Turkey Cranberry Pasta Salad is loaded with my holiday favorite flavors. Juicy turkey, sweet tart cranberries, toasted almonds and crunchy celery are mixed with pasta tossed in an easy poppy seed dressing. This salad is the perfect way to enjoy leftover turkey.
I love a good pasta salad, and even more when I can incorporate leftovers into it!
Pasta salad is one meal my daughter never complains about and she loves to take it to school for lunch (her favorite is this one or this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad). The other great thing about pasta salad is that it can last in the fridge for a few days meaning lunches for everyone are done all at once!
The first step, toasting the almonds makes a big difference in flavor in this recipe. You can toast a just the amount called for in this recipe on the stovetop but I often toast up a larger batch in the oven.
They’re perfect in this salad but also great to sprinkle on salads and casseroles too. To toast sliced almonds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place them on a pan. Bake 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. You’ll have to watch them closely as they go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of a minutes.
This easy pasta salad uses leftover cooked turkey but you can substitute chicken or ham. I’ve used both store bought and homemade poppy seed dressing in this recipe. While I love poppy seed dressing with this salad, a citrusy vinaigrette would also be delicious!
Turkey Cranberry Pasta Salad
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- 12 oz bow-tie pasta (or other short pasta)
- 2 cups diced cooked turkey
- 1/2 cup celery , chopped
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds , toasted
- 1/4 cup green onions , sliced
- 2/3 cup poppy seed dressing (store bought or homemade)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Place almonds in a small non-stick pan and cook over medium heat until lightly browned.
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Combine poppy seed dressing, mayonnaise and cider vinegar (and sugar if using) in a small bowl and mix well.
- Toss all ingredients in a larger bowl and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)