Make it easy on yourself and toss this Apple Cheddar Turkey Salad together in no time. Fresh green lettuce, juicy apples, crunchy pecans and bacon, cheddar and left-over turkey. It will fill you up without unnecessary extra calories.
After a lot of cooking, you’ll need a day of simplicity, a day of cleaning out the fridge. At the same time you need a good meal, to recuperate,. Filling without being heavy and quick and easy to make, and still nutritious. I got covered.
I would not be surprised if you don’t even have to buy anything for this Apple Cheddar Turkey Salad. You most likely have all the ingredients in your fridge.
What’s in this salad
- Lettuce of some sort. You can make your own: kale, spinach, Boston or Bibb lettuce, iceberg, romaine, arugula, radiccio or any combination of fancy lettuces. Alternatively, go for a store-bought mix ; that’s the route I went.
- Cheddar cheese. You can use yellow or white cheddar, just a matter of color preference. I like the yellow as it adds to the color scheme. The sharper the better for me. Sharp cheddar combines well with the other ingredients. Also here you can vary if you like; Monterey Jack cheese, Colby, Gouda etc. When you select your cheese, try the sliced version for the salad, more pieces to mix into the salad.
- Apples. Another choice to make. The easiest is to use the apple you and your family like the most. Use 2 different apples, different in color, texture and flavor. Slice thinly, more flavor. Start cutting on the short end of the wedge, not the long side. Easier to cut evenly and you’ll end up with bite-size apple slices. Leave the peel on; lots of fiber in the peel and pretty.
- Bacon or pancetta. Big difference in flavor. Most of the time I use thinly sliced pancetta. Easy to cut, easy to cook and even easier to crumble when cooked crispy.
- Turkey. When making this salad after Thanksgiving, I am sure you have turkey to spare. When you like to make this any other day, you can use freshly cooked turkey or chicken. Do you want to keep it simple: use deli sliced.
- Nuts: pecan, pine, almonds, or the infamous combination. Roast them first for more flavor.
The only cooking required is cooking the bacon crispy. The rest of the preparation involves cutting the ingredients to bite-size pieces: apple, cheddar, turkey, pecans. Then mix the ingredients for the dressing and toss everything together.
Last decision to make is: do you like your salad cold or warm, luke-warm, half cold-half warm. If you opt for the latter, then I suggest you warm the turkey in the microwave and add the pancetta and the drippings when still warm from the skillet.
Apple Cheddar Turkey Salad
- 2 cups lettuce your choice (see notes)
- 1/2 apple Granny Smith
- 1/2 apple Honeycrisp
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 ounces cheddar cheese sharp
- 3 ounces pancetta + drippings
- 1/4 cup pecan nuts roasted
- 4 ounces turkey left-over or deli
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Cut the pancetta in cubes or if you have sliced pancetta, cut the slices in pieces. Transfer to a skillet and cook until crispy.
- Cut the cheddar cheese in small cubes of pieces and pull the left-over turkey or cut the deli turkey
- Wash the apples, core them and slice them thinly. Sprinkle them with the lemon juice to avoid browning.
- Mix the ingredients for the dressing until well combined.
- Combine lettuce, pancetta + drippings, apple slices, cheddar cheese, pecan and turkey in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the salad and gently mix.
- Serve immediately.
- You can use yellow or white cheddar. Yellow will add the the colors scheme of the salad.
- You can use any apple you like. Keep the skin on for a nice color effect (it is also healthier) and slice them thin. I used Granny Smith and Honeycrips; one tart and hard, the other slightly sweeter. One red, one green.
- Mixed lettuce can be your own creation: kale only, spinach only, 50:50 kale and spinach, store-bought mix (various choices possible, depending on the store).
- Do you like a luke-warm salad, then heat the turkey in the microwave and add the pancette and drippings to the salad when still hot. Mix and serve.