Curried Leftover Turkey Salad

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curried turkey salad sandwich on a white plate with green grapes

If you’re a fan of creamy chicken salad, you’ll love this curry-spiced twist that uses leftover turkey as the base. Use it in sandwiches or wraps, over a bed of lettuce, or enjoy it with crackers for scooping. 

Happy Thanksgiving Week! Maybe you have your menu planned out or maybe you don’t. Or maybe you’re not cooking a thing this year. I love any and all options. It’s 2020. Anything goes.

Though I thought I’d just skip making the traditional meal, as it got closer, I couldn’t resist a turkey with all the sides, so that’s the route we’ve chosen. And a whole roasted turkey for 5 people means a lot of food, and a lot of leftovers! This recipe has been such a big hit at our house that Frank requested I buy and roast a much larger turkey than our family even needs so that we can make lots of Curried Turkey Salad with the leftovers. 

curried turkey salad in a clear bowl with a spoon

I owe my discovery of this creamy, lightly spiced, super flavorful dish to my good friend Audra. She has been singing the praises of curried chicken salad for years. When I went to pin down a go-to version, I ultimately landed on Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad. My version is a bit lighter, skips Ina’s white wine, and uses slice toasted almonds instead of the cashews, but it does borrow one key suggestion from that recipe – Mango Chutney. This sweet, fragrant, slightly spicy condiment (it comes in mild or hot, so don’t worry if you don’t like spice) is the thing that really puts this turkey salad over the top.

a jar of mango chutney on a white table

Be sure to save some leftover turkey for this dish. It’s so easy to make. Here’s how!

Ingredients

  • Leftover Roasted Turkey – Use dark meat, light meat, or a combination. You can, of course, also use leftover cooked chicken in this recipe.
  • Sliced Almonds – These add nutty flavor and great crunch. Lightly toast them in a pan to maximize their flavor.
  • Mayonnaise – It’s really worth using regular mayonnaise (not light). Though plain or Greek yogurt can certainly also work, you’ll get the most delicious rich flavor from the classic.
  • Mango Chutney – Don’t skip this if you can help it! It really is the key to the unique flavor of the dish. Loaded with spices and sweet mango, this condiment can be found in most grocery stores near the jams and jellies. Major Grey’s is a common brand. It comes in mild or hot, so choose the one that fits with your spice preference. 
  • Mild Yellow Curry Powder – This dried spice can be found near the other dried spices and herbs in most standard grocery stores. The mild version has almost no heat at all and is a great option if you don’t prefer spice. 
  • Shallot and Celery – This combination adds tanginess and crunch. I prefer shallot over onion for its sweeter, mild flavor.  
  • Golden Raisins – I prefer the color of golden raisins in the turkey salad for a bit of sweetness, and I always feel like they have a bit more sour-sweet balance than regular raisins. That said, there’s no need to run out and get golden raisins just for this recipe. Regular raisins will work just fine. Or you can skip this altogether. 
  • Chopped Chives or Green Onions – These are totally optional, but they do add some color and a bit of fresh herb flavor.

toasting almond slivers in a skillet

ingredients for turkey salad in a clear bowl

How to Make Curried Turkey Salad Ahead

You can make the turkey salad up to 3 days ahead – it stores really well in the fridge. Wait to add the almonds and chives / onions until right before serving so that the almonds stay crunchy and the flavor of the onions don’t overwhelm the dish.

I would argue that this salad is actually better a day or two after making it when the flavors have had time to mellow and come together. 

My Complete Thanksgiving Menu

Get more details and a complete Thanksgiving timeline here.

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curried turkey salad sandwich on a white plate with green grapes
4.29 from 7 votes

Curried Leftover Turkey Salad

If you’re a fan of creamy chicken salad, you’ll love this curry-spiced twist that uses leftover turkey as the base. Use it in sandwiches or wraps, serve it with crackers, or serve over a bed of lettuce.
To adjust the servings in this recipe, click on the number next to servings.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Skillet or Non-Stick Pan
  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp Mango Chutney (see note)
  • 1 Tbsp Mild Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Diced Shallot (optional)
  • 4 cups Leftover Roasted Turkey, finely chopped or shredded
  • 1/2 cup Diced Celery
  • 1/4 cup Golden Raisins (optional; you can skip these altogether or use regular raisins)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Chopped chives or green onions (optional)

Instructions 

  • Place a small skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat. Add almonds to heated pan and toast, stirring frequently, until light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, chutney (if using), curry powder, and shallot until smooth. Fold in turkey, celery and raisins. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Add some more mayonnaise if you would like your salad to be more creamy.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate up to three days. (The flavors will improve as it rests in the fridge.)
  • Just before serving, stir in almonds and chives / green onions.

Notes

Mayonnaise - I love the creaminess of this made with just mayo, but we often lighten it up by using using Greek yogurt for half of the mayo listed here. It’s great either way. 
Mango Chutney - For a hint of sweetness and spices, try this with Mango Chutney (like Major Grey’s). It’s available near the jams and jellies in most grocery stores. It comes in mild and spicy, so choose the one that fits with your spice preference. This is a tip I got from Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad, and it adds great flavor. If you don’t have the chutney, you can skip it and will still have a delicious curried turkey salad. 
Yellow Curry Powder - This powdered spice blend comes in mild and spicy varieties. Be sure to grab mild if you don't want a lot of heat in this salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 18939mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 352
Keyword: curry turkey, leftover turkey, Thanksgiving leftover recipe
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

4.29 from 7 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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