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. Thanks to California Walnuts for sponsoring this post.
If you’re looking for a delicious, easy and good for you meal to fill up on this holiday season, in the midst of all the shopping and wrapping and baking and caroling, this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for! With tender pasta, tart cranberries, crunchy walnuts and a tangy sweet dressing, this pasta salad is perfect for feeding a crowd, or just when you need to refuel after all that holiday shopping.
I am a huge fan of pasta salads. They are super easy, and really require just a few basic things.
- Pasta (duh)
- Fruit or veggies
- A basic dressing
- Texture (like walnuts, for crunch)
You can whip up a delicious pasta salad in no time at all, especially if you have leftovers on hand. The pasta should be a small, bite-sized pasta like macaroni, rotini or farfalle (butterfly). You’ll want to cut all of the ingredients for your pasta salad about the same size. This makes it easier to get all of those yummy flavors on your fork together.
How to make Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad
Start by cooking your pasta to al dente. This means it still has a little bit of a bite to it. You definitely don’t want overcooked pasta for your past salad. Make sure to salt the boiling water just before adding the dry pasta to give it flavor.
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). Cider 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.
I love a little texture in my pasta salad, so walnuts provided the perfect crunch. Plus they have all sorts of health benefits! Walnuts are actually one of my favorite healthy snacks, so adding them to this pasta salad was a no-brainer.
Combine all of the ingredients together in a big bowl and cover it and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
Hosting or attending a casual gathering this holiday season? This Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad is the perfect potluck dish and is easily doubled to feed a crowd!
Turkey, Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 cups uncooked bowtie or rotini pasta cooked to al dente then cooled
- 2 cups diced or shredded turkey breast
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
- 1 8- ounce can mandarin oranges drained
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, 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.
Here is another pasta salad we love:
And here are a few more delicious pasta salads to try: