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.
Making an easy pasta salad recipe is the perfect way to enjoy leftover turkey.
How to Make Pasta Salad
Pasta salad recipes are my go to for quick and easy meals and potluck dishes! Everyone loves them and you can add anything to them from ham and pineapple (in our Hawaiian pasta salad) or this Dill Pickle Pasta Salad!
- Pasta Choose a short shape with bumps or ridges to hold in some of the sauce. I’ve used bowties in this recipe.
- Protein Any type of leftovers will work, this recipe uses leftover roast turkey but you can use chicken or ham.
- Crunch Pecans and celery add a bit of crunch and texture to this salad. So good! Any nuts from almonds to walnuts will work well.
- Flavor Cranberries add sweetness, toasted pecans add flavor as do green onions (or red onions).
The first step, toasting the pecans adds a lot of 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 other salad recipes too.
How to Toast Nuts: To toast nuts, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place them on a pan. Bake 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. They don’t take long and can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of a minutes. Cool and enjoy!
Pasta Salad Dressing
I love a creamy poppy seed dressing for this recipe but any sort of creamy sweet dressing will work. Honey mustard dressing is great too.
Shortcut Dressing: Creamy coleslaw dressing makes a great dressing for this pasta salad (store bought our homemade). Add in a sprinkle of poppy seeds.
More Great Ways to Enjoy Leftover Turkey
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Turkey Tetrazzini
- Turkey Soup
- Slow Cooker Turkey Soup (Cajun Bean)
- Easy Broccoli Rice Casserole with Turkey
- Easy Turkey Wraps
Turkey Cranberry Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces bow-tie pasta or other short pasta
- 2 cups diced cooked turkey
- ½ cup celery chopped
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup pecans or almonds, sliced and toasted
- ¼ cup green onions sliced
- ⅔ cup poppy seed dressing store bought or homemade
- ⅓ 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.
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Tasty enjoyed warm also.
Is that about 6 cups of dry bow tie pasta?
Hi Rhonda, you are correct. It is about 6 cups.
Didn’t need sugar. Used Marzetti Poppy Seed Dressing. Toasting the almonds was a great idea. Found everything at Wal-Mart. Will make again.
How may I use fresh frozen cranberries in this recipe? Any idea.
Hi Regis, if using frozen I would let them defrost and drain the liquid from them so it doesn’t make your salad watery, then I would add them to your preference. I would start with ⅓ of a cup and add more as you need :)
Would changing the cranberries to dried cherries ruin the salad?
I think that’d be delicious Sandra!