Fall gluten-free lunch paleo salads

Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Salad

November 12, 2019

Not sure what to do with all of those Thanksgiving leftovers? Repurpose them in this Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Salad! It’s delicious and a healthy alternative for the days after Thanksgiving leaving no food to go to waste.

leftover turkey and cranberry sauce salad
leftover turkey cranberry salad

leftover turkey and cranberry sauce salad

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been all things Thanksgiving here on THM! As I talked about in my Cauliflower Stuffing post, I am a full-fledged Canadian (okay half Canadian) who is obsessed with all things US Thanksgiving. So I am very much going to draw the process out for as long as possible. I also just love that there’s something in between Halloween and Christmas because in Canada Michael Bublé’s Christmas album comes out full swing on November 1st.

It’s also been fun to revisit some classic recipes around here. This turkey and cranberry sauce salad recipe was originally posted in November of 2014 when I was very much living in Canada. I can’t even tell you how challenging it was to find turkey and cranberry sauce off season. But I made do. Luckily things were much easier this go-around and we happily enjoyed this salad for lunches all week.

How to Make Turkey Cranberry Salad

This turkey cranberry salad could not be easier!

STEP 1: pick about 3 cups of meat off your turkey carcass. Chop or shred it if it comes off in bigger chunks.

STEP 2: toast your walnuts on the stovetop or in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees F. (highly recommended though optional)

STEP 3: mix your turkey, walnuts, celery and onion.

STEP 4: top with mayonnaise, cranberry sauce and lemon juice.

STEP 5: serve! This tastes great on bread, a lettuce wrap or just on its own!

*Full recipe listed down below.

leftover turkey salad

Can you use chicken in place of turkey?

Absolutely! This turkey cranberry salad tastes delicious year-round, even if you can’t get your hands on some turkey. Just use the same amount of shredded chicken in place of turkey. And if you can’t get fresh cranberry sauce, reach for canned – just try to find one without a ton of sugar added!

Most importantly, enjoy Thanksgiving. How special is it that we dedicate a day to showing gratitude for the people we love.


Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Salad

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


  • 3 cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded*
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped (whites and light green only)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (optional: toasted)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise**
  • 1/3 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • splash lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl combine turkey, celery, onions and walnuts.
  2. Add in mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, spices and lemon juice.
  3. Serve on bread or on a salad.
  4. Note: the flavours get even better as it sits so I recommend making this in the morning and letting it sit for a few hours, but if not it’s still delish!

*Feel free to sub in leftover chicken.
**Greek yogurt works great too if you don’t have or like mayonnaise

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  • Reply
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles
    November 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

    YES I LIVE IN A COLD CLIMATE. I’m sorry for yelling, but I was not expecting -30 so soon after I got here. But I guess that’s what you get in Alberta?
    And I love that you made your own mayo. Chef-friend keeps trying to convince me that it’s easy, but I haven’t tried to make my own yet.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      -30?!!?! HOLY COW. How is Atti surviving?! I’m concerned about you too of course 😉

  • Reply
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma
    November 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Looks perfect! I like making turkey salad just as much if not more than chicken salad. Love the flavors.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    This recipe is Thanksgiving leftover perfection! It’s my favorite holiday and I absolutely cannot wait for all the glorious food.

    I used to be very very cold averse but am now able to tolerate it much better after consistently running in the cold.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Maybe I just need to face my fear and start running in the cold 😉 hehe

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I know what you mean about the cold up here in the great true north (even though I’m still at the south end, in TO). I found that what helps me is to try to force myself to develop a positive attitude about it – appreciating the small things that come with colder climates and complaining less about it. I found that over time it made me more fond of the winter time and just less cranky about the cold weather overall. Give it a try!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    November 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I hate the cold with the fire of a thousand suns too. The second the cold weather hits, I am just constantly cold until June. Ughhh! The only good thing about winter is Christmas. And speaking of which, this recipe will be great for using up the leftovers!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I’m right there with you on hating the cold and doing everything possible to avoid being out in the cold and snow. In the winter I truly go into hibernation mode and only get out when I have to!!!
    This sandwich looks really good!

  • Reply
    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance
    November 16, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I love that you added cranberry sauce to the mix. I have a feeling my boyfriend will never be the same when I introduce him to this recipe.

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
    November 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Mmmm. Would never have thought to add garlic to the mix. I bet it really amps up the flavour!

  • Reply
    Kay @ Kay Bueno
    November 17, 2014 at 1:08 am

    So, while I live in San Francisco which is not cold. I spend my holidays in Chicago, which is so bitterly cold it makes me cry. Both physically from the actual cold, but also emotionally for having to deal with such terrible weather.

    But, this looks so good, and it’s so obvious. But I’ve never made anything but chicken salad. I’m going to have to pull this out in like two weeks. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape
    November 17, 2014 at 5:58 am

    This looks so tasty and I like the idea of using greek yoghurt!
    I am always torn with where I live – Scotland is beautiful, but it’s so friggin cold!!!! This time of year I just want to be lying on a beach. Then again I know so many people envy the fact that we have a high chance of a white Christmas! 🙂

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    November 17, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Okay…I don’t even eat turkey and I’m drooling my face off over here!! PS those black bowls are sexy.

  • Reply
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey
    November 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Hahaha, this post is why I love you. I feel the EXACT SAME WAY about winter. It started snowing Saturday night, and I opened the door to see it and my face fell. Most people are all “the snow is sooo beautiful. I can’t wait for it to snow.” All I can imagine is digging my car out, slipping on black ice, and waiting on the corner for the bus for twice as long. At last San Fran is soon!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Oh, now I don’t want to wait for Thanksgiving! I’m ready for this salad TODAY!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Go for it!!!! It’s awesome with chicken too 🙂 Had it for lunch!

  • Reply
    Jordan @ The Balanced Blonde
    November 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Yummm! If the cold weather coming means that you’re going to be inside more making recipes from scratch + photographing them in your beautiful way… then I’m cool with it. Also, laughed out loud picturing you walking through the snow cursing. That makes two of us. Except I only lived in cold weather for one year of my life… but I will never forget that bone chilling kill me now feeling. PS… See you next weeeekkk (I certainly hope!!!). Xoxox

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm


      • Reply
        Arman @ thebigmansworld
        November 19, 2014 at 1:15 am

        I think you both need to come to Australia, stat.

        I’ll dress up as an bloody kale bush.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2014 at 10:02 am

    You should move to SF because winter doesn’t exist and you can get your groceries delivered. I know, I woke up to a delivery today haha. xoxo

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 20, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Check your snapchat. I had to go out in the middle of blizzard to pick up more eggs last night and wore C’s winter coat to protect myself. I cried the whole way…

  • Reply
    November 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Hi there, I just recently posted a blog post about different ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers and this recipe was one of them! I was sure to link your post to it, but if you would like me to un-link please let me know! You can find the post here: http://seekingthesouthblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/18-ways-to-use-your-thanksgiving.html

    Have a great day!!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2014 at 7:26 am

    That sounds delightful; is the cranberry sauce chunky or smooth?
    I too used to break out in hives from the cold. I live in the north, but not as far north as you, just Southern New England. I also have Raynaud’s……can’t even mix meatloaf with bare hands. So yes…..I AM ALLERGIC TO COLD, too!

  • Reply
    Nora (A Clean Bake)
    December 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Holy shmoly it is cold here too. Last year they called it The Polar Vortex (-25 with windchill), this year I think they are just calling it winter. So give me all the comfort food!

    PS: kudos on putting walnuts in your salad! I don’t personally believe it is a proper chicken/turkey salad without, but most people think I am bonkers 🙂

  • Reply
    Anna Winter
    November 27, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Hi, Davida,

    I’m working on a “Thanksgiving Leftovers” post for our blog, and I was wondering if I could share a link to your recipe. Let me know. Thanks!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Turkey Cranberry Salad is great! To be honest, I’m not good at cooking but I like them, they give me joy and excitement every time I finish the dishes, which is a great thing. With your recipe, I just need to follow the instructions and the rest is simple. Thanks for your recipe.

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