As much as I love cooking, the summer months of high 90's have me looking for easy options to feed us. This Smoked Turkey Salad, which came from my take out shop, fills that need. A few easy to get ingredients with the star being the smoked turkey are easily assembled into this winner of an entree salad.
Serve it with cold fresh cantaloupe or watermelon and a piece of good bread and dinner is ready!
Lacking a home smoker, I visit my local barbecue/smokehouse and buy the smoked turkey from them. It's so much better than deli turkey which is usually pumped with water.
A couple of other things to enhance the salad are toasting the pecans and soaking the dried cherries to plump them. I used to make this with the Hot Peppered Pecans we sold at the shop but simplified it by skipping that step and adding cayenne.
What makes this salad so special
- The first thing is the smoked turkey. It adds a distinct flavor that roasted turkey doesn't, although I wouldn't turn down roasted turkey if that's all I could get.
- Bleu cheese brings a distinct taste to counter the sweetness of the turkey and cherries.
- Celery brings its crunch to the party.
- Either apples or dried cherries can be used for the sweetness they impart. If using apples, add them at the last minute as they have a tendency to turn brown. I have found that Gala or Pink Ladies don't brown as quickly. If using the dried bing cherries, soak them first to bring out all of their flavor.
- Cayenne gives this salad a kick that rounds everything out and makes this so special.
BACK ROW: Bleu Cheese, smoked turkey, pecans
MIDDLE ROW: Dried cherries, mayonnaise, celery
FRONT ROW: Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, salt
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list and instructions.
Step by Step Instructions
Special Note about the Turkey
However, you buy your smoked turkey, have it sliced about ½" thick so it can be cubed into about ½ " squares.
Step 1. Place the pecans on a tray and toast for 7 to 9 minutes until fragrant and slightly browner. If using smaller pieces, reduce the time. Cool and chop. Set aside.
Step 2. Cut the dried cherries in half. It is easiest to do this with scissors.
Step 3. Cover the cherries with really hot water and let them soak until they soften. Squeeze the water out of them before adding to the other ingredients.
Step 4. Place the celery, bleu cheese, toasted pecans, cherries and turkey in a large bowl.
Step 5. Place the mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce and cayenne in a bowl.
Step 6. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
Step 7. Add the dressing to the bowl and mix everything together. Chill, preferably overnight.
According to FoodSafety.gov, if it has been properly stored, it is safe to eat the salad within four days. 1 This rule also applies to similar mayonnaise-based salads like chicken, tuna, ham, and macaroni salads.Feb 17, 2023
This one cannot. It needs to be eaten within 4 days
Yes, but it will alter the taste. Any cheese can be used.
- Dried cherries are difficult to cut with a knife. Scissors work well here.
- For the easiest way to chop the nuts after roasting and cooling see my post Chopping Nuts - An Easier Way
- If you're a bread baker, save the water in which the cherries soaked. It is great to use as the liquid or part of the liquid in a rye or whole wheat bread. If it won't be used in a couple of days, freeze it. Thaw to use.
- If you're not storing your celery this way, you should be.
More Simply Delicious Salads
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Smoked Turkey Salad
Smoked Turkey Salay
- 4 ounces pecans (114 grams)
- ⅔ cup dried cherries
- ⅔ cup celery, cut
- 1 pound smoked turkey (454 grams)
- 4 ounces bleu cheese, (114 grams)
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt
Smoked Turkey Salad
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 7 to 9 minutes until fragrant and slightly darker. Cool completely. Chop coarsely. See my post, Chopping Nuts, A Quicker Way. Set aside.
- Cut the dried cherries in half. Pour really hot water over them and let the soak until softened. Squeeze the water out of them.
- Cube the turkey in about ½" square pieces.
- Combine the turkey, cherries, celery, bleu cheese, and pecans together. Mix well.
- Whisk together the mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Add it to salad ingredients and mix well.
- Taste for salt and cayenne. I have found mayonnaise and smoked turkey to be very salty so often don't add any additional. If a zippier version is preferred, add cayenne to taste.
- This is best made the day before so all of the flavors can meld.