Epicurious
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