This Turkey Pasta Salad with cranberries and walnuts is a delicious lunch for the holiday season or any time of the year! Use up leftover turkey or swap out chicken instead.

For more delicious pasta salads, try our Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad, Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad or Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad. Turn any of these recipes into a turkey pasta salad – just swap out the chicken for Leftover Turkey!

Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad - Quick and easy meal for the holidays

With tender pasta, tart cranberries, crunchy walnuts and a tangy sweet dressing, this turkey pasta salad is perfect for feeding a crowd, or just when you need to refuel after all that holiday shopping.

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients
  2. Expert Tips
  3. More Delicious Pasta Salads to Try
  4. Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad Recipe

Ingredients

I am a huge fan of pasta salads. They are super easy, and really require just a few basic things.

  • Pasta – I love how pretty bowtie pasta looks, so that’s often my go-to for pasta salads. Any small pasta wil work, like rotini or macaroni.
  • Fruit or veggies – This version has dried cranberries and sweet mandarin oranges. It also has celery and green onions for balance. You could also make a savory version with all veggies.
  • Protein – Obviously we went with turkey here, but chicken works, too.
  • Pasta Salad Dressing – This can go in a sweet, tangy or savory direction and can be light and fresh or thick and creamy. This simple dressing is lightened up with Greek yogurt, and has mayo, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
  • Texture – I love to include a crunchy element in my pasta salad to balance all the creamy and soft textures. This salad has walnuts, celery and green onions for crunch.
Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad with Sweet and Tangy dressing, cranberry and leftover turkey

How to make Turkey Pasta Salad

  • Start by cooking your pasta to al dente. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool.
  • Chop the turkey, vegetables and walnuts into bite sized pieces.
  • Drain the oranges completely.
  • Combine all of the ingredients together in a big bowl, cover it and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Pasta Salad Dressing

While the pasta is cooking, prep the other ingredients and make the dressing.

A good creamy dressing has 3 basic parts – creamy, acidic and sweet. The creaminess comes from a combination of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt. You could use all mayo, or all greek yogurt or even sour cream (or any combination of the three, depending on what you have on hand).

Vinegar provides an acidic balance to the creaminess and honey gives a sweetness. The measurements here are general – feel free to adjust based on your liking.

Expert Tips

  • Feel free to adjust the amounts of ingredients.
  • Walnuts are optional. If you have an allergy or just don’t like them, leave them out.
  • Storage: Keep tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. If it seems dry, add a little greek yogurt or mayo and stir to combine.
  • Make Ahead: You can make this pasta salad ahead of time up to 24 hours.

Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad

More Delicious Pasta Salads to Try

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Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad

This Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad is a delicious lunch for the holiday season or any time of the year! Use up leftover turkey or swap out chicken instead.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings (1 cup)
Calories 662kcal

Ingredients
  

Pasta Salad Dressing

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound uncooked bowtie pasta or any small pasta
  • 2 cups diced or shredded turkey breast or chicken
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
  • 8 ounce can mandarin oranges drained well
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions
 

  • In a medium saucepan, boil water, then salt well and add pasta. Cook to al dente according to package Instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine pasta, turkey, cranberries, onions, celery, oranges and walnuts. Pour dressing over the pasta salad and stir to coat completely.
  • Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with additional scallions or walnuts, if desired.

Notes

  • Storage: Keep tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. If it seems dry, add a little greek yogurt or mayo and stir to combine.
  • Make Ahead: You can make this pasta salad ahead of time up to 24 hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 662kcalCarbohydrates: 85gProtein: 31gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 14gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 297mgPotassium: 522mgFiber: 5gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 612IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 2mg
Keyword turkey pasta salad, turkey salad

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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