Crispy Turkey Winter Salad

In early February, it's easy to feel pretty blah about your dinner options. It seems like everything is a soup or stew or a casserole and while I adore all of those, it can feel like a time of the year in which finding a fresh vegetable is a challenging quest. And that's why I absolutely love this salad. It's just what we need when winter's getting us down and, while it has a lot of ingredients, it's actually a quick and easy meal.

The protein is almost always some leftover cooked poultry that gets tossed with oil and seasonings and crisped up in a hot skillet. The homemade vinaigrette is chock full of flavor powerhouses like balsamic vinegar, garlic, maple syrup, and mustard. And the salad goes so far beyond the greens. Everything from pumpkin seeds and grape tomatoes to pomegranate seeds and avocado. This is literally a salad I dream about this time of the year!

You can always pair this salad with a savory muffin or scone, some pita wedges and hummus, or the like, but it also has everything it needs to be a meal on its own. Maybe a glass of chilled white wine or a tall glass of iced tea and you're ready to go!

Crispy Turkey Winter Salad

  • 3 cups cooked, coarsely chopped turkey or chicken
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6-8 cups mixed greens
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 crisp apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Toss the turkey or chicken with the next five ingredients (olive oil through smoked paprika). Add the mixture to a nonstick skillet and crisp gently over medium-high heat. Set the meat aside while you make the dressing and prepare the salad.

Combine the next seven ingredients (extra virgin olive oil through ground black pepper) in a medium container with a lid or in a bowl. Shake the ingredients together if in a container or whisk well if in a bowl. Set aside while you prepare the salad.

Toss the salad greens with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Divide between 4 serving plates. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients evenly among the plates. Arrange the crisped turkey or chicken over the top of the salad and drizzle the remaining salad dressing over the top, if desired. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes