Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Recipe: Turkey, Cranberry and Wild Rice Salad

Leftover turkey and cranberries languishing in the fridge? This tantalizing Thanksgiving leftover turkey recipe gives new life to holiday leftovers like turkey, cranberries, celery, wild rice, and nuts so they don’t go to waste. Your family will devour this turkey, cranberry and wild rice salad.

Because I can’t stand to see good food go to waste, I try to find ways to use up all the odds and ends in our refrigerator before going back to the grocery store to shop for another week of meals. (You know I’m obsessed with weekly menu planning!). After our Thanksgiving feast, I find that we’re eager to finish up the sweet potato pie, cornbread stuffing and other flavorful side dishes, but the roast turkey and cranberry sauce sometimes languish at the back of the refrigerator. Last year I invented this recipe for leftover turkey–a Turkey, Cranberry and Wild Rice salad that can help you give new life to some of those leftovers. In fact, it’s so good that you might want to make or buy turkey just to make the salad again sometime!


Turkey, Cranberry and Wild Rice Salad

Prep (10 min.) + Cook (60 min.) + time to cool

6 servings

  • 1 cup wild rice blend, such as Lundberg’s
  • 1 cup cooked turkey breast, chopped, or use Tofurkey or other meatless turkey substitute
  • 1 cup sliced celery (about 2 stalks)
  • ¼ – ½ cup scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, to taste
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or ½ – ¾ cup cranberry sauce, to taste, or use pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup light balsamic vinaigrette dressing (or use equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
  • ½ cup pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Prepare the rice according to the package directions, using water or leftover chicken broth.

In a medium serving bowl, combine the turkey, celery, scallions and cranberries or cranberry sauce.  When the rice is cooked, combine it with the ingredients in the bowl.  Stir in the vinaigrette dressing.  Refrigerate the salad for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 days.  Just before serving, stir in the pecans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Find more ideas that I shared for repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers into delicious meals on PBS Parents Kitchen Explorers.

Get Thanksgiving recipes and resources to help you have a low-stress and delicious holiday here.

Vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving: Baked Risotto with Spinach and Cremini Mushrooms. 

What is your favorite way to enjoy leftover turkey and cranberry sauce?

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7 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Recipe: Turkey, Cranberry and Wild Rice Salad

Colleen says:

I don’t have pecans. Will almonds work?

Aviva says:

Sure, almonds would be good too, or walnuts. Enjoy! says:

Thanks! It looks delicious! says:

How can I add this to my recipe box?

Aviva says:

Actually you can’t add this recipe to your recipe box yet but we’ll add it to the Scramble recipe search soon.

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